How to Groom a Playful Dog

5 - 10 Minutes
1 Day


Chase is a playful Chesapeake Bay Retriever pup. Only a 1½ years old, he has a hard time staying still for anything. This playful Retriever wants to run, fetch, and shake his knotted rag toy until he is absolutely sure it is dead and will never harm anyone again! Chase's owners love playing with him, taking him to the lake to fetch sticks or the dog park to romp with the other dogs. The problem is between the lake and the dog park, Chase does need grooming. He needs daily brushing to remove twigs and underbrush he picks up, and occasional baths to remove stinky lake water. 

How do Chase's owners groom such a playful dog? Fortunately, Chase is a short haired dog, but what if he was a long-haired or wavy coated dog that needed clipping or to have mats removed with scissors, and staying still for grooming was even more important. There are several strategies for grooming a playful dog: one is to create calm, the other is to harness that playful energy and make it fun for everyone.

Dog's Perspective

Your playful dog thinks everything is a game. The brush you take out looks like it would be fun to grab and carry in his mouth. The suds from the shampoo in the bath look like they would be great to chase around in the water. Grooming a playful dog can be a challenge if he can’t hold still and wants to play with everything and everyone. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can employ to make grooming more tolerable for your playful dog, and less of a chore for you. Keep sessions short to avoid boring your playful pup or even make grooming a great game he loves.

Caution & Considerations

  • Be careful when working with sharp implements like clippers or scissors around a dog that is likely to move due to playfulness. Restrain your dog, have an assistant hold him, or make sure you have control before trimming mats or hair.
  • Use non-slip pads to prevent injury from a playful dog moving around during grooming.
  • Do not let your dog play with brushes or other grooming tools.  Your dog can injure himself if bristles come loose and he ingests them, and you do not want him to associate tools as toys.
  • Work on obedience commands with a playful dog to gain control when grooming and in other situations where he could be injured if he does not attend.


Your playful pup is a delight--most of the time! Except when you need him to stay still, then playfulness can be a problem. You can create calm by reducing energy and keeping grooming sessions short and simple, to avoid a bored playful dog escaping your clutches. Or, create a game out of grooming, by teaching your dog to stay still for grooming as a precursor to a fun game of fetching or tug or war. 

Remember not to neglect grooming, even when it is difficult with a playful, active, dog as it will be harder when your dog becomes overly soiled to get him to stay still for even longer to clean him up. Multiple short sessions are the best way to groom a playful dog.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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