Trying to Make the Dog Feel at Home
Many groomers use petting or a soft voice to try to calm the dogs. Some dogs can be aggressive in grooming situations because they're afraid. Dogs act aggressive in situations where they are confused or afraid, and a good groomer will make your aggressive dog feel comfortable before beginning to groom. Groomers make the dog feel at home by offering him treats and giving him love before getting down to the bath. Letting the owner help get the dog into the tub might help, if the owner is present. If not, groomers quickly lift the dog into the tub. Some groomers have a loop in the tub to restrain finicky dogs. Once in the tub, even aggressive dogs should allow a groomer to wash and shampoo them, though some might try to bite the water hose. Groomers move quickly and continue talking to the dog throughout the bath to keep the dog calm.
Restraining the Dog for Grooming
After the bath, groomers will towel dry a dog before moving her to the groom table. Groomers might cover an aggressive dog's face with a towel while moving the dog. Aggressive dogs are restrained with a loop and most groomers have muzzles on hand for the toughest dogs. Neither of these devices will hurt your dog. Both ensure your dog stays on the table during the groom for her own safety. Groomers move quickly to shear the dog and try to wait until the dog is still to avoid cutting her accidentally. Once the clippers are put away, the groomer might clip your dog's nails. By holding the foot away from the dog's body, the groomer is able to get a good shot at the nails while remaining out of reach of an aggressive dog's bite. Before ending the groom, groomers will usually calm aggressive dogs with more treats, pets and kind words.
Dog groomer Chris Chamberlin discusses how to groom sensitive dogs. His best summary of grooming is "Remember, you are teaching the dog to trust you and so long as you don't break that trust, grooming can and will become less stressful for you and your special needs pet." Some owners might consider giving the dog a relaxation pill or using a spray like Rescue Remedy before grooms. Contact your veterinarian before giving your pet pills. The best groomers for the job are fast-moving, confident and have a love of all dogs. It's a groomer's job to understand that baths and haircuts are stressful on even the most well-behaved dogs and that every dog, even an aggressive one, has loyal and lovable traits too.