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Sally G.
Sally G., Dog Training Consultant
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9513
Experience:  Service/assistance dog training/ behavior /obedience/Therapy dog Evaluator/AKC Evaluator
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We inherited a silky terrier when my mother in law passed.

Customer Question

We inherited a silky terrier when my mother in law passed. She lived with us so Silky has been around the family. Anytime you get up or try to leave a room he goes crazy and tries to bite. Mother in laws previous silky was even more agressive so we do think their behavior stems from her. Groomers around our small town won't touch him because he snarls & bites them. They won't muzzle as he is too old (maybe 13yrs).
I don't think his behavior can be changed this late in life. His behavior has been just as bad before his owner died as it is now.
I need to groom this dog at home. Short of holding him down with heavy gloves and forcefully doing it what can we do.
Is there medicine we can use to sedate him for a short time so we can clean him up.
Prescription and/or over the counter. Thx
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. John replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. There is prescription medication that can be used for sedation, but with some patients, it may not be quite enough to get the job done. I just depends on their individual response to it. Plus, you have to worry about blood pressure getting low. The best thing to would be to see if there is a vet clinic in your area that does grooming. If so, they can usually give a little heavier sedation in the clinic and monitor him while he is completely groomed. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the information. I will forward your request to a moderator about the monthly fee. The experts are just contracted by the website and have nothing to do with the payments. From your description, it sounds like he has some pain in his neck or back. It could even be a slightly bulging disk. I would expect some neck pain with moving it, but sometimes you have to move it as far as it will go to get a response. If the hunch is in his back, a disk problem or just a bad bruise could be the cause. Being that he is eating and drinking and not having vomiting or diarrhea; it most likely isn't anything internal, but that cannot be ruled out 100% without running some blood work. In a situation like this, my best advice is to have your vet check him out and at the very least prescribe some safe pain medications for you. There isn't really a completely safe option for pain control with human OTC meds. Enteric coated aspirin is the only one that is somewhat safe but can still cause mild GI bleeding. I don't usually recommend it. You can check out this website ( In a pinch it may help, but it is not the best option. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did not ask about bulging disk or pain.
This is just a really agressive dog
You must be talking to someone else.
I wanted the behavioral vet to answer anyway
I cannot afford to pay the fee the one vet in town requires to do this hence the question!!!
Expert:  Dr. John replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry. That middle paragraph was an accidental inclusion from another post when I was doing some cutting and pasting. I will opt out and see if another veterinarian would be able to help you.

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today.

Given the age of the dog any traquilizer may be dangerous for you to give at home. A Vet is going to want to examine your dog before giving anything as well.

There is an over the counter medication called melatonin which helps with dog's anxiety. I would give this for about a week before attempting any grooming. Unfortunately this pup has been aggressive all of its life from the sound of it so it will take time to get one paw done in a pleasant way so that dog accepts it.

This is going to be time consuming due to the personality but I would use a reward for all good behavior , something like chicken sliver or hot dog sliver after you briefly touch the dog. The more you can reward the good behavior with something special the more the dog is going to accept you touching it.

Generally dogs that lash out like this are naturally afraid of people, so when we continue to go near them with all the snarling and barking, they feel threatened, this makes them lash out and bite.

Also the way the dog was handled when it acted out had a lot to do with how that behavior increases or decreases.

If grooming must be done immediately, then it may be wise to invest in a basket muzzle so the dog cannot bite and it may be worth investing in a grooming hammock so you can safely do the legs , feet , and face. You can probably reach the back of the dog safely as well.

Benadryl is another medication that sometimes makes dogs drowsy so you may want to try that first before the melatonin, just to see if the dog will become drowsy enough for you to groom a foot.


Grooming harness

Melatonin found in drug stores by vitamins

This is a basket muzzle which still allows the dog to pant and take a treat from you, but will prevent it from biting you

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

You can also call the dogs vet and see if they will just prescribe a relaxer for the dog, but usually when a dog gets that upset about being handled , it does need to be sedated by the Vet. The above are suggestions for safety measures for you to try at home.