How to Keep a Dog Calm While Grooming

how to keep a dog calm whilst grooming them

Many owners want to keep their dogs looking smart and presentable, as well as trimming their coats to ensure that they’re cool enough. But sometimes it can all become a bit too much when they’re not used to the process. Making sure that your dog or client is comfortable with grooming is imperative when it comes to getting a safe and accurate cut, as well as keeping them calm throughout. Grooming can often entail different and strange noises that your dog may not be familiar with, particularly if this is their first time at the salon. Speak to them whilst you’re prepping, ensure that they’re comforted and are made aware that they’re in safe hands.

Making sure that your pooch is comfortable in its surroundings is an imperative part of creating an effective and productive grooming session. If you want the finished result to be as flawless and stunning as possible, you need to make sure that the dog’s needs and requirements are at the core of the grooming process.

This blog aims to guide you through how to keep your dog calm while grooming in order to minimise discomfort for both you and your customer. Sometimes, dogs can become stubborn and refuse to do as you’d like them, and this can become problematic when you’ve got a queue of customers waiting to be groomed. However, ensuring that your dog is kept calm, content and reassured will reduce the chances of such issues. 

Make them feel safe about the equipment

Making sure that your pet or client feels safe in your hands is the ultimate issue that needs to be resolved before you can build a rapport and trust. The grooming salon can be stressful and worrying for dogs, especially if they haven’t been before, and making them feel at ease is imperative to keep them calm. If you’re expecting a particular dog to be a problematic client, don’t let on. Act as though it’s business as usual so that your dog doesn’t pick up on unusual behaviour. Give them an element of authority in the space and encourage them to explore the equipment for themselves.

Getting your dog familiar with the equipment

Even for humans, fear of the unknown can really put people off trying new experiences. So why should we expect our animals to be instantly comfortable with new equipment and experiences? To make grooming easy and enjoyable, you must create a familiar environment in which the dog feels they have control in too. Let them sniff the equipment you’re planning on using and try it out beforehand so that it doesn’t come as an unwelcome surprise. If it is their first few times in the salon, take it at their pace and follow their lead– after all, the customer is always right! Give them an element of authority in the space so that they don’t feel intimidated and overwhelmed.

Rewards and praise are essential

Yorkshire Terrier with treat

Use treats

If you have a dog that is particularly nervous around grooming equipment or doesn’t deal well with the whole experience, treats can be an ideal way to reward them for allowing you to groom them. When they stand or sit still and allow you to manoeuvre them as you need, reward them with verbal praise and a stroke. This way, your dog will begin to make the connection between remaining calm during grooming with rewards. For those dogs who are really of a nervous disposition, ask the owner’s permission to give them food treats to encourage the continuation of good and obedient behaviour. Eventually, grooming will become much less of an ordeal for your four-legged friend and they’ll reach the conclusion that there is actually nothing to worry about.

Take a break 

It can all become a bit too much during the grooming process – if this happens, make sure that you respect your dog and back off for a while. This is important when it comes to gaining trust from your pampered pooch, they can rest assured that you will stop when they’re not comfortable. Of course, we understand that this isn’t going to be maintainable for every dog that walks through the salon doors, however, if you introduce the process gradually you will find that breaks become less frequent and eventually won’t be needed.

Stop when it becomes too much

dog relaxing

Alongside taking breaks, it is important to acknowledge when it has all got a little too much for your dog. If the dog you are grooming begins to pull away or won’t stay still and becomes evidently distressed, it’s time to know when to stop. Continuing to force the grooming process upon your clients or pet can cause further frustration and fright and has the potential to undo all of the work you’ve put into helping them stay calm throughout grooming.

Relaxing Music/ Familiar sounds 

If you have nervous or unsettled dogs visiting your salon, ask their owners for something familiar to help calm them. Whether that’s music that they hear at home or a noise that they’re used to, this can be an extremely helpful addition to the grooming process to ensure that your client has something recognisable to detach themselves from what’s happening. 

Walk to the salon

Some dogs find travelling in the car a traumatic and uncomfortable experience. From nerves to travel sickness, it isn’t always the best start and can often throw you and your pet off tracks for the rest of your plans for the day. If the grooming salon is within walking distance of your home, why not try walking there to minimise disruption? It’ll give your pooch a stretch of their legs and potentially tire them out slightly before grooming so your customer doesn’t have a load of pent up energy that they’re going to expel while you’re trying to groom! Of course, this isn’t always plausible so why not encourage your customers, or if you’re taking your dog, to allow for some time for a little play in the waiting room. It’s a great way to keep your dog’s mind off what is to come.Here at Groomers, we stock an extensive selection of stress management products so that you always have something to hand to help defuse stressful situations, whether it is calming sprays or heated pet pads,  there is something to encourage your visitors to remain calm and enjoy the experience.

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