How to Groom a Large, Fearful Dog

20 - 40 Minutes
6 Weeks


Grooming a large fearful dog can become quite the challenge. Your big guy can overpower you and cause you and himself harm or injury if he is frightened by what you are doing while you're grooming. Whether your large dog is simply not used to grooming, a little anxious over lots of activities in his life, or nervous because of all the tools you have for grooming sessions, you can ease him into each grooming task by separating them and doing one at a time and letting him explore the grooming tools you are going to use so he's comfortable with them.

Dog's Perspective

A scared dog who is also incredibly large can be like a bull in a china shop. If your pup is scared, try to ease his mind a bit by giving him more control. He's nervous and extra large in size, which may make him a little more clumsy. Grooming tasks may make him a little more fearful than normal.

Caution & Considerations

  • Separate your grooming tasks into individual pieces and do one at a time until your big guy is used to each task and you can begin to combine them together.
  • Try to incorporate simple tasks into daily routines such as brushing.
  •  Always let your big guy explore and sniff the grooming tools you plan to use from your brushes to your scissors and even your clippers.
  • As your dog explores these grooming tools, give him a treat for acknowledging them and sniffing them. This will build his comfort and confidence around these tools, making using them on him easier and more relaxing.
  • Anytime you use a grooming tool such as clippers or a Dremel for your dog's nails, turn the tool on and let your pup hear the sounds it makes and feel the vibration on his skin. Just be careful not to put moving parts near his skin or fur as he's exploring the tool.
  • Remember a soft, gentle tone in your voice and some tasty treats can go a long way in making your large fearful dog more comfortable during grooming sessions.
  • Be patient with yourself as well as with your pup during the sessions as you get used to what he needs to feel comfortable and he gets used to the tasks you need to do to keep him looking beautiful.


Your dog is large and in charge. He's no scaredy cat, but he might be fearful of many things. Take activities slow and ease your big friend into grooming tasks. Challenge him to explore grooming tools one at a time. Once he gets used to regular grooming, he'll give you no problems, paws down.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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