What do you do if your dog has a hard time calming down for grooming? At the very sight of the dreaded brush, some dogs will find the closest available hiding spot. And that fear translates to stress for their human companions, too. So, should you call it an honest try and give up, leaving your furry friend to an uncomfortable—not to mention smelly—future? No way! You and your dog just need to learn how to relax together come grooming time.
You don’t have to hire a dog whisperer to help. Dog anxiety is actually quite similar to the human version. Dogs, while friendly to their human companions, like to be in charge of themselves, so they are naturally wary of having a stranger (although groomers aren’t all that strange) probe and examine them with a variety of formidable-looking tools. You just need to work towards getting your dog used to the process of being groomed, and help them get rid of the instinctual fear of visiting the grooming shop.
Remember that it’s always best to start grooming your dog when they are young; the older a dog gets, the harder it will be to convince them that grooming is a good experience.
If you’re finding it difficult to convince your friend, try some simple behavior modification. Practice grooming at home, getting your dog used to being handled and feeling the basic tools, such as brushes. You might even visit the groomer’s so your pet can see and smell her surroundings, giving a treat for reassurance. Make it fun and over time they should become familiar with the groomer and the grooming shop’s sounds and smells. This can greatly help to decrease anxiety.
Of course, dog groomers have common tools that are used to keep a dog calm. Grooming tables are equipped with devices to keep dogs secure and calm, and different tactics, “tricks of the trade” so to speak, are used to keep an anxious dog more comfortable. Even some anti-anxiety medications, as well as natural alternatives, properly prescribed by your veterinarian, can help. There are even collars that release “dog appeasing pheromones” which will remind the dog of its mother and calm her down. Not all remedies work for all dogs, of course, but they’re out there.
Always treat your dog gently, the way you’d treat a little kid—they readily sense your stress—so if you remain calm and reassuring that will go a long way to keeping them comfortable…and don’t forget to reward with a treat.
At The Grooming Rigg, we treat our guests with the same love and respect we show our own little friends at home. With our gentle, peaceful manner, and a little preparatory help from the owner, we can make grooming less of a chore for both you and your pet.