Dog grooming can be a traumatic experience for the dog if not carefully handled. It is confusing to be held lovingly by a good dog groomer at one moment, then exposed to machines the next moment. The whole scenario may look dangerous to the canine forcing it to overreact as a defense mechanism. Understanding how to handle your dog’s grooming can save it from the anxiety that comes with the process. Remember, the dog is not overreacting but protecting itself since the processes may be uncomfortable. Below we explore some of the ways to keep a dog calm while grooming.
Make The Grooming Process As Normal As Possible
To avoid anxiety, make the grooming experience look normal, including extending it to several days. Brushing can be a day-to-day activity. Keep the brushes in a place the dog can easily see them, so they no longer look strange and scary. With time it will get used to the process. Expose other items used in the grooming process, such as clippers, in advance to reduce anxiety. You don’t have to groom your dog in one day. You can extend that over a period of time such that in one day you brush, the next day you trim the long nails, then bathe it the next day. This ensures the dog is not overwhelmed while at the same time these processes become more of a routine and less scary.
Use A Professional Groomer
A professional groomer is already trained on how to handle a dog while grooming. While in the groomer’s hands, they already know what’s best for the dog; hence the experience will be less stressful. For instance, professional groomers suggest giving the dog some cookies to help with anxiety and ensuring it pees before the appointment.
Invite The Dog Groomer To Your Home
If possible, let the professional groom your dog in a familiar environment, as this reduces anxiety. A home environment is the most ideal. By this time, you have exposed it to most grooming tools; hence they won’t feel threatened.
Avoid Noisy Tools
Noisy tools such as clippers and hair dryers make the grooming process more stressful. If possible, find alternatives. For instance, replace the hair drier with sun drying or let the dog stay near a room heater until it dries after towel drying to drain excess water.
Keep The Dog Calm During The Process
The best time to groom a dog is after exercise or after a walk since it’s most likely to keep calm. You can play calming music to soothe it, especially one it’s familiar with. You can also give it some calming treats such as cookies. If you sense unease, let it have regular breaks, then come back and continue from where you stopped. However, if the dog is tugging away and constantly uneasy even with the treats, stop and continue later.
Stay Near The Dog At The Grooming Salon
Some dogs find car rides very stressful, and this causes them to suffer car anxiety. Taking it to a groomer means double the anxiety. Do not leave the dog with the groomer and go for errands. You need to stay there as a reassurance that nothing sinister is going on, as this is what causes anxiety and sometimes aggression.
Anti-Anxiety Medication Or Sedation
As a last resort, you may decide to use anti-anxiety medication sold over the counter or sedate your dog. This depends on the condition, where a lot of work needs to go into the grooming process or when the anxiety levels are very high. This means visiting a vet for the medication or sedation. You may also use tranquilizers usually meant for use during thunderstorms and fireworks to calm the dog. Since the effects mostly last over six hours, you will have most likely finished the grooming process.
Whichever method you decide to use to calm your dog, always ensure you don’t lose the close relationship. Try and do whatever you can to ensure your pet is reassured and does not feel endangered around you.