Grooming an Anxious Dog

Is grooming stressful for your Coton de Tulear?

I don’t know if grooming an anxious dog is harder on you or the dog. There’s no reason that either of you have to suffer though.

It’s much easier when your dog is just a puppy and you can gradually show him that grooming can be a good experience. Older dogs are a little more difficult because they’ve either had bad experiences or they’ve developed bad habits.

Here are some tips to make grooming a positive experience for both of you.

Luc getting a bath

Tips for Grooming an Anxious Dog:

  • Start out just touching or massaging your dog and praise him when he doesn’t resist.

  • Let your dog sniff the brush and see that it’s not anything to fear.

  • Make sure you use a soft brush and try it on your own skin first – often pets hate brushing simply because it hurts.

  • At first, keep grooming sessions very short and always end on a positive note. It's always good to get your puppy used to being handled so grooming won't be an unusual or anxious experience. When your dog sits quietly and lets you brush him make sure to reward him with the tone of your voice or a treat.

  • Make sure to stop grooming if your pup starts showing signs of stress. You want him to associate being groomed with a positive experience so NEVER scold or punish him when he doesn't cooperate.

  • Bathing an anxious dog can be a challenge if your dog is afraid of water. There are some aromatherapy products with lavender essential oil that can help calm your dog.

  • Be gentle, loving and patient without overly comforting or cuddling. If he gets rewarded by exhibiting signs of fear, he will continue the behavior. Your extra care and attention also confirms that his fear is legitimate. He needs to understand that grooming is a positive experience and there is nothing to be afraid of.

  • Watch these videos to get great suggestions on grooming an anxious dog from a professional.



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