Whether you’re a professional groomer or someone who prefers to groom your dog at home, it’s helpful to learn some tips and tricks to keep your dog calm during grooming. Some dogs don’t mind grooming and can actually learn to enjoy the process. Others get nervous around the tools and equipment which can actually be dangerous for you and your dog. If you take it slowly and introduce your dog to grooming in a relaxed way, it can make the entire grooming session easier for you and your pup.
Gather the essentials
One of the best ways to keep your dog calm during grooming is to be confident in your tools and your abilities. Dogs are great at picking up on our emotions, so if you feel nervous about grooming, your dog will feel that way too. Different dog coat types and lengths need different tools. It’s helpful to do some research on which tools will work best for your dog. Familiarize yourself with your grooming tools and equipment so you feel prepared to use them safely.
Consider the specific needs of your dog, if for example it’s got thick fur make sure you’ve invested in a pair of clippers designed for thicker coats.
Familiarize your dog with the equipment
You may also want to let your dog sniff the tools you plan to use so they feel more comfortable. If you have a particularly nervous dog, it’s helpful to turn the electric trimmers and clippers on and off a few times while your dog is around so they get comfortable with the noise before you actually use the tools for grooming. You might find that a cordless set of clippers is well suited to you if your dog is likely to be uncomfortable (or mischievous) when it comes to cables.
Praise and reward using treats
Sometimes all your dog needs is a little encouragement. This can be through praise and reassurance or through treats to let them know they’re doing well. Some people who groom their dogs at home keep a special treat that’s just used during grooming time. This helps your dog have a positive association as they will learn to expect those special treats.
Create a calming environment
Setting a calm environment for your grooming session is vital. There are several ways to prepare yourself and your area before grooming to help with keeping your dog calm. Have tools and equipment ready for use. Don’t forget towels, clippers, trimmers, brushes, combs, and any other tools you might need. Having to stop to grab a forgotten tool can decrease your efficiency and make your dog anxious. Be prepared to take several breaks if needed in case your dog reacts negatively. Work in a well-lit area with plenty of space for you to move around.
Professional groomers sometimes use calming music to help dogs relax. Natural supplements designed to help calm your dog can also be useful in certain circumstances. If you have a dog who is particularly nervous with grooming, ask your vet about recommendations for a supplement that could help.
Some even find that their dogs respond well to calming music, judging from the comments on the video below it seems to work for plenty of people!
Don’t be afraid to use professionals
Professional grooming services are always a good option for dog owners who don’t feel comfortable with grooming in their homes. Some groomers have mobile services and can even come to your home for grooming. Treats are an essential item to keep close at hand during grooming.
Depending on your dog and their comfort level with grooming, you may be able to do the trimming, bathing, nail clipping, and other grooming tasks all at once. Other dogs do better when you spread out the grooming over a couple of days. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a good option for professional groomers who need to be efficient with their time. But as a professional, you will likely learn many tricks from hands-on experience. Plus, when you work with the same dogs frequently, they come to know you and will be comfortable with you. As a professional groomer, it’s always helpful to do a calm introduction with each new dog, and include treats to reinforce that positive association.
If you’re new to grooming it’s essential to be cautious when using tools. Be very careful with nail clippers. A dog who has their nails cut to the quick will always remember that and will have negative associations with grooming tools. Some dogs may do better with a nail grinder but these should also be used carefully. Many trimmers include a guard to help protect your dog’s skin and allow you to cut the hair evenly. In case of an accident with the clippers or trimming tools, you should always have your phone handy ready to call your vet. Remain calm if you do have an accident during grooming. Your dog will be much more likely to stay calm if you are. Many grooming accidents are minor and can be treated at home but it’s vital you get advice from your veterinarian on the next steps.
Grooming your dog at home can save time and money. But some pet owners don’t feel comfortable with grooming which is why professional groomers work well for many people. If you do decide to groom your dog, or you’re learning to groom dogs professionally, it’s helpful to know some tips and tricks to keep the dog calm. Be prepared with the right equipment and a calm attitude to make the process go smoothly. By creating a calm environment, you can groom successfully. Understanding that the grooming experience will vary with each dog can ensure that you’re prepared.