Teach Your Dog to Love Having his Teeth Brushed with Jean Donaldson

Buy our Tea Tree Canine Tooth Powder -Only R140 with postage or R120 with collection from Benoni.


Teaching Your Dog To Enjoy Having His Teeth Brushed

Brushing your dog’s teeth can add years to his life, help him avoid a dental under anaesthetic, make him feel better and make his kisses sweeter.  Nice pay-off for an activity that, once trained, will take you 30-60 seconds a day!  So how do you train it?  The key is to initially separate the implement from the restraint and then dovetail them together.  Here are the steps:

  1. Purchase some dog toothpaste.  Store the toothpaste for now and focus on the brush.  The first time you bring it out, let your dog sniff it and then touch him on the head with it for a count of two.  Tell him he is so handsome like this, then run with him to the fridge for a piece of chicken or cheese or other excellent snack, something he rarely gets.  Don’t carry the snack with you as it is important that it come as a complete surprise after you do the procedure (the toothbrush tells him it’s fridge time, nothing else, no other tip-offs).  Do this a couple of times a day until you see him brighten up when he sees the toothbrush coming.  The goal is always love, not tolerance. 
  2. Repeat step one only now touch him on the muzzle with the toothbrush.
  3. Put some toothpaste on the brush, let him sniff it and gently dab a tiny bit in his mouth with the brush.  Let him consider this new taste, then run to the kitchen for a chicken chaser.  Pavlov’s dog: toothpaste taste predicts chicken taste.  Persuasive.
  4. At a different time, and without the toothbrush around, take firm hold of his head and restrain it for a count of five.  Tell him he is fantastically sexy like this, then when the five seconds are up, run to the fridge for one of those excellent snacks.  Do this a couple of times a day until he starts believing having his head restrained is the best idea ever.
  5. Now instead of holding his head, hold his muzzle for a count of two.  This is the best thing he’s ever done (tell him so) and warrants another trip to the fridge.  Repeat a couple of times a day for a few days.  Dogs are naturally weird about this so don’t move on to step six until he’s convinced it is a great idea.
  6. Now hold his muzzle for a count of five before celebrating at the fridge.
  7. Next hold his muzzle with one hand and lift his lip with the other and touch his teeth.  If you can do it for five seconds, perfection.  If you need to drop back to two seconds for a while, completely fine.  Work up to five seconds.  As usual, this means fridge snacks!
  8. Put toothpaste on the brush.  Hold his muzzle with one hand and gently brush one quadrant of his mouth.  This one calls for double chicken at the fridge.  He’s turning professional now.
  9. Repeat step eight but do two quadrants now.  Don’t worry,  you’ll both get better at this with practice.  The main thing now is that he has a good and non-scary time.
  10. Brush all his teeth!  He’s trained to not only tolerate it, but love it.

Buy our Tea Tree Canine Tooth Powder -Only R140 with postage or R120 with collection from Benoni.

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