Grooming a dog that displays aggressive behavior can be a difficult task. In this article, our vets from La Pine will discuss why some dogs become aggressive during grooming sessions and provide helpful tips to make the grooming process less stressful for you and your furry friend.
Aggression in Dogs
Dogs can become aggressive, which can cause problems for their owners and families. Although wild animals are naturally aggressive when protecting themselves, their territory, or their young, pet dogs should receive training to address any aggressive behavior.
Aggression can involve various actions that may result in attacks and injuries, including dog bites while grooming.
Signs of aggression in dogs include:
- Remaining still and not obeying an owner's or carer's instructions
- Threatening growl or bark
- Mouthing a person against his or her wishes in an effort to exert control
- A quick bite that leaves a mark, bruise or puncture in or on the skin
- Growling when the dog's wishes aren't followed
- Snarling (baring teeth when growling)
- Quick succession of bites
- Biting followed by shaking
In aggressive dogs, any of these symptoms may appear exclusively or in combination.
Problems with Grooming Aggressive Dogs
Keeping an aggressive dog calm during grooming can be tricky and requires extra caution, care, and training. This is important to ensure the safety of both your dog and the groomer, whether you decide to groom your pup yourself or have a professional groomer do it for you at La Pine Animal Hospital.
Aggressive dogs may display biting or other aggressive behaviors during grooming sessions due to fear, anxiety, confusion, or previous negative experiences. If your dog has had bad experiences in the past, they may become defensive and try to bite anyone who approaches or touches them during grooming.
How to Successfully Groom an Aggressive Dog
Regular grooming is essential for your pup, but it can be a challenge if your dog is not used to it. To help your furry friend stay calm during grooming sessions, it's important to build trust and follow some simple tips. Our expert groomers suggest creating a positive environment and using gentle techniques to make the process less stressful for your dog. Doing so will make your pup more cooperative and happy to be groomed.
Start grooming when your dog is young.
Grooming your puppy from a young age (and perhaps taking them to a groomer) will save a lot of stress and anxiety in the future. Puppies enjoy experiencing new things and will be more open to learning and being socialized. This makes it easier to train them to accept regular grooming. While older dogs with bad prior experiences aren't typically impossible to groom, you will need to invest more patience and time in training
Use positive reinforcements.
Just as positive reinforcement plays an important role in training, it can help with grooming. Offering your dog a treat before visiting the groomer (or before an at-home grooming session) might help them to stay calm. You might decide to give another treat for sitting patiently during their bath and grooming.
Allow time for your dog to explore grooming equipment and procedures.
If your dog isn't used to grooming, it's best to keep the sessions short and take the time to introduce them to the groomers, tools, and procedures gradually. Allow your dog to sniff around the grooming area and give them treats and praise for being calm. Once your dog understands that grooming isn't scary or painful, it will be easier for them to enjoy the process.
Use preventive measures in emergency situations.
If your dog gets anxious or aggressive during grooming, it can be tough to calm them down. But even so, grooming is still important for their health and hygiene. You could try using anxiety-reducing jackets, all-natural meds, or muzzles to make things easier. Talk to your vet to figure out what's best for your dog, and always check with them before giving any meds.
If you want to avoid the hassle altogether, our professional groomers are happy to help! We've got the skills and experience to groom all kinds of dogs, even those who are nervous or aggressive. Sometimes we might suggest sedation, but usually we can manage things with the methods we mentioned earlier, plus a few extra steps:
- Ensuring the environment is quiet, calm and peaceful
- Asking your dog to perform an easy trick or action (such as 'sit' or 'shake paw')
- Offering treats
- Taking frequent breaks
- Playing music or opening a window.
At La Pine Animal Hospital, we always look forward to meeting your four-legged friends and providing advice to help keep your dog happy and healthy. Alternatively, we'd love to take the job of grooming off your hands to get this important task done right, with minimal fuss.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.