MemberAugust 2, 2011 at 4:22 am314
This is a tricky situation considering your dog’s aggression issues and the proximity that your hands will need to be in relation to his mouth in order to brush.
Things to consider:
1. Giving a dental chew such as a CET Chew (rawhide flat chips enzymatically treated to prevent tartar) or other chew like a bully stick. Since he is a resource guarder give this to him when he is seperated out in a crate or confined area. Chews and bully sticks are usually consumed so once gone there is nothing left to guard.
If you would still like to try brushing:
2.If there is any chance of a bite I would recommend using protective gloves.
Below is a link demonstrating various protective gloves, that are helpful when desensitizing dogs in these type of situations.
Protective Gloves and Extinction in Dog Aggression Rehab | Self Help Dog Training – Blog
NOTE** Even very good gloves may not indefinitely protect you from injury and you should use this advice at your own risk. You seem to have a good feel for his body language, so keep an eye out for signals and don’t push the issue. **
I would not brush with toothpaste initially or maybe never depending on how he does. The use of the toothbrush will really depend on the dog. I find most dogs (even without aggression issues) are more likely to bite down on toothbrushes than fingerbrushes (not likely to fit over protective glove) or a plain piece of gauze wrapped around a gloved finger may work better. Downfall is that a toothbrush does provide more protection from bites than your hand. If he already allows you to handle his mouth, then touching his teeth with a gauze covered ( and gloved) may not be far off.
You should start gradually, NOT aiming to brush every tooth in his mouth initially until he seems completely comfortable with it over a period of time.
Use your knowledge of your dog to decide whether either of these options will work for you.