Dog Grooming

8 Grooming Tips for Anxious Dogs


Whirring clippers, noisy dryers, new smells – so many new smells! The grooming salon can be overwhelming for many pets, even those who don’t typically struggle with reactive tendencies or anxiety. Luckily, with a well-trained, professional groomer, their shaky paws are in good hands.

Try these tips to keep everyone calm and comfortable during your next pet grooming appointment:

1) Recognize the symptoms of grooming anxiety

Most pet groomers have quick reflexes, but it’s even more important to predict what’s going to happen next. Anxious dogs don’t always react the same way – some may hide or try to escape while others become defiant and aggressive.

Get an early read on the situation and assess them for rapid breathing, increased heart rate, panting, whining, and shaking.

2) Avoid lifting and carrying pets

Many dogs get frightened when they’re not in control. An electric grooming table and tub reach all the way down to the ground so that most pets can climb in on their own.

3) Limit unexpected surprises

If you’re working with a team and grooming multiple animals, it’s difficult to create a calm atmosphere. But small details add up! Make sure that your grooming tub is equipped with molded floor panels to soften water spray and suds. The more control you have over your bath temperature, the better! Also, look for dryers with adjustable speed dials so that you can slowly transition into the noise.

4) Decrease overwhelming stimuli

There are lots of pet grooming accessories that help block loud sounds and overwhelming visuals. Experiment with mutt muffs, silent clippers, muzzles, and towels.

5) Limit time in crates

Although it’s difficult to do, we recommend avoiding small crates and confined areas that may spike anxiety. If possible, try to schedule grooming appointments so that the owner can hand their leash directly to you and signal trust. Mobile grooming is also a popular option, allowing pet parents to avoid the stress of travel altogether.

6) Build a treat bar

Little extras go a long way. Discover what flavors and textures your anxious pup likes best. A small treat bar makes it easy to stock a variety of flavors and ensure that positive reinforcements work even better.

7) Finish on a paw-sitive note

It’s tempting to brush the dog off, lower your electric grooming table, and immediately start on the next appointment. Instead, take a moment to celebrate with your anxious pup and help them relax. The ‘worst part’ is over, and it’s a powerful opportunity to end the service with some tail wagging fun!

8) Teach pet parents how to practice

As a professional groomer, you have to work with parents, not just pets. After the appointment, owners will likely be curious about how it went. Give them a quick summary of what you did, how the dog reacted, and what you hope to see next time.

For example, if you noticed that the dog was afraid of loud sounds, you may suggest that they give treats to the pup at home while being exposed to the sound of a hairdryer. If the dog was sensitive about their ears, it may help to handle them more often – working slowly and pairing a ‘predictor’ word with gentle touch.

Shernbao USA offers world-class tubs and tables for grooming professionals, so you can create a more welcoming environment. With the best equipment, you can ease pet anxiety right from the get-go!