Ideas To Help Calm Your Dog’s Grooming Anxiety

Not all dogs are afraid to visit the groomer, but it can feel like the worst day of their lives for some. These are a few ideas to help calm your dog’s grooming anxiety. Your dog will be confidently visiting the groomer in no time. 

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

Remove the Stress From the Ride

Your dog may not enjoy the car due to destination anticipation, or the ride itself may make them anxious. If your dog arrives at the groomer stressed because of the car ride, it can be extra challenging for them. Counter-conditioning can help decrease your pup’s anxiety and improve their enjoyment of car rides. 

Motion sickness may also be the reason your dog gets anxious about cars, so talk with your veterinarian about anti-nausea medication to see if it’s the move for your pup. 

Get Your Dog Used to Being Handled

Professional groomers handle all the sensitive areas of a dog, including the muzzle, paws, tail, eyes, ears, groin, and rear. Training can help your pup stay calm while the groomer is handling the sensitive regions. Work on this at home before you take your dog to the groomers. Give them treats during or immediately after handling them. 

If your dog is particularly sensitive to specific areas, begin with a region, like a shoulder, where they’re less responsive. Then, gradually and gently move closer to the paws. Only continue training while your dog is relaxed, calm, and receptive. 

Make the Groomer a Happy Place To Visit

Check with your groomer if they’re open to a training visit without performing any grooming work with your dog. Pair being near the grooming facility with things your dog loves, such as treats, going on a walk, or playing. 

Use the visit to familiarize your dog with the sights and sounds of the professional grooming facility. If you’re able, involve the staff with practice handling and follow up with rewards. Follow up with loads of treats so that your dog thinks of the groomer as a happy place. 

Many dogs are nervous about visiting the groomer, but using these ideas to help calm your dog’s grooming anxiety will help them confidently see the groomer. If your training doesn’t seem to be helping your dog’s anxiety or if your dog is acting aggressively, ask your vet for guidance with professional training and possible medication. 

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