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How Do Groomers Handle a Difficult Dog?

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Some groomers experience difficulty when handling aggressive dogs. Often, this is because, although they have been trained to trim, they haven't necessarily had sufficient training with dogs to understand fully why they act, or react, the way they do. A "doggie" background can help, and working with dogs every day soon provides plenty of experience.

Handling Skills

The secret of success is to put the dog's welfare above the finish of the trim. This is certainly top of your list of priorities. Yes a dog has to look good when he walks away, but having a happy dog leave the salon is more of a priority.

After a few visits, the dog should should become increasingly confident about being groomed, and you will be able to groom him as you would any other dog. Pet dogs who constantly have children and visitors around them are usually extremely co-operative, providing there is an incentive, a treat at the end of the session, a pat or a kind word.

So what causes a dog to be aggressive when they come into a strange environment?

Difficult Dogs

Unfortunately, through lack of time, skill or understanding, some groomers can make a dog react in a defensive way, which then means the dog is labelled as nasty. The only thing to blame here is the groomer's lack of experience and training.

Some dog's who have been mistreated or misunderstood, will be difficult to trim for four or five visits to a well trained groomer. Then, they become angels. Dog's bite through self defence and because they are worried or scared and feel vulnerable. Act confidently, treating the dog with respect and kindness at all times. If a dog is nervous, talk to him to reassure him.

Most dogs are far more ready to please you than children are. If you tie them up by the neck and stomach, put a muzzle on them, and fight them until they're subservient, what can you expect other than trouble?

Most of the problems that occur during trimming can be attributed to lack of consideration by the owner and sometimes the groomer. Sometimes, the owner causes the problem when brushing at home. Lack of patience, physically wrestling the dog into submission, hurting the dog without realising it: these things must be recognised and overcome.

First Timers Most dogs are nervous on their first visit to a new groomer, but they soon settle down, especially when you sing along to the radio or hold a conversation with the dog or somebody else.

Dogs easily learn to sit and stand and stay on the grooming table without the aid of contraptions. A groomer takes on, as part of the job, the responsibility to teach the dog what is required of him in a calm and caring manner, without fuss and bother.

Clipper Phobias Electric clippers are greatly feared by some dogs. Why is it that a dog is pleased to see you, will sit on a table and can be brushed, and, the minute the clippers are turned on, he leaps six feet in the air?

Stop, Think. Why is the objection so acute?

  • Does the dog have arthritis, or some other bone or growth pain? If so, take this into consideration when handling the dog, and check with the owner that the dog is receiving veterinary attention.

  • Has the dog been burned with hot clippers in the past? It is a good idea to use the Clipit Ice Care Spray to cool and the Easi Oil Spray to lubricate the clipper blade every five minutes to keep the blade free - running and cool. Test the blade on your face every so often.

  • Has the dog, perhaps even at the age of a few years old, never had a pair of clippers near him? If this is the case, he will need to be introduced to the sight, the smell and the sound of the clippers in a calm, controlled way. Have the clippers running nearby while brushing the dog so he gradually gets used to the sound.

Dogs have teeth that bite. They use them when they are confused, cared or cornered. If you have more than your fair share of objecting dogs, then perhaps it is time you took more training, or consider another career.

It comes back to the fact that anyone can trim the hair off a stuffed dog, but it takes a special person to become a good groomer who understands dogs.

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