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A little background, Thorai had a tick embedded in his tail last year. I did not discover that there was anything wrong until he had made it really raw and sore from biting. I never saw him picking at it so was oblivious to the whole thing. I was brushing him one night and discovered the scab on his tail and went to investigate and he started growling.

We went to the vet the next morning to get it checked out. I explained that he growled when I tried to see what was going on. My vet and vet tech decided I should leave the room and let them see if they could check it out, they had a muzzle ready just in case. He was the perfect gentleman, they shaved the spot and took the tick out and cleaned it all up, he never batted an eyelid!!

He is still sensitive about his tail, when I'm brushing it he gives me the eye but has never growled. That's until this morning, I discovered a bit of matted hair on his tail as I was drying him after coming back from the beach. I got the brush to get it out and off he goes growling again the minute I started.

How do I deal with this????? He has never growled for any other reason.
 

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Combine brushing with feeding time and hand feed him one handful at a time. Some brushing on his rear end = one handful of food. So on and so forth. Then graduate to touching all around his tail along with brushing while feeding. If he continues to growl he does not get his meal. Put it all away and try again in an hour. If he does it again put it all away and no food tonight, try again in the morning.
 

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Great advise John, get him use to associating having his tail touched and good things (treats/food)...kind of like getting their feet use to being touched so we can do the nails. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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John's advice is good. Your dog has associated your brushing with the pain, and you will need to desensitize that. You should also work on just handling the tail and massaging or stroking it while he's relaxed and being pampered. Over a little time, he should forget the association of discomfort with the handling.
 

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Taedyn doesn't like her tail touched, either. Not aggressively, she just does whatever she can to move away and becomes impossible to work with.

I discovered if I had her laying down relaxed, and massaged her all over she became less antsy about it. I also will sometimes use a friend to help me by continuing to massage her while I work on grooming.

It's also helpful for treating abrasions, too. Massaging the head and scratching the tummy while simultaneously treating the abrasion makes the stinging much more tolerable.

Taedyn just loves it! In fact afterwards she's like, "No no, don't stop, keep going!"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, for the past few days we have been working on brushing the tail and giving treats.

He does seem to be getting more relaxed but we have a ways to go.

Thanks for all the advice.
 

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I love counter conditioning. Lakota isn't fond of being brushed because of his skin infections in the past, but he enjoys having his chest brushed. So I will brush other parts of his body and when I see he isn't getting irritated I switch and brush the chest. I had to use treats in the past, but found he really likes the chest brushing so I use that.

Keep up the good work, it takes a while for the dog to relax.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Last night we all sat on the floor, Thorai, Chara and I. I had my brush and container of treats ready.

I brushed Chara's tail and gave her a treat then brushed Thorai's tail and treated. By the second treat he was way more interested in the treats than what I was doing with the brush.


Thanks everyone. I will keep doing this until he totally ignores what I'm doing to his tail.
 

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Counter conditioning is a great idea, and given time will pay off.

I would also though consider a possible medical problem and have that checked as well by x-raying his spine and tail. It is possible there is a problem with the vertebrae in his back or tail and handling his tail causes him discomfort. Our older female with spondylosis is VERY sensitive about having her tail touched because it causes her pain.
 

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A GSD we used to have, (he's passed on, unfortunately) fantastic dog, extremely smart...well, he got a burr or something on his tail and I didn't discover it until he'd chewed the tip something awful. took him to a vet (we'd just moved and hadn't gotten our permanent vet yet) who wanted to cut the tip off! I refused and doctored it myself. kept it wrapped, and cleaned. He would growl at me when I tried to clean it, not to mention he'd chew the wrapping off! Then I'd come home and he'd wag the tail and spray blood everywhere! I finally had enough, and he growled at me one day, after I'd scolded him for chewing the wrap off, and he nipped my thumb. I promptly bit him back on the nose and firmly scolded him. Boy was he surprised! You know, he never chewed that wrap off anymore, and never growled again! Just looked away when I would clean it and it healed up beautifully! You'd never know a vet wanted to chop it off!


P.S. He'd only had the burr one night-must have chewed on it over night-just didn't catch it till the next morning. I always brushed him, so this was a shock to me. We'd moved into the country and I didn't realize we had those darn burrs everywhere! Only in the house a couple days when it happened. You should have seen the area outside, we spent the next 2 months pulling, scraping, and hauling trash and brush, etc from aroung the house! We actually got compliments from the neighbors on how nice the property looked afterward!
 
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