How to Calm a Saint Bernard Before Grooming

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Medium
10 - 25 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Your Saint Bernard is indeed a saint. He is a gentle, kind, loving giant beast who is eager to please and just wants to be near you. However, if your Saint Bernard is not used to being handled on a regular basis, he might be a little wild, anxious, and apprehensive before grooming sessions. 

If you need to calm your Saint Bernard before grooming you need to make him comfortable and relaxed. Allow him to sniff all the grooming tools. If you're using something like clippers, let him listen to what they sound like and feel the vibration of them on his skin before you clip him, and reward him during your grooming session, not only at the very end. Keeping your Saint Bernard’s attention isn't hard to do with a good belly rub and a tasty piece of cheese.

Dog's Perspective

If your Saint Bernard is anxious before grooming sessions, it's possibly because your Saint is not used to being poked and prodded very often. To get your big guy used to grooming, poke and prod during times outside of grooming sessions. Practice with conditioning behaviors will help him to relax.

The Saint Puppy Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Step
1
Start with food
Gather some treats and sit on the floor with your Saint Bernard puppy. Your goal here will be to train him how to be handled without feeling anxious or scared.
Step
2
Train to groom
You're going to be essentially teaching your Saint Bernard how to tolerate grooming techniques and procedures. Start by sitting in front of your dog and giving him a treat. Pick an area on his body you know you will need to touch or work with during grooming and touch that spot. For instance, touch your Saint Bernard's paw, then give him a treat.
Step
3
Other areas
Repeat this, touching other areas on your dog's body very quickly and then giving him a treat. This happens in two very rapid steps. Touch your dog's face and then give him a treat. Touch your Saint Bernard's tummy and then give him a treat. You're letting him know that you are allowed to touch those areas and he will be rewarded for letting you do so.
Step
4
Practice handling
Continue to practice touching your Saint Bernard in various places that are uncomfortable for him, such as his eyes, his ears, lifting his jowls to look at his teeth, spreading his paws, and anywhere else your pup will be touched for grooming touch during his handling session. Give him a treat as soon as you touch him.
Step
5
Incorporate brush
Once your Saint Bernard is used to being handled and being rewarded for tolerating handling, incorporate brushing into your grooming session. Repeat the above steps, only brush your Saint in other areas before giving him a quick treat.
Step
6
Other tasks
Repeat this process anytime you need to groom your Saint Bernard. If you need to brush his teeth, do it this way, rewarding with very rapid treating rewards. If you need to clean or trim your dog's ears, keep him entertained and distracted or otherwise preoccupied with quick treats.
Step
7
All grooming
Do this every time you groom your Saint Bernard,and eventually, you will find yourself treating less often because your dog will be tolerant and calm and ready for the grooming session.
Recommend grooming method?

The Calm Saint Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Clipper
Toothbrush
Step
1
Calm room
Place your Saint Bernard in a calm and quiet area for grooming. This area should be free of distractions. You can add calming music to the room and even use essential oils such as lavender in your grooming session.
Step
2
Sit
Sit on the floor with your Saint Berard. Talk to him and pet him. Start with his favorite places such as his belly and move to areas that make him anxious, such as his ears or mouth.
Step
3
Touching
While in your quiet environment with your Saint Benard, gently touch one area at a time such as his ears. Talk to him using a quiet tone assuring him of his safety and then give him a treat.
Step
4
Practice
Practice this soft gentle touch for each area that will be groomed during this session. Each day you can pick a new area to touch such as his teeth or tail to get him used to being handled in a grooming manner. Treat your Saint as you touch him in these areas.
Step
5
Groom
Start a grooming session in the area you practiced on using grooming tools. Be sure your Saint can explore the tools with a good sniff and a treat. Keep your voice calm and your tone soft and continue to give your Saint treats as you groom him.
Step
6
Repeat
Repeat this every day so your Saint is used to the grooming tools and being touched in unusual places such as his mouth or ears. Remember to give your Saint Berard treats throughout the grooming process.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If you have the opportunity to own your Saint Bernard as a young puppy, handle him a lot early on. This will set expectations for grooming sessions for his entire life.
  • Your Saint Bernard is bred to be calm and patient. However, if your Saint hasn't been handled a lot early on he may be hesitant to allow grooming.
  • Check his teeth, lift up his ears, stick your fingers gently inside his ears, feel his gums, brush his teeth, rub his belly, pull apart his toes, tug on the hairs between his paw pads, and always give him a treat when you're done.
  • Once your Saint Bernard is used to general poking and prodding, a grooming session may very well be a breeze.
  • Don't let the giant size of your Saint Bernard fool you. Your large Saint will work incredibly hard for the tiniest bit of food.
  • Never hesitate to use treats to encourage your Saint Bernard to calm down.
  • Spend some time alone with your Saint Bernard finding his pleasure points. Rubbing the top of his nose, his muzzle, or his belly might be calming for your big guy.
  • If your Saint Bernard is going to be professionally groomed, let your groomer know of his anxieties so your groomer does not do anything to aggravate them.

Conclusion

Your Saint Bernard is a big fluffy teddy bear. He is going to shed a lot and he will be dirty from food, drool, and anything he can get into. He will need to be groomed often. Calming his anxieties early on in life or in the grooming session will make grooming tolerable and even rewarding for you both.

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