9 Ways to Help Your Pet Enjoy Grooming
Our pets are like our kids. And just like we want to see our kids smiling and happy when we pick them up from school, we want to see our pets wagging their tails and energetically prancing about when we pick them up from the groomers. The last thing we want to see is our little baby shaking, with his tail tucked between his legs. But we have heard clients say that no matter what, their pets were unhappy when they picked them up from previous groomers. Although a dog’s disposition can vary greatly from one dog to another, especially if there’s been a traumatic experience of some kind, there are ways you can make the experience better for them. Here are 9 of our favorites:
1. Groom your pets regularly
When pets have had a bad experience with other groomers to the point of being afraid of being groomed, it can take a while to replace those bad memories with good ones. Repetition will reduce that transition time, since we’ll be able to create more good memories in a short period of time. Your pet will also start getting familiar and comfortable with the groomer and form a trusting relationship with him or her.
2. Have a “mock grooming” at home.
If your pet has been abused in the past, and they’re afraid or aggressive during grooming, we’ll show you the handling positions we use to groom your pet that keep us and them safe. This way you can repeat those positions as much as possible at home to get them feeling comfortable with them. We’ll also show you the tools we use, like the nail cutter, nail grander, electric clipper and scissors, so you can repeat the idea of using them at home. For example, you can handle their paws every other day, play with their nails and teeth to get them prepared to have their nails cut and teeth brushed.
3. Get out those knots!
When your pet’s coat is tangled, brushing and combing can be uncomfortable and even painful. To take care of this, your groomer will have to repetitively brush his coat to break those tangles into smaller pieces. In cases when there is severe matting, we recommend to shave the dog to prevent any discomfort or irritation. This will help to start from zero and create good memories. This way, the next few visits the grooming process will be shorter and will give your groomer the opportunity to reintroduce the brush. Your pet will start getting familiar with the good feeling of the bristles massaging his skin, and by the time the coat is long again, he’ll trust the groomer and enjoy being brushed out.
4. Take care of that scratching!
When your pet is itching, get a good medicated shampoo and leave it in for several minutes, massaging it in to your dog’s skin. This will relieve some of his discomfort and give him a little relaxation time. After that positive memory, he might be more trusting or even exited to get groomed. If doesn’t take care of the scratching, make sure he doesn’t have fleas or allergies, which can also cause irritation. Constant scratching can cause what we call hot spots on their skin, where it becomes reddened and may even cause an infection if the skin integrity is compromised. This will definitely not make for a good grooming experience, so get that taken care of before heading to the groomers.
5. Act like you’re taking them to the dog park.
Of course we don’t actually recommend you tell them the words “dog park,” which can be devastating to them when they realize that’s not the destination. But if your attitude is really positive and you talk to them in the same excited, hopeful voice that you use when you’re rewarding them, they’ll relax. It’s really great to continue this dialogue even when you’ve entered the grooming salon.
6. Give them treats!
Ever hear the saying the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well, the same is true for dogs. Food can be a great way to positively reinforce an action, or in this case, an experience. If you talk to your dog in a positive way, like described previously, and you give him his favorite treat upon entering and leaving the salon or grooming van, he’s likely to start associating grooming with happy feelings.
7. Tell your Groomer
Communication with your groomer is important when it comes to keeping your actions consistent with theirs. If you let your groomer know all the things you’ve been doing to make grooming a positive experience, your groomer can continue to do those things. Together you can begin to decrease your dog’s anxiety. Our groomers have a soft spot for those nervous dogs, and we love giving them extra love and pampering to make them feel comfortable.
8. Be Patient
Changes in your dog’s behavior aren’t going to happen from one grooming session to the next. Expect to work on it for 3 or more sessions before you start to see that tail wagging.
9. Let us pamper your pet!
There’s nothing we love more here at Pampered Tails, than to watch the transformation from a nervous dog to a dog running up to their groomer and showering them in kisses. We’ve heard countless stories from our clients of how their pets (cats too!) used to hate getting groomed, but now they come home happy. Our groomers have the patience and the passion to pamper your pet until they feel comfortable and happy with us