Who does not love a fresh and clean grooming session? You are right, your dog. However beneficial it may otherwise be, dogs find grooming quite stressful. If a dog is too anxious about the process, it can get exhaustively uncomfortable for both – the pet and the parent. The feelings of nervousness and discomfort may either be caused by previous experiences or by unfamiliarity with the process. It is, thus, necessary to keep your dog calm during grooming sessions. The session can be much more effective if your pooch is in a cooperative and relaxed state.
Let’s quickly run through ways to keep your dog calm and comfortable during grooming sessions:
Baby Steps- The first step is to ensure your pooch feels safe in the groomer’s hands. A little rapport and trust can go a long way. The grooming salons or equipment used can also be stress-inducing, especially on their first visit. To put them at ease, you can give them a sense of control to avoid intimidating them. Let them sniff the grooming table, touch the equipment, hear the new sounds and get used to them. For the first few sessions, take small steps, allow them to find their rhythm and follow their lead.
Pre-grooming Prep- Make sure you relax your little pooch beforehand. Maybe take a walk to the salon instead of the usual car ride, give them a nice stretch of legs that will burn off some energy and probably tire them out. A little play at the house, outside or before the session will help keep their mind off of what is to come.
Familiarity with the Equipment- Anxiety is often induced due to unfamiliarity with the equipment used for grooming, be it the towels or brushes. To help your dog become more comfortable, introduce them to the tools that will be used during the process. You may start by placing the equipment in your dog’s area so it can grow used to it. Brushes and combs often act as triggers so you can pick a brush they are more comfortable with. Increasing familiarity with the tools gives them a hint of what to expect from the process.
Trick and Treat- When you cannot find a solution, you ‘treat’ your way out of it. Food treats reward good, obedient behaviour and encourage them to continue the same. Keep a few treats and toys handy to reward them as they slowly allow you to start grooming them. When they finally stay still, allowing you to work around them, treat them with words of affirmation. Your dog eventually learns to build a connection between remaining calm during grooming with treats and praises.
Take Breaks When Needed- Avoiding staying still, biting, mouthing, and lashing out are all signs you need to give them a short break from the session. Such behaviour may cause injury, and frustration and instil a deeper fear. Notice these signs and stop when your little friend is visibly under a lot of stress. Frequent breaks give them a window to breathe and process what is happening. Breaks would also help them feel calmer and trust you more.
Create a Safe Space- New experiences can be uncomfortable for humans and pets alike. Thus, it is necessary for your dog to feel safe and cared for in the grooming environment. You can create a cosy space surrounded by their favourite toys and let them ease into the presence of grooming equipment as well. This will help them slowly overcome the fear of the unknown.
Calming Music- Music or simply sounds your dog is familiar with, acts as a quick escape and distracts them from what is happening. Soothing sounds have been scientifically proven to help animals in stressful situations. Classical music decreases anxiety and stress and helps calm their nerves. Other sounds they are more familiar with can also help, as they would feel more homely to them.
Start Grooming Young- At their young tender age, dogs are too tempted by treats to care if they are being groomed. It is easier to teach them that grooming is a positive experience. Over time, they will also grow used to the equipment and trust you with the process. All grooming and no hustle!
Socialize the Dog Before Grooming- If you’re opting for a professional grooming service or taking your dog to the nearest grooming salon, it is important for him to know the groomer. A professional groomer should also spend a few minutes communicating and playing with the dog. This will help him get a gist of the dog’s personality. Socializing with a dog will even ensure that the dog trusts the groomer and his actions. The dog groomer can even familiarize the dog with the tools and their applications. So that the dog knows these tools are not meant to harm him.
To groom is to care. Grooming session gets easier when your dog is groomed in the comfort of your home. This will reduce the unfamiliarity factor and make him feel comfortable. You can opt for professional grooming services, our grooming experts groom your pet at the comfort of your home. You can book an appointment and our grooming experts will arrive on time with all the necessary equipments.