.....supporting each other!
The worst thing you can do for your nervous dog is to visit the grooming salon only when you have to.
The worst thing you can do for your nervous dog is to visit the grooming salon only when you have to! It is natural for owners to avoid what makes their dog anxious, but in the long term, this approach to any negative behaviour will likely increase your dog's fear to the point where grooming, in this instance, will become almost impossible. We are often the last stop before sedation at the veterinary surgery is the only option available, which is far from ideal in the long term.
Owners are naturally nervous and often embarrassed by their dog's condition, which prevents them from seeking professional help as soon as perhaps they should. We understand! Dogs are sentient beings affected by their environment and experiences and are free to make choices. If they will not accept being groomed at home, there's not a lot you can do, especially if they are biting and you are concerned about the breakdown of the relationship you have with them. Usually, by the time we see a dog in the salon, the coat is in poor condition, and they are already sore and uncomfortable. They may have learnt that brushing is painful and so can often be reactive at the sight of a brush or comb, thereby exacerbating the problem. Owners feel responsible, as any attempt to brush at home is stressful and fruitless. The first step is for you to get in touch! Our ultimate goal is to get your dog's coat to a position where you are feeling more confident as a dog owner, are comfortably in control of grooming at home, and your dog is on the grooming table at the salon for as short a time as possible, each and every time they visit. This process is a marathon and not a sprint! Your dog will dictate how fast or slow we progress.
We have processes in place for nervous dogs, and an initial consultation with you and your dog will help us to decide on the best approach. We need to obtain as much information from you as possible, which will include information on your dog's personality, any possible behavioural issues, past experiences that may have had a negative impact on your dog's behaviour and the relationship you have with your dog. We will also need to know some history on where your dog came from, i.e. was it from a rescue centre, or have you had your dog from a puppy? Essentially we need to know where our starting point is.
If your dog is displaying negative behaviours at home, we will need to rule out any possible medical reasons before we begin working with your dog in the salon. Dogs are very good at hiding pain, and it may manifest itself in behavioural problems. Make an appointment with your vet and explain the problems you are experiencing, that you want to start some grooming training with him, and need to make sure he is generally in good health.
If we suspect that your dog has an infection, we will require you to seek advice from your veterinary surgeon before we can begin working with your dog. Any dog that is feeling unwell or in significant pain from infection is not going to be happy about being handled. It is important that your dog does not associate his pain or discomfort with being at the grooming salon.