Socializing your dog for the groomer is an important part of keeping them healthy and happy. If your dog is not used to being handled, it can be a stressful experience for them and the groomer. Here are some tips to help you socialize your dog for the groomer and help make their trip to the doggy spa a great one.
Where to Start
Make a concerted effort to discipline and teach your dog basic obedience from the moment you meet your dog. This is an imperative step on the journey of responsible dog ownership. Teaching your dog to respond to commands is the first step in socializing your dog to behave properly around strangers. Getting them to sit, stay, and lay down are foundational building blocks to getting your pup comfortable around others, but more importantly with being man-handled by strangers.
Play and roughhouse with your dog. Touch their paw pads and grab each toe bean. Grab on them and get to know what their sensitive areas of their body are. Learn what they like you to touch and what they don’t want you to touch. The more you get acquainted with their sensitivities, the better equipped you are to communicate those nuances to your groomer. On top of that, the more your dog is used to being touched and grabbed, the easier it will be for the groomer to handle your dog without having any issues. This allows for an easy and quicker grooming time!
Introduce your dog to the groomer. Visit the groomer's office and bring your pet along. Have them meet the groomer and allow your pet to sniff around and investigate. Encourage your dog to interact with others and give them treats for being calm and relaxed.
Practice in different environments. Take your pet to new places so they become used to different sights and sounds. Take them all over town and make sure they are used to meeting and interacting with new people. This will help them become comfortable around the groomer's office and teach them to be okay around strangers. Make sure to give lots of praise and treats when your pet is behaving well.
Get them used to loud sounds. Groomers will often need to use tools such as electric brushes and clippers, so practice different kinds of handling. Have your pet get used to being touched and groomed by you. Also, make sure your dog is comfortable with loud sounds. Most groomers use clippers and Dremels when going to town on your dog. If the vacuum scares Fido, they’re probably going to freak out when on the grooming table. Acclimatize them to loud whirring sounds. Come at them with the vacuum and hair dryer so they are used to there sounds. This will help them be more comfortable with the groomer.
Give your pet time to adjust. Don't rush the process and remember to be patient. Allow your pet to take their time getting used to the groomer, and never force them to do anything. If your pet needs more time with you getting used to the stimuli, take more time. When your dog is okay with you brushing them, it does not mean they will be okay with strangers brushing them. Some dogs will respond better to different groomers than others. Don’t be afraid to take a few attempts before your dog is ready to commit, or be okay with trying out a different doggy groomer if the one you tried first was not the right fit.
Finally, don't forget to reward your pet. Give them treats and praise for good behavior and for being calm and relaxed. Once your dog is okay with you brushing them out, handing them, and hearing loud sounds when around you, reward them to assure them they are okay and doing the right thing. This will help your pet form a positive association with being groomed, and it will make the experience much more enjoyable for them.
Taking the Heat Off the Groomer
Socializing your pet for the groomer is an important part of their health and well-being. Don’t ever take your dog into a new environment with new stimuli if you do not think they are ready for it. You are responsible for your pet and making sure they are well trained. With these tips, you can help your pet become comfortable with the groomer and make the experience much less stressful for dog and doggy groomer!