How to Groom an Anxious Dog

40 - 60 Minutes
2 Months


Not every dog enjoys having a fresh haircut and a nice bath. In fact, it can be a stressful time for many nervous dogs who aren’t accustomed to being fawned over and pampered. With nail trims, loud hair dryers, water, and pointy objects like scissors or clippers, it can be a true test for any dog that is anxious. Working him through the process of grooming can help to cut down on that anxiety and make the session much less of an issue. However, this can certainly take some time.

Dog's Perspective

Grooming can take quite a bit of time and contain any number of stressful situations. Being handled by strangers at the salon can be nerve-wracking in and of itself. Then you introduce noisy objects, the tugging of hair and fur, and lack of personal space, and it can be a recipe for disaster. There are few situations in a dog’s life where their senses are being so flooded with stimulation.

Caution & Considerations

  • Have a veterinarian check your dog for any lingering health issues that may be affecting his anxiety and comfort during grooming sessions.
  • Consider having another member of the family help you with grooming if your dog is larger or harder to handle due to his anxiety.
  • Keep your dog on a leash to prevent the possibility of him leaping off of a table or running away from you while you are working.
  • If your dog is biting or snapping at you or the groomer, a sedative may be necessary to prevent any injury. Always consult a veterinarian before purchasing or using any type of drug or sedative on your dog! 
  • If all else fails, consider taking your dog to a professional groomer who has experience with nervous, anxious, or fearful animals. These professionals may know best how to groom your dog without causing him stress.


While some dogs can get away with a quick bath and brush, some others may need some extensive clipping and cutting in order to stay trimmed and free of mats or tangles. Either way, grooming should be an essential part of any dog’s routine and it should be something that is quick and painless. You may need to work extensively on helping your dog conquer his fears, but a little patience and understanding can go a long way to providing reassurance.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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