Small dogs should be handled and trained very similarly to large dogs, and with similar expectations. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Small dogs are often picked up and held close to their owners when they are excited or acting aggressively. This reinforces the aggressive emotional state, and over time this can result in a small dog that bites. As a result, many small dogs can be snappy, especially when in unfamiliar situations, or with unfamiliar people. Also, due to their small size, a small dog may become intimidated if he feels startled, in danger, or experiences discomfort, any of which may occur during grooming if a brush snags a tangle, water during bathing feels unpleasant, or the sound of clippers startles him. In turn, sometimes small dogs develop the bad habit of biting during grooming.
Whether you groom your small dog yourself or take him to a professional groomer, you will need to take steps so that you or your groomer does not end up with a chunk of skin missing!
Ever heard of a Napoleon complex? This is the theory that small people, or in this case, small dogs, overcompensate for their small stature with aggressive and dominant social behavior. While we generally recognize this is not really true of people, it may be true of dogs, to some degree. Because dogs act more on instinct than we do, and a small dog may more easily feel threatened in a world full of bigger dogs and big people, a small dog can learn to react aggressively and even bite when unsure of a situation.
Grooming is one of those situations your small dog may feel threatened in and react by biting. If you take your dog to a groomer, the sights and sounds of the grooming salon and other dogs may evoke this response. Or, if you groom your dog yourself and your dog doesn't like water, the sensation of a shower, clippers, the feeling of having his fur and skin pulled by a brush, tangles worked out, or trimming with scissors, he may react by biting. Obviously this is a problem!
Even thought I am studying to become a dog Groomer my first dog is a bit challenging one,because he doesn't like at all the sound of the clippers but he is not too bad as he was before ,but i still need to work with him so I would like ask some tips or advice about how to groom his legs and face without giving him stress.
Hi Colin, congratulations on your decision to become a groomer! My suggestion is that you keep the grooming sessions with Ted short at the start and be sure to offer treats at the end as well as plenty of praise. It may be wise to get Ted used to the sound of the clippers by working on his back legs first, and once he realizes that is okay, move to the front legs and then the face. Rather than try to trim all of Ted's face at once, move from one side to the other trimming just a little until next session. Ted will have to be groomed more often because the sessions are short, but this may be the best way to acclimatize him to the task. Additionally, make sure he is well exercised and tired out before the grooming!
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Hi my dog is a rescue dog & whenever he goes to the groomers he goes mad & tries to bite the groomer. Is there anything we can do to stop him going mad & trying to bite.
Hi Alyson, Cute little Toby may have had a bad experience at the groomer before he joined your family or there may be something about the grooming process that causes him pain (such as arthritis). I would take him to the vet to discuss the problem and have him checked. After determining there are no issues, I would do some research on groomers in your area and visit one that specializes in dealing with fearful or aggressive dogs. This groomer will know how to approach Toby and will have the knowledge on how to proceed and will be able to calm Toby down. Good luck!
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