How to make grooming less stressful
While for us humans, going to the hairdressers or to the nail salon is a chance to relax, be pampered and have a chat, our furry best friends don’t tend to see it in the same light. Dog grooming can be an alarming and overwhelming experience, especially for puppies. Here’s how you can make it less stressful for them before the clippers even come out….
Don’t use heavy restraint on your dog
Dogs unfortunately do require some sort of restraint in order to be groomed, otherwise we would be chasing them round the floor with scissors; neither fun or safe for anybody involved. The worse thing you could possibly do to a nervous pup, whether you’re grooming at home or taking them to a salon, is use heavy restraint – either by tying them down or holding / scruffing their fur. It will just send them into “Panic Mode” and they won’t even make it into the bath. Firm but gentle restraint using appropriate equipment is key to safety.
Never underestimate how valuable puppy grooms are, even if your pup doesn’t require a lot of grooming. The salon environment can be loud with big scary equipment and strange people. It is so important to get them to the salon as early as possible, where they can be introduced slowly to the environment and the equipment using positive reinforcement. In our experience this makes for a much calmer adult that is not fearful of grooming (even if they don’t particularly like it!).
Our pets understand more than we might think, picking up on when we are scared or feeling nervous. In order not to put this negative energy on them, try exuding confidence. Smile and talk calmly and don’t fuss over them too much. This will suggest to your dog that there’s nothing to worry about – it’s all good here, just a trim and a spruce up.
One to one grooming
Here at Hashtag Dog, we operate a one-to-one grooming system. This means, when your dog attends an appointment, their groom starts immediately with one specified groomer. They aren’t sat in cages/crates with lots of other dogs in the salon, waiting sometimes up to an hour before their groom has started. Again, once their groom is completed, the owner is contacted for prompt collection. We find that this reduces stress and fear as they aren’t waiting in anticipation and / or listening to other dogs bark or cry.
Reduce the fear
Sometimes, even when we and you as the owner have done everything we possibly can to help reduce the fear, the dog can still find the process stressful. Sometimes, it helps to give dogs a little something to take the edge off, before they go in for their grooming. Valerian root is an all-natural, herbal remedy available at Hashtag Dog that can be used to calm your dog’s nerves. It’s completely safe and has very few, if any side effects, apart from the expected drowsiness, so it’s the immediate go-to for all seasoned pet owners. In our experience, we have found the use of Valerian has meant the difference between not being able to the groom the dog at all and being able to complete a grooming appointment for a dog safely with minimal stress.
We also have Pet Remedy diffusers plugged in in the salon and lavender aromatherapy to promote a sense of calm.
While you might never be able to fully make your dog feel relaxed at the groomers, following this tips will ensure that they have the most comfortable time and won’t dread the next appointment.