How to Groom a Jumpy Dog

Hard
45 - 60 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Whether your dog is excited or nervous, a dog that is jumpy and moves around a lot during grooming is a challenge. It helps if you can figure out what your dog's issue is. 

Is he a Nervous Nellie that is anxious around the sight and sound of a clipper, afraid of having his toenails cut and pulls his paw away the minute you pick it up, scared of water and struggles in the bath? Or is he just super excited about the attention and so full of energy he cannot stay still for grooming? While some of the tools and techniques you use to groom a jumpy dog will be the same regardless of the reason the dog is jumpy, some strategies may help an anxious dog versus an excited dog. 

Your main goal will be to get your jumpy dog to stay still for grooming. Training, tools and techniques can all aid in achieving this so your jumpy Jack Russel, your hyper hound or your anxious Airedale can get the good grooming they need.

Dog's Perspective

Grooming can be exciting, or scary, depending on the dog. If you have a dog that gets so excited when he gets attention he cannot control himself and starts jumping about, teaching him to control himself and his behavior before grooming will help--and result in needing less restraint and correction during the grooming process, which will make it more pleasant for your dog. An anxious dog can also display anxiety by being jumpy, and in this case, working to comfort your dog and give him confidence in the grooming process is a great strategy to make grooming pleasant and not a struggle for you and your dog.

The Strategies for Calm Method

Effective
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Step
1
Exercise
Exercise your jumpy dog before grooming. Whether they are anxious or excited, this will tire them and reduce excess energy.
Step
2
Sedate
Talk to a veterinarian about sedation before doing baths or clipping sessions. If appropriate, a hyper or anxious dog can benefit from mild sedation, allowing them to relax for longer grooming sessions when necessary.
Step
3
Find a good location
Find a location to groom that is free from distractions that can excite or frighten your jumpy dog.
Step
4
Use appropriate restraint
Use non-slip mats and gentle restraint such as a leash with an assistant holding it. Try not to force your dog into a position that is uncomfortable for him, as this can just make him more excited or nervous and more jumpy.
Step
5
Have tools ready
Have all your tools ready and nearby so that grooming sessions are shorter and less stressful, and your dog does not have time to get distracted, excited or nervous while you look for tools or get frustrated.
Recommend grooming method?

The Strategies for Cooperation Method

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Step
1
Introduce tools
Go slow and steady, introduce each grooming tool to your dog before using it and make clear what is expected. For example, let your dog smell the brush or investigate hair clippers before you start clipping, .
Step
2
Reinforce tools
Create a positive association with grooming tools by presenting them in conjunction with treats.
Step
3
Break it up
Break up grooming a jumpy dog into stages. Brush at one time, bathe at another, do nails or trim hair a few hours later. This will keep grooming from becoming overwhelming for your jumpy dog.
Step
4
Practice 'stay'
Train your jumpy dog to lie down and stay in exchange for high value treats. Practice requiring your dog to down-stay for longer and longer. Use this behavior when grooming.
Step
5
Engage assistant
Use an assistant to provide distractions, affection and correction while you groom.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Avoid forcing your dog to be still, this will increase jumpy behavior. Instead, calm the dog or provide alternate behaviors.
  • Take precautions to ensure you or your dog are not injured. Prevent escape attempts that could result in your dog jumping off an elevated grooming surface, slipping in a bathtub, or being injured by sharp grooming implements.
  • Always groom a jumpy dog when you have time and patience to correct and mitigate behavior, do not be rushed, frustrated or impatient during grooming.

Conclusion

Jumpy dogs can be frustrating. Try to understand what your jumpy dog is experiencing and take steps to counteract the behavior. Spending time training your jumpy dog or exercising him to foster calm behavior and prevent jumpiness during grooming is recommended. Tools like sedatives or using an assistant can also help. Provide treats and positive distractions while grooming a jumpy dog. Have patience and figure out what works best. Eventually, your jumpy dog should adapt to your calm demeanor and steps taken to adjust the grooming situation, and reduce his jumpy behavior accordingly.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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