Ever had a dog that was terrified of being groomed, or going to the groomer? If your dog runs and hides under the bed whenever you bring out the brush or the nail trimmer, or starts shaking when you pull up in the car in front of the groomer's, what can you do to make your dog more comfortable with being groomed?
Dogs show anxiety in several ways; they may breathe faster, pant, whine, shake, hide if possible, or even become aggressive. A dog that is trying to escape or becomes aggressive is especially difficult to groom and poses a danger to himself. Some grooming implements are sharp, and a dog that will not hold still could be inadvertently injured. If the dog bites or scratches out of fear, they could injure the person grooming them. Either way, your dog will not be very popular with the person doing the grooming!
If you are trying to groom your dog, his being anxious can make the process much longer, and no fun at all. Finding ways to mitigate or overcome anxiety while grooming a dog is necessary to keep everyone safe and get your dog more comfortable with the process. There are several steps you can take to make grooming an anxious dog easier and safer for everyone involved.
Make sure the dog does not have a medical condition that is causing discomfort before grooming.
Ensure that appropriate equipment is used. Nail clippers should be sharp so that will not crush nails, precautions should be taken so that clippers and dryers do not run too hot, and start by using soft brushes that do not cause discomfort with friction.
Use a muzzle to protect the groomer if required.
Make sure the dog has good traction so they do not slip and appropriate restraint so they can not escape or jump off the grooming table and injure themselves.
Take time and use patience so as not to cause further anxiety. Never use punishment to correct an anxious dog, as this will increase anxiety. Be firm and gentle.
If your dog is more of a scaredy cat than a dog at grooming time, you will need to take some precautions to make grooming time safer and more comfortable for you and your dog. A little consideration and time to create positive associations with grooming time and equipment will go a long way. Remember, you do not want to do anything to increase your dog's anxiety. Have patience and keep yourself, your groomer, and your dog, safe by creating a calm, positive experience that will have your dog loving, or at the very least not hating, being groomed!