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Ask A Groomer: Why Does My Dog Hate Going To The Groomer?

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Have you ever wondered why your dog hates going to the groomer? It might not have anything to do with the specific groomer you take them to; there may be something else making them nervous. Here are 5 reasons your dog might hate going to the groomer.

1. They are afraid of the dryer. The dryers groomers use are more powerful and much louder than the hair dryer you use at home. Dogs have more sensitive hearing than humans and the noise can cause them stress. Many groomers also use a high velocity dryer that blasts the water off the dog’s coat without using heat. The pressure can be startling, and many dogs can be upset by it, especially as the groomer gets near their feet or head.

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2. They are stressed out by other barking dogs. Some groom shops may have dozens of dogs barking in kennels while yours is being groomed. If your dog is used to a quiet life, the noise from the other dogs can be upsetting.

3. They don’t like the kennel. If you’ve never crate trained your dog, being confined in a small space for several hours can feel like their worst nightmare. Some dogs even become aggressive when they are placed in a kennel and will try to bite anyone who approaches them while they are confined.

4. They have separation anxiety. Does your dog get upset if you are away from home too long? If they get upset when they are separated from you for too long, half a day or more at the groomer can be distressing.

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Image Source: Stewart Black via Flikr

5. They don’t like being handled. Some dogs don’t like to be handled at all. Some just hate having their feet touched. Maybe they dislike having their tail brushed. Whatever thing they hate when you try to clean them up probably happens for every grooming. This would give them anxiety about every appointment, even if the thing they hate is only one small part.

What can you do?

If you have a regular groomer, ask if there is something specific your dog doesn’t like. Find out if there’s a way to work around the problem.

If your dog hates the dryer, plan on longer appointment times so they can dry in a kennel. If they get upset by other dogs, find a place that’s smaller. Smaller spaces accommodate fewer groomers, which should mean fewer dogs. If they hate the kennel, consider a groomer that dries all the dogs straight through so that they don’t have to spend time in a kennel. These appointment types also benefit dogs with separation anxiety, since they are finished quicker. If they don’t like a body part handled, look into desensitization techniques.

If nothing else, try taking your dog to a different groomer and see if that lessens their anxiety.

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