When you first consider grooming your own dog at home, you might envision them standing on the grooming table, perfectly still and waiting for you to bathe them, brush them and clip them. The unfortunate reality for many pet owners, however, is quite different. They may end up with a dog that is not only unruly, they could be quite anxious over the whole situation.
Even if your dog does have some anxiety while they are on the grooming table, that doesn’t stop the fact that they need to be groomed on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce a dog’s anxiety and help to limit this problem to the greatest extent possible.
Training – One of the best things that you can do to relieve your dog’s anxiety is to have an ongoing process of obedience training. This should go beyond the basic commands of sit, down or stay. You should also teach your dog how to stand and to hold that position on command. It can go a long way in helping the grooming process to go smoothly.
Handling – Along with the proper training, you should also handle the dog on a regular basis. Try to do so when they are in a comfortable and relaxed area. Rather than just patting them on the back or scratching behind their ears, try to touch the more sensitive areas, such as near the eyes or ears, the tail, paws and muzzle. Start slowly and eventually increase the amount you are handling those areas until they are comfortable. They will then be less sensitive on the grooming table.
Stressful Rides – If you take your dog to a professional groomer, they may have some difficulties when you arrive as well. In one of the things that you can do to reduce the stress while they are on the grooming table is to reduce the stress while they are on their way to the groomer. Make the car ride comfortable and if they suffer from motion sickness, try to alleviate the problem.
Muzzle – When the issue goes from mild anxiety to occasional aggression, you need to consider the safety of the dog as well as the groomer. A muzzle may be the best choice in this regard, along with some gentle restraint to keep them in position. Make sure that the muzzle fits properly and you will find that it works well for everyone involved.
Happy Place – One other option is to make the groomer, regardless of whether it is at home or at a shop, the happiest place for the dog. Provide them with treats, plenty of reassurance and a calm voice while they are there. It can go a long way in helping them to be comfortable with the process.