Avoid Dog's Anxiety: How to Calm Dog For Grooming

keeping dog calm during grooming, how to calm dog for professional grooming

Dog Grooming Anxiety is no joke. The grooming environment is typically ripe with things dogs don't like including loud noises, dogs' ears being touched, nail clippers, strange people, etc. Below are some tips on how to proactively reduce a dog's anxiety and calm an anxious dog during grooming sessions. Making your visits a positive experience for the dog and pet parent is key to building loyal clients.

1. All Pets to Explore the Area First 

    Allowing dogs and cats to smell and familiarize themselves with their area, grooming equipment, the grooming table, etc. is always an important first step prior to any interaction with the animals. 

    Get the clippers, brush, and other equipment out, and let them sniff and smell it all. If you don’t allow pets to exercise their curiosity, they will become anxious. Let them sniff everything before you start and while you’re grooming, where possible.

    how to keep dog calm during grooming, dog exploring, dog sniffing.jpg

    Some groomers like to use “desensitizing” techniques for really anxious dogs. For pet grooming, this can involve running clippers or a blow dryer next to the pet in short blocks of time and rewarding them with a high-value treat afterwards.

    Finally, talk to the dog owners. Encourage dog owners to make brushing and bathing their pet a part of their at-home weekly routines. This will get pets more comfortable and familiar with the sounds and feel of the grooming process. 

    2. Organize Your Area Beforehand

      It is always a good idea to have your area prepped for each individual dog groom. Make sure you have all your supplies and dog grooming tools ready so you are able to groom quickly and efficiently. Get comfortable with dog haircuts and the breed style of your appointment schedule. 

      professional dog grooming, how to keep dog calm during grooming

      Make sure you have an idea of what your day will look like.  When you are confident and prepared it relaxes the dog. Also older dogs and a rescue dog tend to be more anxious to begin with so be sensitiveto where these dogs may be in your calendar.

      3. Instant Dog Calm: Give Dog Treats Often

        Use high value dog treats at each stage of the groom. Ask the pet parents what their dog's favorites are. Reward the dog often. Especially after the bathing and drying processes which get most dogs anxious or upset. 

        treating dog while grooming, dog treats, how to calm the dog while grooming

        Also petting the dog or cat, giving hugs and kisses always help a dog feel loved, comfortable and the dog calm.  It is ok to show your furry clients affection. In fact, it is highly recommended!  Let the dogs lick and smell you too! 

        4. Keep the Area Calm = Dogs Calm

          Grooming anxiety is very common. Dog grooming does not have to be chaotic. Try and keep pet owners' appointments sufficiently staggered so the dogs do not get overly excited by other dogs barking or whining.  This is also distracting for you.  

          Keep the area calm and tune out loud noises with music therapy, classical music and/or sound machines work well to relax the dog. Keep your voice calm and reassuring. Some professional groomers use calming techniques like massaging the dog prior to bathing, letting the dog explore the area, petting combined with reassuring words to the dog like "good boy/girl" can really help a dog overcome anxiety during the grooming session.

          soothing dog while grooming, how to calm the dog while grooming

          Do not be apologetic.  Instead, use positive reinforcement and always be enthusiastic. Dogs are very sensitive to your energy and grooming anxiety is a real issue. Make sure you are not feeling anxious. You need to take breaks and get some fresh air as often as possible.

          Groomers should have gentle restraints on hand for more aggressive dogs. A loop or a soft muzzle will not hurt the dog at all, but can keep things calmer and safer for everyone.  Remember to inform the pet parents prior to using these.

          5. Anxious Dog? Take Breaks

            As a professional groomer, you need to be in tune with your furry friend  Excessive shaking, crying or barking means the dog may be experiencing pain and you should stop and let the dog move around or go to the bathroom. Try and prevent this by proactively taking breaks, giving the dog a treat, letting them move about especially for longer grooms.  

            playing with dog while grooming, how to calm dog

            Having dog nails clipped and paws held for too long can make dogs really upset. Try and move as quickly and decisively during the process and take breaks between a dog's front and back ends. Older dogs especially will require more time and breaks to create positive associations with the grooming process.

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            PRIDE+GROOM is a female and minority owned all-natural pet grooming company born and bred in New York City.  We designed our coat-specific dog shampoos with a light, fresh signature scent that says goodbye to the overwhelming fragrances currently in the dog grooming market. Our packaging and branding humanizes our pet products making them attractive and user friendly.

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