Author: Monika Rose
Not all dogs are afraid of the groomer, but the grooming process might prove exhausting for those who fear even the professionals. Their anxiety starts on the drive to the pet salon once they realize where they’re going. They show signs of distress at the appointment, including panting, drooling, trembling, and even loud whining. Some of them get so anxious that it makes them physically ill. When they leave the grooming table, they look neat and clean but also tired and nervous. Grooming is a necessary step to keep our dogs in their best health, although no owner wants to see their beloved pet feel intimidated by something that should be a positive experience.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help anxious dogs remain calm during grooming sessions. To implement them into your dog’s regular grooming routine, you need to identify what stresses them the most about their appointments. Turning the whole process into a fun and rewarding experience and letting the dog get used to being handled at their own pace will help avoid unnecessarily stressful situations.
Continue reading to find more tips that will help you have an effective and productive grooming session, which will result in a safe and accurate cut for your dog.
Explore and Investigate
Grooming is necessary, but it doesn’t mean that it also has to be stressful. Take some time to familiarize your dog with the grooming equipment outside the salon. Buy the tools like scissors, tweezers, get your pet into a bath, and pour some room-temperature water to show them how nice it can be. You can also use a gentle shampoo to introduce new smells in a safe and familiar environment. Toys, treats, and even verbal praises can be used as calming aids. Let your dog sniff, lick, and explore the tools to help them feel comfortable.
If, for some reason, you know you won’t be able to put that much effort into taking care of your dog but still want the puppy’s companionship, you should consider looking for a breed that doesn’t require as much grooming and training. French bulldogs, known for being energetic and small, are among the lowest maintenance breeds. If you’re eager to find out more about them, check out offers of frenchie puppies for sale, as there are plenty available.
Relax, Take It Easy
To avoid as much stress as possible, make sure to help your dog relax before taking them from a calm and peaceful home straight to the grooming salon full of strange noises. Don’t shove the pet into a car and drive as quickly as possible to get to the grooming appointment on time. Instead, make a plan and take the dog for a longer ride (a quick stop at Starbucks for a Puppucino or a short visit to a pet store would be a nice touch), which will help your pup stay calm and relaxed. This way, they won’t associate future car rides with the stress of grooming day only.
Bring some toys with you, so if you have to sit for a while in the waiting room, you have something to occupy the dog with and distract them from the possible abundance of different strange noises. Most grooming salons offer a small designated room, where an anxious dog can step in for a while to take care of their needs or calm down away from other people and animals.
Minimize the Discomfort
It’s crucial to ensure that your dog feels safe in the groomer’s hands. A professional groomer should be familiar with handling the dog in a way that keeps them calm and helps avoid frustrations tied to the grooming process. It often focuses on taking care of sensitive areas like eyes, paws, ears, muzzle, rear, and groin. Training or enrolling your dog into a behavior modification program can help them remain relaxed when it experiences different types of touching, even in the most sensitive spots. Let your dog familiarize with your touch before entrusting them into other people’s hands.
You might also want to consider some natural calming aids which are recommended for nervous dogs. Treats that include bits of hemp or herbs such as chamomile, valerian, or St John’s Wort are a safe and reliable option.
If you think that you’ve done everything in your power to help conquer your dog’s fear and the problem didn’t go away, consider trying a grooming shop different from the current one. Every dog groomer is different, and just because your dog didn’t get along with your first choice doesn’t mean that grooming will always remain an uncomfortable experience. Many owners try a few different salons before finding the one that their dog likes best.
Take a Break When Needed
To avoid frustration for all parties involved in the grooming process, make sure that the groomer gives your anxious dog breaks as frequently as they’re needed. When the experience becomes too overwhelming, it’s vital to take a step back and take a few deep breaths. If the dog sees that their lack of comfort doesn’t go unnoticed by those who handle them, they will have more confidence and reward you and the groomer with trust. If the dog starts to pull away, avoids staying still, tries to bite or escape the grooming table, it’s time to stop and take a break. Make sure your dog gets plenty of treats throughout the grooming session – it will help distract them from being nervous about being handled. Professional grooming sessions should be a calming and relaxing experience for your dog.
Grooming is a part of dog ownership that’s unavoidable. It’s necessary to keep our dogs clean and healthy, but not all dogs love the process. In fact, it may cause them to become anxious or even aggressive. The tips you’ve read in this article will help you make your dog feel more comfortable about his grooming sessions so it can remain happy, healthy, and stress-free.