Grooming helps to keep your dog from becoming a matted hairy mess. In many cases, it may be best to have your dog professionally groomed. Professional groomers can check for skin issues, pest infestation, and other skin, ear, or coat issues that you may not notice on a day-to-day basis.
Every dog will react to professional grooming differently. And if you’re taking your dog to the groomer for the first time, it may be challenging to determine how they feel afterward or anticipate how the first session will go. So how do dogs feel after grooming? Do they enjoy it or do they loathe it? Let’s discuss.
So, How Do Dogs Feel After Grooming?
While every dog is different, dogs may likely feel a bit worn out, sad, or even appear depressed after a grooming session. But in some cases, especially those in which the grooming session was overdue, the dogs may seem energetic and happy to have a haircut and freshly clipped paw pads.
But most professional dog groomers and everyday dog owners will probably tell you that dogs simply don’t like going to the groomer. During the grooming session, it’s common for dogs to exhibit certain behavior problems, such as biting, barking, scratching, and trying for dear life to wrestle out of the grips of the groomer. But don’t worry, groomers are used to this.
Grooming sessions can cause dogs to feel submissive, and fearful. And in some cases, the session may be slightly painful for them. Overall, it’s their discomfort that makes them feel negatively after the session and nervous before the process starts.
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Signs Your Dog May Be Feeling Sad After Grooming
And there are tell-tale signs that your dog will give off if they’re feeling a bit blue after a grooming session. Noting these signs can help you to determine if your pup has a bit of momentary doggy depression.
Depression in dogs actually isn’t that different than in adults. Instead, dogs simply present signs of anger, fear, suspicion, or shyness when they’re feeling blue. They may retreat to their beds or cages for the rest of the day or have a decrease in appetite.
Ways To Make Grooming Trips Better For Dogs
Here are some tips to help make your dog more comfortable before, during, and after the grooming process. Keep in mind it may take some time, so patience is key.
Picking the right pet groomer is essential to making the experience less intimidating. Ask your groomer if it’s possible to conduct a test visit with your dog without having any actual grooming done. You can even ask staff to practice handling your dog and reward it with treats.
Try to use the time to familiarize your pup with the sounds and sights of the groomer. Make sure you give it lots of treats after the visit to associate groomers with “good” things and positive experiences.
Find Ways to Reduce Stress During The Car Ride
It’s well known that car rides can cause anxiety in dogs. A dog arriving at the groomer can be especially anxious and stressed, making the grooming process more difficult. Your dog might dislike the car for a few reasons. Trying to find ways to make your dog’s car ride more comfortable.
For example, give it a few treats or an extended playtime session before or after the visit to the groomer. And if your dog seems to suffer from nausea during car rides, and anti-nausea medicine before the trip can be helpful.
If possible, sit in for the first grooming and try to note specific steps in the grooming process that seem to make your dog uncomfortable or anxious, if any. If your dog gets scared when being lifted onto the grooming table, then you might consider alternatives such as stairs or ramps that allow it to climb up independently.
Place towels or anti-slip mats underneath your dog if it isn’t happy with the slippery wash tub or grooming table. If your dog doesn’t like running water around its head, ask the groom to use facial wipes or lightly dampened towels.
Or, if it’s sensitive to sound or paw grooming, have them use products such as the Happy Hoodie, Scaredy Cut Silent clippers. It’s the small changes such as increasing the number of treats or changing the temperature of the water that can make a big difference in reducing stress levels for your dog.
Consider A Muzzle In Extreme Cases
A muzzle makes grooming easier and safer for the groomer and easier for the dog. This is especially true if your dog is used to restraints and muzzles. A bit of muzzle training can help reduce the need to use restraints and protect your pet from the consequences of biting.
You can train your dog to put his nose in the muzzle with a soft and spreadable treat like peanut butter. A basket muzzle with small openings will work best. This allows your dog to enjoy treats while the muzzle is on.
Perform Certain Grooming Steps At Home
Many grooming tasks can be done at home, such as trimming long hair, clipping nails, and rinsing the pup’s head and around its eyes. You can do all of these tasks at home, saving your pup trips to the groomer.
You’ll be able to groom your pet in a more relaxed environment which can reduce its bad behavior and get them accustomed to the grooming process firsthand. This is great for a dog’s first grooming session, as it’ll introduce it to the process and help you take note of how best to handle them.
Have A Little Playtime First
It helps if your dog is a little bit tired before the grooming session. Not only will this take some of the fight out of their aggressiveness, but it can make them more amenable to the process overall. They’ll likely be too tired to put up a big fight and may be more laid-back while getting a bath. After the groomer is done, be sure to reward it with treats or even more playtime–thus following up the “bad” experience with a good one.
Make Sure the Dog Is Ok Being Handled Everywhere
Unlike people, dogs can’t really verbalize their boundaries. Their response to discomfort is to bark, bite, or to attempt a retreat. Make sure your dog is comfortable with being handled. Grooming sessions will usually include handling sensitive areas such as the pup’s muzzle, ears, tail, groin, and paw pads.
You can train your dog to be more relaxed when touching sensitive areas. Before you take your dog to the groomer, find out about their process and steps for cleaning and trimming dogs–don’t be afraid to get details.
You can then practice these grooming steps at home. Try out predictor words such as “nose” or “paws” to let the pup know that you’re going to touch the specific area. Reward your dog by giving a tasty treat immediately. Note that if your dog is sensitive to a specific area, such as its tail, paw pads, or face, you can start by gently massaging this particular area.
Wrapping Things Up
Keep in mind that these techniques may not work for every single dog. However, with proper preparation comes some training, and the right approach, you can help your dog grow more comfortable with the grooming process–even if it’s just a little bit. You can even talk to your groomer or a veterinarian about the best ways to help the pup adapt to it.
Featured Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels