Calming a Dog for Grooming

My old dog has a difficult time going to the vet and groomer. She needs to be muzzled and even then has bit herself during grooming in distress. Besides getting tranquilizers from the vet, how else can I calm her down?

Chris from Michigan

December 19, 20050 found this helpful

Hire a trainer, quick! This is definitely a place to spend some money. Or get some good 'nonviolent' training info yourself and start working with her daily. Just a few minutes per day will help. Poor puppy is frantically afraid, that's really sad for your dog to experience this time after time. Regardless of when she developed this behaviour, you don't want to cement it! You'll need to acclimate her slowly, letting her know that only GOOD things come from grooming and going to the vet. Start slow, maybe with a non-slip pad on a low table (your coffee table?), having her get up and stand - then give her a treat fast. Or maybe, because she's old, just 'standing' on a mat on the floor is better. Then work on that for awhile until she can 'stand'. Then work on brushing her with just your hand. Brush, and treat. Brush, and treat. Then move up to a soft brush. Then a wire brush (gently). You can also work on her with allowing you to handle her feet, her ears, etc. that's easy to do when she's just relaxing with you. Praise good behaviour, and don't overdo it, let her set the pace. Don't say 'no' don't do that, just stop if she's acting up, and try again 5 minutes later. Try to only say 'good dog' and 'yes, that's right' as you train, you're trying to REWARD good behaviour and just stop and walk away if she gets anxious or tries to grab your hand, etc. That will help with nail-clipping and ear cleaning. You may need to do what we did with our puppy, go for short 'around the block a few times' rides, so he didn't think that all rides end at the vets. Talk to you vet too, our vet welcomes dogs in the waiting room for socialization. Bring treats, and everyone gets to give the dog a treat. Then go home, not everything at the vets is trouble! You may need to keep it to a very FEW minutes (like 3) at first, then work up to a few more minutes in the waiting room. Check out this website '', there's lots of great data on training there, and they have a newsletter too. Good luck, think of your puppy as a little child, restrained, frightened, unable to get away, just frantic - and you'll take or make the time to help train her yourself (or hire someone to do it). You're looking at a long life with your puppy, so make us all feel better by committing to working with her! Good luck - all the best, Anne

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December 19, 20050 found this helpful

Have you considered doing her grooming yourself? We have a pomeranian and we do all her grooming and cutting ourselves. Besides saving money, I think it's easier on our dog. If she's in a bad mood or stressed out, we can just give up for that moment and try again later. Plus, I tend to do it on the floor with her in my lap, so it's less threatening. We also give her the highest value treat we have after each session, so she is almost accepting of grooming now.

Of course, the first time I cut her fur, my husband came home and I met him at the door by saying, "Dear, our dog was attacked by giant mutant moths." Then, she completed the picture by trotting out to greet him looking decidedly assymetrical. :-) I've gotten much better since then.

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December 22, 20050 found this helpful

I have a young Yorkie he is 5 pounds of fiesty!

I put him on tv table with old towel on it and just

start sniping away with scissors and I rub his ears gently and he lets me. I started this when I got

'bad, hyper MAY NEED Tranquillezers to groom' notes from the groomers so I do it myself and the little puppy calms down and sometimes falls asleep in the middle then after I bathe him and he is happy. Start slowly and they prefer you then some

stranger helping them.

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