How to Shave an Aggressive Dog

40 - 60 Minutes
2 Months


Dogs are rarely aggressive without a reason. If your dog is displaying aggressive tendencies during grooming and shaving, then chances are, she’s reacting due to fear. Unfortunately, some dogs have to undergo grooming to keep them happy and healthy, so it’s not always something you can skip for your dog’s comfort. There are ways, however, to keep both you and her safe while you get this necessary evil out of the way as quickly as possible. The clippers may be intimidating, but they don’t have to be the bane of your dog’s existence if you can help it.

Dog's Perspective

Grooming salons are full of strange smells, sights, people, and animals. No wonder it may put your dog into a perpetual state of fear. Not to mention, having a stranger poke and prod you all over may not be the most comfortable situation. Your dog likely isn’t snapping, growling, or biting to be mean, but because she is stressed out. Be understanding of your dog’s fears and limitations and work to ease them.

Caution & Considerations

  • Double check that your dog is not acting out because of an injury or illness. Some dogs may show aggression because of physical discomfort. Have her checked out by a veterinarian if this is a recent issue rather than one that has been recurring.
  • Cloth muzzles should only be used on a temporary basis. Never keep a cloth muzzle on any longer than is absolutely necessary.
  • If your dog absolutely cannot calm down during a shave, consider talking to your veterinarian about sedation or medication. These can help get your dog into a much more manageable state so you can get grooming out of the way. 
  • Be careful if you decide to tie your dog to one spot using her leash. Thrashing around or running away may cause damage to your dog’s throat or neck. 
  • Never punish your dog for growling, as this is a warning sign that a bite may be coming next, giving you enough time to back away and de-escalate. A dog that doesn’t growl is much more likely to bite without giving you a warning first. 
  • Always keep an eye on your dog’s stress signals to determine when you need to give her a break. 


Being prepared before grooming a fearful or aggressive dog is key and will help your dog adjust much better to a potentially stressful environment. With positive reinforcement, short breaks, and enough attention to her limitations, your dog can endure being shaved and groomed with minimal stress to both you and her. Remember to show patience and understanding and your dog will return the favor with love, trust, and affection.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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