• Home
  • Training
  • How to Train Your Dog to Stay Still While Grooming

How to Train Your Dog to Stay Still While Grooming

How to Train Your Dog to Stay Still While Grooming
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-2 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

For most people, personal grooming is a part of the daily routine. A quick brush or the occasional haircut can get you looking fresh and ready to tackle the day. For your furry friend, however, it might seem like the most difficult thing you could ever ask from them. The brush is suddenly a very inviting chew toy and the clippers are now an evil monster trying to steal their fur. It’s time-consuming, stressful, and a groom gone wrong may only serve to reinforce those fears in your dog. Grooming is necessary to keep him healthy. The good news is that it doesn’t always have to be a struggle.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Defining Tasks

In most cases, grooming isn’t something that you can simply ignore. Training your dog to stay still while you brush out those clumps of fur and trim those nails is an invaluable tool and can help make both at-home grooms and trips to the groomer much less intimidating for both you and him. Keeping still will also ensure that he stays safe and doesn’t jump off a grooming table or jerk away when his nails are being cut. Preventing these types of accidents is important for dogs of all ages and in just a week or two of working with your dog, you can feel much more confident that he will eventually see grooming as just another daily activity.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Getting Started

To get started, you’ll want to grab your dog’s leash, a couple of your grooming tools, and some yummy treats. It’ll help if you’re in a good mood and relaxed as this may help your dog to feel a little more relaxed about the process as well. Determine whether you’re going to be grooming on the floor or up on a table and make sure you stay consistent with this environment throughout the training. If this is the first time you’re grooming your dog by yourself, read up and be aware of the appropriate use of any and all grooming tools to ensure your dog’s safety.


arrow-up-icon

Top

The Lift Method

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon

Most Recommended

1 Vote

Ribbon icon
1

Place your dog into a ‘sit’ or a ‘down’

Starting from these positions will let him know how to transition from either one and into a ‘stand’.

2

Place your hand palm up underneath your dog’s belly

You can offer belly scratches and pets to encourage him to enjoy this type of handling.

3

Gently lift your dog into a standing position

Use your arm to coax him upwards and onto his feet. Be gentle and encouraging. Be careful to not accidentally pull or tug on his fur in the process.

4

Add a command

Say ‘stand’ once your dog is on all fours to mark the appropriate behavior with a command word. Eventually he’ll start associating the word with the behavior.

5

Reward with a treat

Reinforce the ‘stand’ with a yummy treat or two. Standing up for you will soon mean good things.

6

Repeat

Repeat until your dog will stand on his own. This may take a few days for him to fully understand so patience is important.

7

Stand for longer periods of time

Extend the amount of time he’ll need to ‘stand’ before you offer the treat.

8

Bring in the tools

Have him maintain a ‘stand’ while you brush him or turn the clippers on. Keep the first attempts at this short and sweet.

9

Continue until the grooming is complete

It may take several training sessions for your dog to get very good at standing for the amount of time you need to fully groom him.

The Association Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Perfect timing

Pick a time of the day when your dog is relaxed. Ideal times are after heavy exercise when she’s tired and a little hungry. Avoid high times of stress.

2

Get comfy

Adjust your dog to the grooming environment. Whether it’s the bathroom, outside, or in a grooming salon, let your dog visit these areas frequently and ensure the experience is as calm as possible.

3

Offer treats within the environment

Without bringing out the tools yet, let your dog associate the environment with good things like treats or lots of petting and affection

4

Get your dog used to being touched

Wherever you plan on grooming your dog, get her used to tolerating your touch first. Provide treats as you pet her, touch her face and paws, or handle her tail.

5

Introduce the tools one by one

Give treats with each new tool being introduced. This may need to be spaced out over several training sessions. Get your dog used to what each tool may sound and feel like. Don’t expect to be able to complete a full groom just yet.

6

Keep sessions short

Don’t overextend your dog’s patience. Start with short sessions of just a few minutes at a time and work your way to longer ones.

7

Groom with breaks

Once your dog is adjusted to the environment, the tools, and the touch, get to grooming, but take breaks in between steps if necessary. Clipping, then taking a small break and resuming with a brush later may help prevent her from feeling overwhelmed.

8

Keep it relaxed

Never groom when you’re stressed out or having a bad day. Think of grooming as a trip to the spa for your dog. Play calm music to help keep the atmosphere a nice one for both of you.

The Distraction Method

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon

Effective

0 Votes

Ribbon icon
1

Bait

Find a sticky, tasty treat to smear onto a plate. Ideal treats are things like peanut butter or dog-safe ice cream. Make sure the plate is heavy enough that it won’t move around too much while your dog licks.

2

Find a spot

Place the plate where your dog can reach it. For larger dogs, a chair or a couch may work. For smaller ones, the floor can work just as well.

3

Get used to tools

Use each tool on your dog for very short periods of time while he licks. Take breaks to allow him to focus on the treat for a while if necessary.

4

Work in sections

Brush or clip your dog bit by bit. This may increase your grooming time, but it’ll be worth it to avoid stressful grooming experiences.

5

End on a good note

Allow your dog to finish the treat once you’re done grooming or offer a little bit more if he’s finished off what you’ve given him. This will help reinforce that the grooming was a nice activity.

By TJ Trevino

Published: 12/13/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

Have a question?

Training Questions and Answers

Dog nametag icon

KODA

Dog breed icon

Pit bull

Dog age icon

2 Years

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

My dog although lovable and a sweetheart, has been trying to attack my 1 year old bully/lab. They've been together since my 1 year old was 2 months old. I don't understand why now.

Feb. 16, 2022

KODA's Owner

Expert avatar

Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Are both dogs male? Are both neutered? At two years of age pup has reached sexual and mental maturity. That's a common age where competing, territorial behavior, and other aggression can increase. If both dogs are male this is even more likely. If either or both dogs are not neutered then the hormone levels will add to this even more. There might also be something specific triggering the aggression, like one dog doing things to subtly intimidate the other and the second dog reacting, or one dog resource guarding an area, object, or person, then a fight breaks out when the second dog gets close to the guarded thing. Without observing pups in person and being able to ask more questions I cannot say for certainty though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Feb. 17, 2022

Dog nametag icon

Bentley

Dog breed icon

Yorkshire Terrier

Dog age icon

4 Months

Question icon

Question

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

Thumbs up icon

0 found helpful

How do I get him to let me brush him. He keeps attacking the brush constantly.

Dec. 27, 2020

Bentley's Owner

Expert avatar

Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

Recommendation ribbon

257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! If you have help from another person, you can start with having someone feed him tiny treats while you brush him. That will get used to the sensation of being brushed, as well as the treats act as a nice distraction. Over time, this method will slowly desensitize him to being brushed and he will just start to accept brushing without issue.

Dec. 27, 2020


Training assistant
Need training help?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.