For some dogs, unknown or foreign stimuli can put them in a state of anxiety or fear. Bringing your pet into grooming for the first time can be a very daunting experience for them, they are going to have to go through noises such as clippers, hairdryers and scissors. All the while, there will be plenty for them to be distracted by. New people, new smells, other dogs will all be a factor; they are going to have to be ready and receptive to being touched all over. For some dogs, this can be a stressful experience.
So why bother taking them for grooming in the first place? Well, grooming helps dogs with skin conditions, helps maintain their coat, whether it be matted or overgrown. There are some breeds of dog where not grooming is not an option. A few examples of these would be:
- Afghan Hounds,
- Australian Shepard,
- Bearded Collie,
- Bouvier des Flandres,
- Bichon Frise,
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and
- Chinese Crested.
Find the rest of these breeds in the article which dog breeds need the most grooming.
If you have a dog which requires grooming, but they are becoming nervous, there are ways to calm them before you bring them to a groomer. There are also general behaviour training techniques which will help with your dog’s anxiety. We have shared some of these techniques here.
Get Your Dog Used to the Attention
Going to a groomer is going to require your dog to be touched all over. As the groomer works their way around with scissors, clippers and comb, your pet will have to get used to being handled.
In this case, it is wise to get your dog used to being pampered or getting this sort of human attention. You can massage or pet your dog more frequently in the lead up to a grooming session, or keep your dog used to this type of care. This way, when it comes to strangers petting your pet all over, it is unlikely to raise the same level of anxiety. If pampering is not rewarded enough for your dog, you can always compensate them with treats.
If your dog is already showing adversity to being touches or pet in certain places, there may be another reason for their reaction – consult a vet for clarity.
Introduce Grooming Tools
Another way to pre-empt a nervous response is to test your pet with the grooming tools they will likely be facing. Clippers, scissors and combs can be introduced to your dog – get them used to the sound of these tools and the feel of the comb. This way, you can reward as you see necessary.
If your dog appears nervous, but they comply with being introduced, praise them, and reward them suitably. If your dog shows excessive nervousness, there may be some behaviour that needs a professional to look at and assess.
Allow Your Dog Time to Acclimatise to the Car
If you are not regularly transporting your pet by car, it might be worthwhile allowing time for them to acclimatise to a vehicle. By not doing so, you may be allowing for anxiety from the car to transfer into the grooming visit.
Also, nausea associated with the journey might affect your pet’s temperament in the salon. Ensuring your dog can deal with the drive before the session is wise; if your dog does struggle with travel nausea, consult your vet for the best form of treatment.
Keep Your Dog Well Exercised
Just as a general rule, your dog should be walked regularly. Some breeds will need more exercise than others. It is vital for your dog’s physical wellbeing and mental health. A dog with too much energy that it cannot expel is more likely to be anxious, restless and generally more of a handful.
If you want your dog to exhibit the best behaviours, then keep them tired!
If your pet has been known to get aggressive or bite, muzzle training them correctly will not only put your dog more at ease around strangers but will put the groomers at ease too!
Get your dog to put their nose into the muzzle by popping a treat into the end of it; liquid treats work well here so that the treat does not fall out as you secure the muzzle.
As a Last Resort – Consult your Vet about Over-the-Counter Medication
There are over-the-counter medications that can help nervous dogs by acting as a level of sedation. Drugs like Acepromazine can give your pet 6-8 hours where they will not suffer from anxiety surrounding thunder, fireworks or suchlike, it also aids nausea, stabilises heart rhythm and lowers blood pressure.
For Professional Grooming Services
We have been working with dogs for many many years, and we know that a safe and secure dog is a happy dog. Our professional and friendly staff are ready and waiting to help your pet feel at home, and make sure they are as comfortable as possible during and after their grooming session. Why not call today to find out more?