How Can you Calm your Dog for Grooming?

Dog Grooming

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,
  • Cairn,
  • 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!

Muzzle Training

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?

How to Train a Dog to not Bark

Before we get into training techniques, it is best to get one thing straight – dogs are going to bark. Unless you are going to be the proud owner of a Basenji, bred from stock that originated in central Africa, one of the only known dogs to not be able to bark, there are going to be times where your pooch barks. It is in their nature, and to expect your dog never to bark is being unreasonable. 

What is not unreasonable, however, is wanting to train your dog to control or reduce its barking. Whether it is to save your ears, the neighbours’ ears, from others mistaking barking for aggression or another reason, there are techniques you can follow to keep your dogs barking controlled. 

Another thing to know initially is that the longer your dog has been barking, the harder it is going to be to train it out of them. So get ready to be patient with your pet. Consistency is vital; if your dog is getting mixed messages from you, your family or extended carers, then they are going to become confused. When you are training a dog, no matter what it is, having consistency from everyone that comes into contact with your dog is best. Raising your voice and shouting over your dog to quiet them might be a short term solution, but it will not remove the reason for your dog’s barking. It is the reason that they are barking that you need to understand before you can effectively train them to stop doing it. But trying to be the most prominent voice in the room your dog is going to find any commands harder to understand and might think you are joining in. Try the following techniques and give them time to have an impact. 

Remove the Motivation for Barking 

If your dog is barking out of the window frequently, or when they are in the garden, try to remove their motivation for barking. For instance, close the curtains until they stop, and then praise them when they do. Similarly, if they are barking in the garden, bring them inside (this will require a level of recall that will need to be embedded prior). Once they come inside and stop barking, praise them and give them a fitting treat. 

Removing their motivation and praising them when they stop barking could work well in getting your dog to understand you appreciate it. 

Ignore your Dog Until They are Quiet

While this can come across as just ignoring the issue altogether, ignoring a behaviour you are not happy with is much better than getting angry or aggressive. You want to instil an understanding and trust within your dog. If they are rewarded when they cease barking, the positive reinforcement will begin to make an impact on their behaviour until you no longer need to reward them. 

This tactic can be trying if your dog barks for a very long period it can be very difficult not to shout out. If you find yourself at breaking point, try removing the dog’s stimulus or make them move away from the situation that is making them bark. 

Desensitise them to Barking Stimulus 

If you find that certain stimuli is making your dog bark time after time, teaching them to relax when this stimulus occurs in an option. If it is people walking past your window, for instance, get a friend to do this, and reward your dog each time they ignore them. If every time people get within a certain distance, your dog barks, have your friend approach slowly and reward your dog for taking no interest at each instance. This will not be resolved in one go, and repetition and consistency are key here. 

The same type of training goes for sounds that set your dog off, try recording these sounds on your phone. Play them, but increase the volume each time. Each time you play the audio, and if your dog does not bark, reward and praise them. 

Teach Them an Incompatible Command

Another technique you could try is teaching your dog a command that is incompatible with barking. Barking can be a protective, dominant, attention-seeking or fearful reaction. If, for instance, your door bell goes and your dog is barking, teach them a counter-intuitive command like returning to their bed, or lying down. When your dog follows these commands reward them, but only if they stop barking. 

Remaining calm while you give commands and not appearing to be in a fluster will also help your pet understand and eventually reciprocate the calm of these operations. If every time you answer the door, you are running or fumbling; your dog may learn the wild nature of an entrance to your home and act up. 

Calmly request they follow another command, answer the door and reward them when they are quiet. 

Do Not Turn to any Shock or Bark Collar 

Do not be fooled into thinking that bark collars, or worse, shock collars, are an answer to the problem. If anything, these collars add another obstacle to the situation and are highly likely to make an anxious dog worse. When dogs bark, there is a reason. If you learn the reason and aim to tackle it, you will be doing far better than a collar which looks to distract or scare the dog out of what it will feel is a natural response. 

Dog and Puppy Training When You Need it Most 

If you have tried all the above techniques and none of them is working, it may be that your dog needs some help with their behaviour. It could also be that you need to learn how dogs behave and your place in helping the control that. Contact Country Boarding today, our friendly and professional staff are here to help with dog and puppy training. We can visit, or you can come to classes.

Any questions? Get in contact today to further discuss your needs. Or, directly call us from a mobile.

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New regulations now allow licencing authorities to attach a star rating to all animal care licensed businesses. We are proud to announce we have been awarded 5 star ratings from North Hertfordshire District Council commencing January 2019 for both our Dog Hotel and Day care services.

Call us on 01462 742658 to find out more or arrange to visit. Country Boarding is where your dog makes friends!