Pet owners always like to keep their furry friends looking clean and adorable, even though dogs often find grooming very stressful and traumatic. Luckily, there are many ways to keep your dog calm while getting groomed and comfortable throughout the whole process. It’s imperative to know all of the following tips if you want to have an effective and productive grooming session and your dog to get a safe and accurate cut as a result.
Grooming is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be stressful
Dog owners want and need to give their pets a bath, brush them, trim their coats and do everything to ensure they are cool enough. Professional grooming sessions are also more popular than ever before, and they are really worth the time and money. But dogs often find them stressful. That is, they become nervous and scared if they’re not familiar with the process. Therefore, you need to take some necessary steps to make your dog relaxed and cooperative.
Relax your dog before a grooming session
Whenever you take your dog to a grooming salon, make sure to relax them beforehand. If your pooch doesn’t like traveling in the car, avoid the ride and walk to the salon instead. It’ll give your pet a nice stretch of legs, and it will burn off some energy and tire them out before the grooming session begins.
It’s also good to have a little play in your home, outside, or in the waiting room before your dog gets their beauty treatment. It can keep their mind off of what is to come.
Understand why your dog is scared and find a way to comfort them
Grooming often entails different and strange noises and tools along with new smells. If your dog is not familiar with all of those, it’s inevitable for them to feel scared and threatened, especially when you take them to a pet salon for the first time. You need to understand that the dog’s needs and requirements are at the core of the grooming process.
The first thing you can do to keep your dog calm while getting groomed is to speak to them while you’re prepping for the process and ensure that they’re comforted. Your soothing voice can make all the difference and reduce the chances of any issues. Every dog will appreciate the gentle approach and slow, relaxed body movements.
Find a way to make your dog aware that they’re in safe hands and that the whole procedure won’t harm them. You can help them adjust to a new groomer by introducing them before a first appointment. Give them enough time to overcome the fear by being patient with them along the way.
Minimize grooming discomfort
It’s essential to find all possible ways that work for your pet to minimize discomfort for them. You also need to understand that sometimes, dogs are simply stubborn, and they will refuse to do as you’d like them and tell them. This can be problematic, but it’s not something that can’t be solved with the right help and professional trainer’s advice.
It’s crucial to ensure that a dog feels safe in a groomer’s hands. That’s the first step to build rapport and trust.
The grooming salons can look worrying for dogs, especially if they haven’t been there before. They can pick up any unusual behavior, and that’s why you need to make them feel at ease. The best you can do is to give them an element of authority in the space so that they don’t feel intimidated and overwhelmed.
Make your dog feel safe
Encouraging your dog to explore the grooming equipment for themselves will help make them feel safe and overcome the fear of the unknown. Each time they try a new experience, they need to overcome that fear, just like us humans.
Create a familiar environment for them
Nobody is instantly comfortable with new experiences. Therefore, dogs are not immediately comfortable when they see new items – in this case, the grooming equipment. If you want the grooming experience to be easy and enjoyable for them, you should opt to create a familiar environment.
Go easy, step by step
Dogs need to feel like they have control of a new experience. So, let them sniff the grooming table and walk a few steps on it before getting treatment. Also, let them sniff and touch the equipment and tools for the grooming session, and if possible, try it out beforehand so they can hear the new sounds and memorize them.
It won’t come as an unpleasant surprise if the dog is already familiar with the grooming table and equipment. For the first few grooming sessions, try to go step by step at their own pace and follow their lead.
Some dogs just feel particularly nervous around grooming equipment. If you assume your dog won’t deal well with the whole experience, make sure you reward them for good behavior. Positive reinforcement works wonders for dogs.
Treats and praises are crucial
Food treats are known to encourage the continuation of good and obedient behavior in many situations, and grooming is no exception. So, make sure you have treats or some funny toys to reward them when they slowly start allowing you to groom them.
When your dog stands or sits still, allowing you to work around them, remember to reward them with verbal praise. The critical step of this process is when your dog begins to make the connection between remaining calm during grooming with rewards and praises. Your dog will be able to conclude that there is actually nothing to worry about the grooming experience.
Try with soothing and familiar sounds
To keep your dog calm while getting groomed, you should know all tried and true methods. If your dog is nervous, try introducing familiar music and relaxing sounds to them. That can be music that they hear often or a familiar noise. Something recognizable can help detach your dog from what’s happening.
Many scientific studies have proved the calming effects of soothing music played for animals in stressful situations. Classical music decreases stress and anxiety in pets, so your dog can also benefit from it. Some grooming facilities already use this technique, or they will ask for a suggestion on the kind of music your dog likes.
Respect your dog
An extended grooming process can become a bit too much for your dog, even if they were calm at the beginning. If you notice that they are getting very nervous and angry, and losing patience, have respect for them and back off for a while.
Take a break and stop when needed
To avoid various dog grooming issues, introduce the grooming process gradually with frequent breaks. Taking a break when necessary and allowing them to calm down, process what’s happening, and take a few breaths is vital. That’s how you gain trust from your beloved dog.
They will have more confidence in you if they see that you are ready to stop when they’re not comfortable. You should already know your dogs enough to notice when they’re under a lot of stress and if something becomes too much for them. It’s probably time to stop as soon as you see any of these behaviors:
- Avoiding staying still
- Pulling away
- Lashing out
- Trying to escape
Don’t force the grooming process after any of these behavioral patterns because that’s very likely to cause injury, further frustration, and deeper fear. Your dog’s aggression, as well as excessive shaking, panting, whining, crying, lip-licking, and urinating, are all clear signals that the process should stop. Learn to read these signals and respect the dog’s wishes if you want a grooming experience to be successful.
Avoid grooming sessions when your dog is anxious
If you follow all of these tips and tricks to keep your dog calm while getting groomed, each grooming session can be one smooth and joyful experience. However, if you have any major transitions in your family and your home, anything that can affect your dog and cause them to feel anxious, postpone the grooming appointment until they feel better.
For example, moving with your dog is one such significant transition. If your dog just went through the stress of relocation, be patient and don’t cause them additional stress by taking them to a new groomer right away. Like people, dogs need time to adjust to a new place, and the fewer distractions they have, the easier adaption will be. If you keep your dog’s daily routine, give them enough time to adapt to a new home and let them explore a new neighborhood properly, after several days, you may notice that they’re ready for new experiences, such as visiting a local grooming salon.
The bottom line
If you learn how to keep your dog calm while getting groomed, you can be sure that they will be content throughout the process. They will feel reassured, and the final result will be flawless and stunning. Your furry friend will look (and hopefully feel as well) simply irresistible!