Loki & The Groomer

Loki’s First Trip To The Groomers

I’ve always had a hard time clipping dogs nails. After clipping too short with Odin a few times, I decided to only file nails from then on. Filing was definitely what Odin preferred and I was able to keep his nail growth pretty well under control.

Then came Loki…

Loki absolutely hates being restrained. He even shies away from his harness and leash while being excited to go for a walk. If I had to pick his top trigger, I would have to say that being restrained is tied with a threatening male stranger. Needless to say, I have taken very small baby steps with him when dealing with his nails. I have introduced him to his nail clipper and file while rewarding him with abundant, smelly & chewy, treats. I have held and rubbed his paws & nails all while rewarding him. Yet, he still isn’t comfortable enough to allow me to properly groom his nails.

They were getting out of control. So, it was time to take my stranger reactive kid to a stranger who would restrain his paws to trim them.

So, I knew I couldn’t take him just anywhere. Petsmart was definitely out of the question! They don’t want you to be with your dogs while they’re being groomed and that wasn’t going to work for us. Luckily, I found a local groomer who did a great job with my moms dog, Coco, so I have them a call.

Aubrey, the groomer who took care of Coco, spoke with me and listened while I explained Loki to her. She was receptive to a “stranger danger” dog, to a muzzle being worn, etc. I spoke with her again the day I planned on bringing him in and she remembered our previous conversation.

I told her to pretend that Loki didn’t exist when we came in. A strange request I’m sure, but she honored it.

She asked whether he would do better on the floor or on the table and was more than happy to comply. Something our old Vet didn’t even do. She even asked for direction on when to acknowledge him. I told her to stand near me, ignore him, and just let him check her out. It went very well. I gave her a treat to let him take from her hand which, also went beautifully.

Then, we proceeded with the trimming.

He didn’t eat he head collar on so, she said she could use his leash instead. She not only let me stay with him, but encouraged me to be as close as I wanted to.

Did he struggle? Yes.

Did he growl a little? Yes.

BUT, he also took treats out of my hand while she worked. His muzzle is one size larger than needed so, he can still pant a bit and take small treats from me. I did that on purpose. He could nip if he wanted, but he could full on bite and he won’t overheat as easily as he would if it was the size he is meant to wear.

At any rate, his nails could have been clipped shorter and I skipped the filing opting to smooth them out myself at home. But…

Aubrey did great with him and she even said that he was the easiest “big dog” nail trim that she’s had!!!

A huge win for Loki :-). I am so very proud of him. And, I am very happy with Aubrey and Crystal’s Dog SPaw.

And, there is icing on the cake…

Loki got to sniff the dogs waiting to be picked up through the kennels. He did great with them. He is also welcome to come back to sniff the dogs and just say, “Hello,” any time I want.

We now have a new ally in our mission to socialize.

It was a great day in Loki Land :-).


Loki’s Bark Deterrent System

It’s important to lessen a dogs opportunity to practice reactive behavior.

I have read this in blogs and in online articles. I read one particular post that gave me a great moment of inspiration entitled, “Practice Makes Perfect: Managing Your Dog’s Reactivity.” Loki has had a very clear view of the neighborhood from our second floor deck that leads to the yard. He has been able to see and bark at everything that passes by.

Until now :-)…


Bamboo fencing attached to our deck railing to limit the view.


Bamboo fencing from another angle showing what Loki used to be able to see: Kids walking home from school, neighbors playing in their yards, people walking their dogs, etc.

I’m having sinus and tonsil surgery today. In fact, I am probably in surgery right now as I scheduled this post before today. I do not know when I will feel up to writing, but I look forward to getting back here as soon as I can.

UPDATE: I must of scheduled the post for the night before instead of the morning of my surgery. Oops. The bamboo fencing I used can be found in any Home Depot or Lowes for about $25.00. Because of it’s 6ft height, I was able to cut it in half then attach it with zip ties.

We Had A Breakthrough!

Loki met our neighbor.

It’s been sunny and warm in the morning lately. I have been taking my coffee outside to enjoy the warmth and watch Loki play. As it turns out, our neighbor, who travels a lot, was outside. He decided to look over the fence and have a chat. The thing is, Loki has never met him, let alone really seen him, until now.

Naturally, Loki made a fuss about this new stranger looking over our fence.

For some reason that I am still trying to make out, he didn’t go completely over threshold. I was able to distract him with his new Jolly Ball!

We spoke for quite some time and almost every time Loki threatened to hit his threshold, I was able to get him to play with his ball. Two times, our neighbor lifted his small dog, a Mini Dachshund who is also reactive, to see Loki.

Loki did not freak out until his small dog hit threshold. 

He also lifted his Border Collie to see him. However, Loki has had a lot of practice barking at her and went straight to barking this time. It was the only time that I could not immediately distract him.

In all, we probably chatted for at least half an hour. It was a huge success, relatively. I’ll take it!

New Routine

Yesterday we began a new morning routine.

After reading more about the Malinois breed on the ABMC Belgian Malinois Rescue site’s breed profile and reading a first time owners story, I decided to start Loki on a new morning routine.

Loki typically gets training, a walk (1/4-1/2 mile), and puppy play with his grandmas dog everyday. However, with his lacking in sleep, I decided that instead of one long walk he needed smaller, more frequent, doses of exercise.

It’s only day two and I’ve noticed an improvement.

His new routine:

  • Morning bonding on the bed with mom. 🙂
  • Moms starts up her coffee and we go outside to play fetch with a Chuck It while it brews. I get to learn to “recall,” “drop it” and “say please (sit)” while we play.
  • While mom drinks a cup of coffee, I get to have breakfast in my kennel and let it settle before we do more fun stuff.
  • Now, we get to go for a walk! Mom brings lots of treats for when we pass dogs in yards and people walking/biking.
  • When we get home, I get to nap while mom takes care of human stuff like eating breakfast.
  • I get to practice my training before lunch. Right now we work on targeting, sit, and down.
  • When mom does stuff around the house, runs errands, or is on the computer, I get to have a frozen Kong in my kennel, then I have lunch.
  • I get to practice more training and play fetch again before dad gets home.
  • At the end of the day, I sometimes get another walk after fetch, practice more training with dad, and get dinner in a large Kong treat toy.

I’m pretty lucky to have mom home with me all day!

Loki has been napping more and I’m sure he will feel less vigilant as a result. The Gentle Leader has made walking more enjoyable for both of us which, makes our mornings so much nicer. I look forward to teaching him to walk nice in a collar, but for now, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Update: my furry kid is not just napping, he’s been asleep for almost an hour. Success!

Crate Training Yay!!!

Loki chose his kennel for the 1st time today!

Yep, I’ve been working to give him a “safe place” by crate training him. He sure didn’t stay long, but who cares? He chose to go into his kennel without prompting and without food two times today!

I couldn’t be more proud of his success.

Best of all…

He chose his crate just after barking at strangers outside a neighbors house. I called his name, he came to me, then went to lay down.

So awesome, yay Loki :-).