Dog anxiety and grooming
Some dogs struggle during grooming and can exhibit anxious behaviours. Often people consider these dogs as misbehaving, but they are just struggling to handle something difficult or different. With patience and taking on board some of the advice below, we hope to improve the grooming experience for both the dog and the groomer.
- Start grooming young - This is key to preventing anxious dogs on the grooming table. By advertising puppy specific packages you can encourage new pet owners to bring their puppies in. This will mean grooming is part of the dog’s routine from a young age and will help them get use to the salon sounds, smells, and experience.
- Shorter more Regular Appointments. Ask your client to consider bring their pet in for more regular grooming appointments. With less regrowth you will hopefully be able to complete the groom quicker so the anxious dog will spend less time in the salon.
- Limit the time anxious dogs are in cages surrounded by other dogs – Schedule appointments for nervous dogs for first thing in the morning when you know they won’t have to wait around while other dogs are finished.
- Consider adding additional time and a handling fee to the booking if the dog’s behaviour is increasing the time taken to complete the groom. Not only will prevent disruptions to your appointment schedule, but it will also allow you to take the necessary time required to ensure the dog is calm.
- Consider a calming supplement – The is natural and completely safe for your pet. The products contain lemon-balm, L-Theanine, b vitamins and fish protein. This is a supplement - not a sedative. It can take 3-6 weeks to get the full effect of YuCalm so you can suggest this option to the pet owner ahead of their appointment. Or alternatively, works more immediately (6-8 hours). These tasty highly digestible tablets are formulated with natural ingredients and will help the dog to remain calm during periods of stress and anxiety, without having a sedative effect.
- Table and bath matts - Ensuring the table and bath are non-slip will make the dog feel stable with more secure footing. The Groom Professional NBD Table Matting has a diamond like pattern to help with the pet’s grip, but hair can be easily brushed off.
- Use Calming scents - The scent of has been shown to have a positive effect on anxiety in both humans and pets. Having lavender scented shampoos and sprays in your salon can be a great way to calm nervous dogs. can help naturally relax and provide anxiety relief for dogs. This spray is crafted from the finest aromatherapy oils of Lavender, Sweet Orange, Vetiver and Clary Sage which can create instant calm and tranquillity. Spray directly on dogs coats or onto kennel or bedding.
- Using Restraining Products
- A Muzzle – this can prevent anxious dogs from being aggressive and biting. If you intend to use a muzzle in the salon you can encourage your clients to do some muzzle training at home.
- Noose - Using a noose will limit the dog’s movement on the table. This will help you complete the groom quicker and limit the time the dog is on the grooming table and away from its owner.
- Reduce the noise levels – this can be a big trigger for dogs in the salon.
- Consider using dryers that are less noisy. The allows complete control with variable power and air temperature. It supports the latest high-density ionic generator to condition hair and eliminates harmful static and in addition, has a maximum noise of only 75dB.
- Some dogs become anxious due to the noise and force of high-velocity dryers and blasters in the salon. The muffles the noise and helps keep the pet calm. The material also helps soak up moisture from face and ears.
- Where a dog does have to wait, keep anxious dogs away from other dogs. You could have a Rogz Yumz toy in the crate (with the owner’s permission) or some noise from the radio or TV to distract from the other animals around
- Take a break – Sometimes if you are struggling and they are struggling it helps to take a break and try again after 10 or 15 minutes.
- Stay Calm - Remember, these dog’s aren’t just misbehaving. If you can stay calm you are more likely to coerce them into doing as you wish and not heighten the situation any further.
- Encourage your customers to do some simple grooming techniques at home so anxious dogs are accustomed to certain tools. Simply brushing and clipping nails in between grooms will not only help with anxiety but will also ensure your dog has less matts and tangles.
- Training – Dog trainers can help dogs to overcome the fear or anxiety they associate with grooming. Work alongside a local trainer to offer ‘salon training’ for anxious dogs. Owners may be keen to do this to avoid paying regular ‘handling fees’ for their appointments.