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How to desensitise a dog to grooming


How to desensitise a dog to grooming

If your dog is young, or perhaps they’ve never been groomed before, they may be nervous over their first groom, and they may even hide when their brush comes out. In this article, we explore the ways in which you can desensitise your dog to grooming.

How to groom a nervous dog at home

When beginning your grooming session, remember your dog won’t know why grooming them is so important. Your main goal throughout is to keep your dog comfortable and safe so they are not afraid of the tools you’re using throughout the groom. Try the below when desensitising your dog to smaller grooming processes;

  • Time it right - Try to time your groom when your dog is a little hungry and tired. This way, they’ll stand still for you and take treats off of you as rewards.
  • Find somewhere quiet - Choose somewhere quiet where neither you or your dog will be distracted.
  • Pet your dog gently - touch your dogs legs, body, ears, tails and head; observe their reaction.
  • Give generously in treats - Give small treats throughout the desensitisation, they’ll provide a welcome distraction for your dog.
  • Keep sessions short - whilst you’re still desensitising your dog, keep the sessions short and frequent.
  • Use a brush/comb - start with a soft brush, substituting it for your hand and repeating the above routine.
  • Get them used to their groom table/room - A groom table is ideal for grooming, however they can be hard to store and expensive. You can create your own space for grooming, but remember if it doesn’t feel safe or secure for your dog, they can get frightened. Ensure your pooch has good footing and is not likely to injure himself by jumping/falling off - Bath mats or rubber mats are great for non slip!


How can I calm my dog down for grooming?

You might find with being at home your dog is calmer than visiting a professional groomers studio, however the stimulation provided in the groom may make it difficult to keep them calm. Don’t forget to reward them throughout, every time they stand/sit still and when they allow you to manoeuvre them, give verbal praise and small treats.

You may also want to use scent in the room which will calm your dog, such as the Animology Paws & Relax Aromatherapy Dog Spray. Paws & Relax is a soothing aromatherapy dog spray infused with lavender and chamomile to help calm and relax your dog. It contains built in conditioners and pro-vitamin B5 to help maintain a smooth and healthy coat. The perfect way to keep your dogs coat looking great whilst keeping them calm at the same time. It's a brilliant product for dog's who don't really like being groomed, to help them get used to it.


How to restrain a dog while grooming

It’s good to remember your dog won’t understand being restrained and may think it’s a form of punishment. It’s important your dog knows you’re in control and you’re putting their safety first. If you don’t have a proper grooming restraint, you could enlist the help of an assistant (someone your dog knows and trusts) to hold/stand with your dog whilst you’re busy grooming them. Don’t forget to reassure them throughout and give treats for good behaviour.

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