It’s no secret that most dogs don’t enjoy going to the groomer. All the new smells, the scary sounds, and their sensitivity to water or to being touched can make the experience overwhelming.
As the person your dog trusts most, it’s your responsibility to reduce grooming stress.
Help your dog understand there’s no reason to fear the groomer by helping him make happy connections with going at the groomer and reduce his fear of the dryer and other grooming tools.
Use these tips to reduce grooming stress:
Make going to the groomer fun
Make a trip to the groomer fun for your dog. Keep your voice upbeat and happy when you say, “Let’s go the groomer.” Then give him his favorite treat.
When you pick your dog up after his grooming visit, again give him his favorite treat and say, “Who’s been a good boy?”
Dogs understand more than we think, so be confident when you take your dog to the groomer. Don’t worry that he will be nervous. Be calm and confident and trust your dog to follow your lead.
Dogs can sense our emotions. Most of the time, if you don’t understand your dog’s behavior, take a look at what you are doing or saying. So, exude happiness and confidence about going to the groomer. Talk to your dog about how handsome he will look after a bath.
When you bring your dog home, be sure to give him lots of attention and affection. Getting extra belly rubs is a great way to reinforce the benefits of a bath and nail trim.
Don’t encourage his anxiety
Many dog owners mistakenly comfort their dogs when they appear nervous. They will talk to the dog in a baby voice, hug them and tell the dog everything will be fine.
Rather than soothe the dog, however, doing that just convinces the dog he is right to be afraid.
Ignore the fact that he seems nervous (sometimes the shaking and sad face are really just an act for you and that behavior stops as soon as you leave). Instead, keep the handoff to the groomer as brief as possible. Tell your dog to be a good boy and that you’ll see him soon.
Then walk out the door. Be confident and calm while you’re handing your dog to the groomer. If your dog sees you’re not nervous, he’s less likely to be fearful.
We all have a hair dryer at home and most probably a clipper too. Therefore, you have all you need to make your dog feel more comfortable with the sounds and help him understand that the noise and that it’s not scary.
First of all, you start in a good place because he loves and trusts you.
Be relaxed and calm. Pet your dog and let him sniff the hair dryer and clipper.
It’s all about creating the ideal atmosphere for your dog to feel safe. While he’s sniffing the clipper and dryer, give him treats and talk about how the tools will make him clean and handsome. Again, your dog understands more than you think.
Turn on the tools and let him get used to the sounds. Again, stay calm and reward your dog for staying relaxed with a few treats.
Soothe your dog
Some dogs get scared or stressed easier than others so you might have to do more to reduce your dog’s anxiety.
Using scents like lavender can help soothe your dog.
You also could consider giving your dog a treat like Zesty Paws Calming Bites. The chewy treats use natural ingredients including Suntheanine, organic hemp, chamomile, valerian root, and L-Tryptophan to relax your dog without drugging him.
Take steps to reduce grooming stress. The best thing you can do for your dog is to remain calm and confident. Your dog trusts you and if you show you trust the groomer, your dog will too.
Reward your dog for good behavior at the groomer. Treats, extra attention and lots of praise will help reinforce the message that going to the groomer is a good thing.
Sharon Hooper is a marketing specialist and blogger from Manchester, UK. When she has a minute, she loves to share a few of her thoughts about marketing, writing, and blogging. She works as a marketer at UK Essay On Time. Follow Sharon on Facebook.
*DogsBestLife.com participates in the Chewy Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to let our site earn fees by linking to Chewy.com.