How to Groom a Dog that is Scared

How to Groom a Dog that is Scared

How To Groom A Dog That Is Scared?

How to groom a Dog | Dog Grooming Training | Dog GroomingYou dog may be afraid of getting groomed, and this is not surprising! Imagine if I were to gather before you an arsenal of metallic clanking tools. How would you have reacted when seeing these unfamiliar stuffs “operating” on you?

Of course, there have been cases where a dog have had a horrible grooming experience – clipper burns, brush pulling on the coat – anything associated with grooming may make him/her fearful.

In such situations, the dog may try to bolt when you’re attempting to groom him/her. And, in extreme cases, dogs have bitten their masters or the groomers just to avoid the dog grooming experience.

Make Grooming Pleasurable

Remove The Fear

So, you might be asking yourself how to groom a dog that’s scared.

The answer is that you need to make the dog grooming experience a pleasurable one. You’ll need to remove his/her fear and allow the dog to see that grooming can be fun.


How can you do this?

Be sure he/she becomes acclimated to your touch on the sensitive regions of their canine body like the feet.

You should also allow them to be familiar with and get accustomed to the grooming tools you’ll be using.

This will help to alleviate their fears.

To do this requires a bit of patience, before you start any dog grooming procedures, make sure you show the grooming tools to your dog, let it sniff it a bit.

Pet your dog with the tool, if appropriate (in the case of a comb or brush etc) to induce positive experience in your dog.

Observe the dog’s reaction. If they are still uneasy, stop, relax the dog in a calm soothing and try again.

You may need to do these acclimatization exercises with your dog for days or weeks, depending on your dog.

Once they are no longer fearful of the grooming tool, perform the grooming procedures but keep the grooming sessions short at first (this means that you may not be able to do a full dog groom initially).

Never force beyond what the dog will allow you. Immediately reward the dog with a treat to reinforce his positive behavior. You want to encourage his cooperative manners.

Over time, you will see that your dog gets more and more comfortable with dog grooming.

Begin The Dog Grooming Process Early

If you’ve got a pup, begin grooming them early on so he/she is used to the routine, the tools and whatever else you plan on doing during the dog grooming session.

If you start early, he/she is less likely to object as he/she gets older.

However, if you’ve got an older dog or a dog that’s had a horrible dog grooming experience, you’ll need to do some training to make him/her accept the grooming process using the same above techniques.

You’ll just need to be patient and adjust your training.

How To Groom A Dog That Is Scared: Some Other Methods You Can Use

When you choose to groom your canine friend, be sure the sessions are short and fun.

Nothing beats adequate training to eliminate your dog’s fear of grooming.

However, there may be times that you’ll need to perform a grooming procedure while your dog is still scared of grooming.

For example, you just read this article and your dog has fallen into a mud pit. That means you need to bathe him right now.

What can you do?

Well, depending on what the situation is, you might need to restrain or muzzle your pup.

Keep in mind that neither muzzling nor restraining your pup is a good idea; only used when you have no other choice.

After all, if done incorrectly, they can be dangerous to your pup.

Restraining A Dog – How It Can Be Done Correctly

If you have a flighty dog, you might have to restrain him/her during the entire dog cleaning and grooming process.

Does that your canine friend have little patience in the tub? You might want to use tub tie-outs or bathing nooses to restrain him/her.

If you’ve got a smaller dog, you might want to consider using a body sack instead.

While your dog is on the grooming table, you have a number of gadgets to use that’ll make the whole dog grooming process easier including body restraints and grooming table nooses.

Talk with your local pet store about how to properly use them.

When you have your dog restrained, don’t leave them alone.

After all, if they try to break free, they could injure themselves. Be careful with theses restrain techniques and use them only when you feel it’s unquestionably essential.

How to Groom a Dog | Dog Grooming Training | Dog Grooming
Muzzling – How It Can Be Done Correctly

A muzzle is what’s slipped over your dog’s nose and mouth to keep him/her from biting.

This device can be useful if there is a certain dog grooming procedure that will cause your canine friend to snap at you (e.g when you are clipping its nails).

What Kind of Dog Muzzle Should You Use?

There are several kinds on the market.

For example, you have the nylon strap muzzle, which easily slips around the nose. There are some muzzles that have padding so the dog doesn’t feel discomfort.

And, some muzzles have been designed so that dogs can still eat and drink.

Whatever type of muzzle you get, you need to make sure that it fits your dog well and will allow him/her to breathe.

If you choose to use a muzzle during the dog grooming process, make sure to put it on before you begin and take it off once you’re through with it.

You only want to use so that you don’t get bitten while trying to groom your canine friend.  Also, don’t leave it on for very long… if you can help it.

Bear in mind that muzzling your pup won’t make him/her more compliant while you’re doing the grooming process.

Rather, it may be more difficult later on to get him/her to accept the dog grooming process.

Reward your pup with a treat and lots of praises for any good behavior he/she displays during the process just after you remove the muzzle.

Like any restraints you get, you should never leave a dog alone with a muzzle on him/her.

When it’s really hot outside, the dog can become overheated fairly easily. After all, muzzles don’t allow a dog to pant, which is how they expel the hot air from their body.

In some cases, a dog may try to remove the muzzle him/herself, which can cause the muzzle to catch on something sharp and your pup may hurt itself.

Don’t ever use the muzzle for long periods of time, as it can force the pup to become aggressive when he/she is being restrained for anything like the dog grooming process.


We hope that this article has helped you deal with how to groom a dog that is scared.

In addition, if you want to learn the basics on how to groom your dog properly, find out more in this comprehensive ebook “How to Groom a Dog”.

Image Credits:
Top – By ttarasiuk/, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Bottom – By Joshua Sherurcij, WikiMedia Commons

4 thoughts on “How to Groom a Dog that is Scared

  1. Thanks for the article! I thought it was interesting that you suggested grooming your dog early in its life. Does the puppy’s fur even grow very long following birth? I have a Shih Tzu and she doesn’t really have a problem with baths, though she is very well trained for having a consistent routine for the last few years. As soon as she is completely dry she is so excited to play around or goof off. I really appreciate the great advice you have given, I will definitely be using your tips in the near future.

  2. Thanks for provide “free” advice” to us. We Foster a little Shi Tzu who is 11 yrs old who had to have his badly infected eyes removed. He is doing great since we have only had him 3 months, BUT, not sure how to groom him as he will growl and attempt to bite (obviously). We just love him and want to do our best to keep him happy, etc. What muzzle is best for a blind, Shi Tzu so that we can clean him? Again, thanks!

  3. You have helped me a lot.Thanks a lot.

    kind regards
    Julio Martin

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