How to Calm a Doberman Pinscher Before Grooming

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Medium
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Doberman Pinschers are big, high energy dogs and can very be intimidating if they get excited or anxious before being groomed. Whether you are grooming your Dobie yourself or taking him to a professional groomer, you will want your dog to be calm before grooming. A frightened or anxious dog can misinterpret a groomer's actions and become aggressive if he feels threatened. Even an excited Doberman, bouncing about happily, can injure himself or others during grooming if he slips off a grooming table or in a tub. Many dogs, including Dobermans, do not like having their nails clipped, as it can be uncomfortable, and if nails were accidentally nicked or clipped too short in the past your dog may associate this procedure with pain and get upset at the sight of nail clippers or other grooming tools he associates with nail clipping. 

There are several things you can do to calm your Doberman down before grooming including using some bribes... err… we mean positive reinforcement.

Dog's Perspective

Grooming can be exciting or scary. Either way, a high energy Doberman can react in anything but a calm manner when he realizes he is about to be groomed. If your Doberman is scared he will be difficult to groom as he tries to avoid grooming, and a big strong dog may be quite good at eluding you or worse, may become aggressive. An excited Doberman can slip and injure his hips or knock you over during grooming. Getting your Doberman to be calm before grooming will prevent injury to yourself and to him and make the whole process a lot easier.

The Create Calm Method

Effective
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Step
1
Make grooming tools familar
Associate grooming tools with positive things like food. Leave brushes, clippers, and nail trimmers near your Doberman’s dog dish or around the house so he is used to seeing them. Touch your Doberman with tools and provide treats to create a positive association.
Step
2
Do not rush or suprise
While it may be tempting to ambush your excited Doberman or rush through grooming, if your dog is upset or agitated, to get it over with, this is the worst thing to do. Instead, let your dog know what you are doing, let him investigate tools, work slowly and steadily. Have tools ready and available.
Step
3
Project calm
Be calm, gentle and firm while approaching your Doberman for grooming and during grooming. Do not be intimidated or get excited as this will escalate his mood. Talk in a firm, steady voice.
Step
4
Burn off energy
Exercise your Doberman with a long run and play before grooming, so any excess energy is burned off and your dog is more likely to be calm.
Step
5
Pick your time
Prepare for grooming at a time of day your dog is less active, like in the afternoon or evening, not first thing in the morning.
Recommend grooming method?

The Set the Scene Method

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Step
1
Pick a novel location
If your Doberman gets over excited during grooming, find a new location to groom him in that he does not associate with grooming. Pick a different room in your house.
Step
2
Distract
Place your Doberman on a mat or blanket with a chew toy like a rawhide bone to keep him occupied and distract him. Chewing can provide an alternative outlet for nervous energy.
Step
3
Create a relaxing environment
Use aromatherapy such as diffusing lavender oil in the grooming area to keep your Doberman calm. Play soothing music available at pet supply stores for calming your dog.
Step
4
Massage
Start by massaging your Doberman all over. Gently handle his legs and paws. Rub his belly and face.
Step
5
Introduce tools calmly
Have all tools ready so you can easily reach them and do not startle or surprise your Doberman with grooming tools. Let him investigate tools and reinforce them by providing treats when your dog checks them out.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If your Doberman is likely to become aggressive during grooming, consider using a muzzle to protect yourself and others.
  • Use secure footing so an excited or anxious Dobie does not slip and injure himself.
  • Do not rush or startle your Doberman. This will create a negative association with grooming. Introduce grooming calmly and slowly let him know what you are doing. 
  • If using aromatherapy make sure you use a calming scent that is non-toxic to dogs.

Conclusion

Dobermans can be difficult to calm before grooming as these strong, high-energy dogs would probably rather be running and playing then standing quietly to be groomed. By exercising your dog or picking a time of day when his energy level is lower you can mitigate this to some degree.  Create a positive association with grooming by associating tools with treats and not surprising or rushing your Doberman's grooming. Use tools like music, scent, and massage to calm your Doberman down and get him ready to be groomed. Remember, if you are calm your dog is more likely to be calm; do not lose patience or get excited during grooming as this will contribute to excitement and fear. Stay calm to create calm.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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