How to Help Your Dog Get Over Grooming Anxiety

February 26, 2020 7:28 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s not at all unusual for some dogs to be very anxious when they go to the groomer. Grooming anxiety is a very real thing in dogs, and can manifest itself in a wide variety of ways, from simple panting or salivating to trembling, wining, barking and even becoming ill. Whether or not a dog will suffer from grooming anxiety is nearly impossible to predict—even dogs that have been well socialized might have a difficult time at the groomer.

The good news is that there are some steps you can take to cut down on your dog’s grooming anxiety in Henderson, NV. Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure the dog is okay with being handled: One of the most common causes of grooming anxiety is a fear or discomfort associated with being handled in particularly sensitive areas, including the ears, muzzle, paws, tail and rear. You can train your dog to stay relaxed with different kinds of touching, even in those sensitive spots, which will make them more likely to stay relaxed when at the groomer. One strategy is to pair a word with a soft, gentle touch at that area, such as “ears,” then give the dog a treat while or immediately after petting that area. This will help the dog build positive associations with being handled in those areas.
  • Make the trip a special occasion: You can build up other positive associations with the trip to the groomer. You can perform some treat training in the lobby or the parking lot, or take the dog for a walk in the area. Pair some sort of activity your dog likes with the trip. Make sure to bring along plenty of treats so that every time the dog complies with the instructions the groomer provides or allows the groomer to handle them, you can properly reward the pet for its obedience.
  • Adjust the experience as needed: You might need to get creative with how you tailor the grooming experience for your pet. If, for example, you know your dog gets frightened by being lifted on to the grooming table, you might consider using a ramp to allow the dog to get up there on its own. If the dog gets frightened by running water being sprinkled over its head, you might instead use damp cloths or special facial wipes. You might try playing with the temperature of the water, or using anti-slip mats so the dog doesn’t skid around on a slippery surface. Pay attention to the dog’s behavior, and if you can tell certain aspects of grooming make it uncomfortable, find ways to adjust.

There will be some people who might suggest using a muzzle, but this is a strategy that should only be implemented if your dog has already been trained with muzzling. Otherwise, the dog is likely to become even more anxious when visiting the groomer.

For more information about dog anxiety and keeping your dog comfortable with grooming in Henderson, NV, contact the team at The Soggy Dog today.

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