Ferris is a long-haired dachshund, who happens to hate being groomed. In the past, his hair has been pulled and his nails clipped too short. He used to tolerate grooming better when he was younger, but now he is old and grumpy, he does not want to be groomed, and he is not afraid to make that clear. Ferris has learned that by growling and snapping at people who groom him, both at home, and at dog salons, the handler will often stop what they are doing, and in some cases, the grooming session has even ended. Victory for Ferris!
If you have a dog that becomes aggressive when being groomed due to fear or aggressive tendencies, you and any professional groomers working with your dog will need to know how to handle and groom an aggressive dog. Utilizing the right tools and techniques will make grooming an aggressive dog safer for everyone concerned. Even better are techniques that counteract aggressive tendencies and result in different behavior from your dog, making future grooming sessions easier and more pleasant.
An aggressive dog is not just trying to be difficult while grooming, he has a reason, and understanding that reason will help you counteract it and deal with aggression. Dogs can be aggressive during grooming due to pain from current or past medical conditions. Check with your veterinarian if you think this might be an issue. Your dog may have memories of past traumatic events during grooming, such as razor burn or nails cut to the quick. Other frightening and painful experiences that are associated with grooming, such as abuse that may have occurred, can also make a dog react aggressively to grooming. A generally fearful dog that is afraid of new people and new situations, will easily transfer this fear to groomers and salons. A dominant dog may be trying to exert his dominance and control of a situation and become aggressive during grooming.
If you allow your dog's aggression to control you and stop the grooming process, you have just created a positive reinforcement for your dog's aggression, and stopping aggression in the future will be more difficult. It is important not to allow an aggressive dog to control the situation. You will need to be confident and firm to mitigate fear and take precautions to alleviate discomfort, but not show fear yourself as this will only encourage and contribute to the dog's behavior.
Take safety precautions when working with an aggressive dog to protect yourself and others, use restraints and muzzles when necessary.
Make sure restraints and muzzles are used correctly, and the appropriate size so as not to injure or cause discomfort to the dog.
Give an aggressive dog breaks from grooming when they are behaving calmly, to reward them for appropriate behavior and prevent them from becoming tired and frustrated, or escalating stress, which will contribute to aggression.
Be aware of health concerns or medications the dog may require. Get advice from a veterinarian to address issues.
Aggressive dogs can be a challenge to groom, but some precautions and knowledge of useful techniques and tools that will minimize risk and counteract aggressive tendencies will help make grooming sessions with aggressive dogs safe. Understanding the cause of the dog's aggression so that it can be mitigated with adjustments or behavior modification for best success. Tools like grooming tables with restraints, muzzles, and long-handled tools can also be useful. An assistant and knowledge of safe holds to prevent injury to the dog or to others will often be necessary when grooming an aggressive dog.
she will not let the groomer touch her. She has just started this behavoir. it seems when I switched groomers they did something to her
Hi Sharon! Im sorry to hear that sheba isnt enjoying her groom. Some dogs grow very attached to their groomer(and us to them). It may take her some time to adjust to new surroundings and new people. If it persists you may ask a trainer for some tips or consult your veterinarian to make sure there are no underlying health issues causing pain or anxiety during the groom. Thanks for your question! Paige
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Hi. My beagle has always been aggresive. He has bitten me, and family and friends. He doesnt like to be picked up and always growles when i do. And lately i have just been to scared to pick him up and he goes months without baths. I am also to scared to take him to the groomers because im scared he will bite them i dont no what to do anymore. I have never put a muzzle on him and i will nether try to either.
Hi Nick! I wouldn't recommend taking Oscar to a regular groomer with his agression issues. Look for a groomer inside a veterinary facility or see if your vet can help. It sounds like he will need anti anxiety meds or be sedated to have his nails trimmed, ears cleaned and a bath. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a quote for this and let you know what options are best for you. Good Luck! Paige
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Bailey is blind and has been blind for 3 years. He also has fear aggression. His allergies have been really bad for about a year and h have been bathing him every 2-4 days with special allergy soap and he has been doing well with it. I always make sure to reward him Very well afterwards. 3 days ago he started growling when I told him it was bath time. It seemed sudden to me, no trauma or trigger I could identify. Any ideas? Not bathing him isn’t really an option with his allergies but I don’t want to traumatize him anymore.
Hi Amy! I'm sorry to hear that Bailey is showing a change in demeanor recently. To me, this signals that even though you are not aware of a trauma or trigger, there could be an underlying condition or reason for his behavior. I recommend taking him to see your veterinarian so that Bailey can be checked out. Perhaps his skin is dry and sore. The vet may suggest bathing less often or might want to prescribe a soothing ointment for the skin. All the best!
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