Training Your Pet to Be Comfortable With Grooming and Handling
Grooming and handling are an important part of every pet’s life. Proper grooming can empower them to feel their best in any season, and it ensures that their skin and coat can be well-maintained and healthy.
A grooming routine should always center around optimizing and maintaining your dog’s health, so make sure to learn how to identify and prioritize the cut (and groomer) to help your dog feel their best. Not to mention: it can also help you show off just how cute your furry friend really is!
Grooming can be a different experience depending on the dog, as well as factors like the groomer you select and the environment of their shop. Keep in mind that every pup is going to feel at least a little nervous the first time they head to the groomer.
If your dog is a particularly anxious pup, it may continue to struggle with anxiety each time they need to get groomed, which can make the whole experience less than pleasurable for everyone involved.
So whether you’re trying to get your puppy ready for their first appointment, or help an adult dog learn how to self-soothe, read on to learn how to calm a dog when grooming.
Learn How to Calm a Dog When Grooming
Depending on the dog, grooming can be a source of stress and consternation within their routine. On top of actual grooming appointments, sometimes even just giving your dog a bath can feel like an upward battle!
Luckily, with some practice (and patience), you can easily help your pup learn how to stay cool, calm, and collected when it comes to grooming appointments.
Preparation Is Key
A grooming appointment can be nerve-wracking for your pup, but properly preparing them before their appointment can make the entire experience much more pleasant.
When it comes to grooming appointments, start off slow by teaching your pup basic commands like sit and stay. These will help them remain still and relaxed during their appointment.
At home, try building up the amount of time your dog is willing to sit patiently — with a tasty reward at the end!
If possible, take a few practice visits to the salon with your pup before their actual grooming appointment until they become more familiar with the environment. Help them remain calm without giving them too much attention and doting.
When they are able to remain calm, reward them with some of their kibble or a broken-up treat throughout the visit. This will help them accept grooming more easily in the future!
Take walks around the salon
If you live close enough, taking walks to and around the salon can help get them used to the place. Make sure not to go too fast, as this might make them even more anxious.
Instead, try going at a slow pace and take time to stop occasionally so they can take in all of the sights and smells around them.
Keep a positive attitude
Your dog knows when you are nervous. It’s essential to bring good energy with you if you want to calm down your pup.
Remember that every pet tends to feed off our energy, so try to assure them that everything will be ok (without over-assuring), and make sure to reward them for good behavior with treats or compliments.
This way, they’ll associate having their fur groomed with positive experiences instead of any feelings of fear or anxiety.
How Can I Calm an Anxious Dog Down Before a Grooming Appointment?
If your dog is anxious or stressed before a visit to the groomer, you might need to find ways to help them relax a bit. Establishing a routine before each grooming appointment can be very helpful when it comes to calming down an anxious dog.
For instance, if time provides, try to develop an exercise routine for your dog before an appointment. Physical activity might help to drain a dog’s excess energy and reduce stress before grooming.
Do keep in mind, however, that some dogs may still feel energetic after exercise. For these particularly feisty puppers, be sure to sneak some cooldown activities in before arriving at the groomer’s.
Remember that love and reassurance go a long way toward keeping dogs calm, so this extra quality time spent calming your pup can also help create a positive association with the groomer.
One final reminder: try your best to use a lot of positive reinforcement when you take your pup for grooming. When they come back out from the salon, reward them with a big hug and one of their favorite treats, so they can learn to see the trip as a fun, treat-laden activity.
How Can I Get My Dog Used to Grooming at Home?
Dogs usually need new activities repeated multiple times before they get comfortable. If you want your pup to get used to regular brushing, nail clipping, and tooth brushing at home, the key is to start slowly and build up their comfort with each grooming task over time.
- Brushing: You need to make sure your dog is comfortable with being brushed because this will be a core part of their time at the salon.
At home, start by praising your pup when they look at the brush, then move on to gently running the brush over them with a little pressure. Over time, increase the intensity of the brush strokes as well as the length of time you spend brushing them.
- Nail Clipping: Trimming your dog’s nails can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Start by handling your pup’s paw often so they become more familiar with you doing so.
Then, introduce them to a nail clipper specifically designed for dogs and pay attention to their comfort level as you clip each nail. If you notice them flinch, make sure to pause and take a second to reassure them before starting back up again.
In the end, always make sure you have treats on hand!
- Tooth Brushing: Teaching your pup how to be comfortable with tooth brushing doesn’t have to be a chore. Start by introducing small amounts of toothpaste flavored specifically for dogs onto their teeth and let them lick it off if they feel like it.
Once your pet is used to the taste of toothpaste, try massaging their gums while they’re getting used to having a toothbrush in their mouths. Eventually, you can introduce an actual dog-formulated toothbrush into the equation and start brushing!
Remember, every pet is different — take it slow and make sure that you reward good behavior whenever possible. With patience and consistency, grooming at home will become an enjoyable activity in no time.
What Should I Look For in a Dog Groomer?
Grooming can be a stressful experience for anxious dogs, so finding the right groomer is a huge priority task. This is made even more complex by the fact that every dog behaves differently with different people, making it hard to predict what a nervous dog might do.
So what should you look for in a groomer? Look for someone who:
- Acknowledges your pup’s anxiety and is prepared to work with them through it.
- Has top-notch customer service skills and gets to know both you and your pup well.
- Is patient with your dog throughout the entire process, no matter what happens.
- Is knowledgeable about grooming techniques that work well with anxious pups, such as the use of calming music or treats during the experience.
- Is able to customize services based on your pup’s needs, such as shorter sessions or extra breaks throughout the process if need be.
By investing in a quality groomer who understands anxious dogs, you can provide your pup with a safer, more comfortable grooming experience that will benefit their mental health in the long run.
Need a Little More Help Calming Down Your Pup? Contact the Experts at Greenlin Pet Resorts Today
Greenlin Pet Resorts offers dog bathing services when your pup joins us for any occasion, and our skilled team of bathers is trained to handle all types of dog personalities, including hyperactive and anxious canines.
The team at Greenlin Pet Resorts has solutions for every dog, with custom programs built for everyone, from puppies to older hounds.
Our customizable dog training solutions can set a goal of reducing your dog’s anxiety around strangers and improving its ability to sit still during potentially uncomfortable situations.
We also offer fun, energetic courses like ‘Play and Train’ or longer term ‘Lodge and Learn’ classes, where your dog can learn to master their anxiety by self-soothing.
We also offer full pet boarding and doggy daycare for working parents, where your pup will be able to meet other dogs in a clean, safe environment. Our team can also help your dog work on any skills you’ve started teaching them, helping reinforce good habits and strong routines.
So if you’ve been trying to find a way to help your dog manage their day-to-day anxiety so they can enjoy grooming and handling more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Greenlin Pet Resorts.
Find a location near you when you contact us online, or call us at (717) 904-3539. We have six locations in the Harrisburg area, all ready to work with your pup!