How to Groom a Dog that Bites

Hard
5 - 60 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

When the time comes for you to groom your dog, do you start looking for the muzzle? Or, do you simply take him to the local puppy salon and let them deal with the fact your dog likes to bite when someone tries to groom him? While this type of behavior should never be considered normal, it is more common than it should be. More importantly, there is usually a reason why a dog bites at the person who is trying to groom them. Perhaps at some time someone pulled too hard on the brush and ripped skin out or maybe they cut into the quick in his nails by trimming them too short, causing pain. 

Dog's Perspective

While you might not realize it, your dog actually has a very good memory, especially when it comes to things that cause him pain. If he has been hurt before by a groomer, just the thought of being groomed is enough to cause anxiety and fear. In reality, your pup is not mad at you or the person trying to groom him now, he is simply scared, and this may be the only way he has of letting you know how scared he is.

The Refocus His Attention Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Deshedder
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Start in the right place
Start by finding a quiet spot in your home where there is something that will help keep your pup focused on anything but what you are doing. It could be a window he can see the outside world from, maybe the television set with something that he likes (yes, your pup loves the TV), or even soothing music that will help keep his mind off being groomed.
Step
2
Pee break first
Before getting started, be sure to take your pup outside so he can do his business and stretch his legs. This will help stop him from getting stressed or fidgeting while you are working. Be sure you keep your grooming sessions short in the beginning to allow him to get used to it.
Step
3
Watch what he is doing
Keep a close eye on how your pup is behaving throughout the process. As long as he is standing still and behaving, be sure to praise him and give a treat from time to time. If you can see his attention is starting to wander or he starts moving around, try redirecting his attention back out the window or to the television. Find something exciting and active to watch as this will hold his attention better.
Step
4
Strike up a conversation
Your pup might not be able to answer your questions in a language you can understand, but you can bet he loves the sound of your voice and probably understands more of what you are saying than you think. The more you talk to him, the calmer he is likely to be. Plus, your pup is always happy to respond to plenty of praise.
Step
5
Keep it fun
Grooming your pup should be a fun and relaxing job for both of you and the harder you work at making the whole process enjoyable, the less stressed your pup is likely to become. Start with short sessions with breaks to go outside and stretch his legs. In time, you will be able to complete the entire task in a single session.
Recommend grooming method?

The Familiarization Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Flea Comb
Deshedder
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Familiarization
One of the most important steps you can take towards successfully grooming your dog when he bites is to keep the initial grooming sessions short at first. During these short sessions, you can use the time to figure out why your dog bites when you groom him. Start by showing him the hairbrush or nail clippers, maybe try laying them on the floor next to him when he is laying down. Give him a treat or two and be patient.
Step
2
Off to a slow start
If your pup is little older and has recently started biting or you're still working the nips out with your puppy, start very slowly at first. Have him stand in place and give him a treat or two to calm him down. Bring the brush or other tools up to him nice and slow, allowing him to get used to them. If he spooks, pull back and let him spend a little more time getting used to them before trying again.
Step
3
Start at the head
Gently place the brush on your pup's head and brush the top, the neck, and around his ears. Keep it nice and slow, letting him get used to being brushed. This is also a good time to give him another treat. Wait for him to let you know he is ready to move on.
Step
4
Slow down, take it easy
Now that your pup is letting you brush this part of his body, it's time for you to slow down and take it easy for a few days. Repeat this step of the grooming process for several days, until you can approach your dog with his brush and he no longer panics.
Step
5
And in the end
And in the end, the love you show your pup is equal to how relaxed he will be. Now that he is used to being brushed around his head and neck, you can start working your way to being able to groom him from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail without being bitten.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • The most important thing to remember is to remain calm. If you get excited, your pup will sense your emotions and respond in kind.
  • Fear and anxiety are the most common reasons why dogs bite during grooming, but they are not the only one.
  • Other reasons include hip dysplasia, skin rashes and conditions, and other conditions that cause pain.
  • Take your time letting your dog get used to the tools you plan to use. This will make grooming him much easier.
  • Be prepared to spend weeks and possibly months letting your dog get used to grooming and not trying to bite. Be patient, the rewards are well worth the effort and it’s a great bonding time for you and your pup. 

Conclusion

It is likely to take a lot of time and hard work teaching bite-a-saurus-rex to relax and enjoy being groomed instead of trying to rip your face off at grooming time. Just keep trying to make it fun and use plenty of treats to make it happen. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions