How to Groom a Nervous Dog


Nervous dogs are something that professional groomers encounter on a regular, perhaps even daily basis. Caused by a variety of things, nervous behaviour can occur because of age, illness, temperament, breed profile, an inherited trait, or perhaps from a previous negative grooming experience. Prepare yourself for a nervous dog by considering the following pointers:

Warning Signs

Exhibited through one (or more) of the following behaviours, anxiety in dogs manifests itself through:

  • Crouching, often with tail between its legs
  • Excessive panting
  • Shaking
  • Flattened ears
  • Urination and/or defecation
  • Withdrawal

What You Can Do

  • Complete a consultation with any new clients prior to grooming to determine whether the dog suffers from any nervous tendencies as early as possible
  • Speak in a gentle, positive tone, and consider offering treats as a reward for good behaviour
  • Groom steadily – do not rush the dog, but equally, ensure you do not unnecessarily prolong the experience
  • Do not force the dog into any situation he is clearly uncomfortable with
  • Consider investing in a restraining tool such as the Groomers Helper, which safely secures the dog in one position, removing the possibility for any negative behaviours
  • Give the dog a quiet space to calm down if he becomes particularly worked up mid-groom
  • Consider investing in some quiet running equipment, such as the Oster Pro600i Rechargeable Clipper
  • Try having some familiar background noise in your salon such as the TV or radio
  • Be patient, observing the dog’s behaviour as you work through the coat

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