Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?
DogForums.com is the premier dog Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Canyx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    3,761

    Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    This is partly inspired by the other thread that's on the general forum right now...

    But I've heard stories of dogs coming back from the groomers cowed, with red eyes, signs of rough handling etc. I know it largely depends on the groomer but because I've never brought Soro to a groomer before I was wondering for those who have the experience, How do you handle dogs that are not so fond of being groomed?

    I've always done it myself because Soro's very easy to groom, and he dislikes baths and such so I'm able to wash him without fuss but I wouldn't want a bad grooming experience by a stranger to make it a very negative thing. Oh, and it's cheaper for me to do it myself.

    I can only imagine what it must take to handle dogs that aren't used to grooming tables, or clippers... I hear muzzles are used at times? Or are some dogs just flat out rejected if they seem to be very uncomfortable? And what about dogs that dislike being groomed but NEED to be (ex. covered with excrement and matting)? In my mind finding a good groomer must be like finding a good boarding kennel or daycare... I wouldn't just mindlessly leave my dog in one, pick him up at the end, and think nothing of it.

    Soro the lab mutt - approximate birthday: April 22 2006

  2. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Senior Member Abbylynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ohio in Nomansland
    Posts
    13,021

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    I took Abbylynn to the groomer after researching. I took her to a Pet Supply Plus that has a viewing window where everyone can see the grooming taking place. They also have a do-it-yourself dog wash station. It is really NICE! I do not like going to a groomers and just dropping her off and they disappear out of my sight. It is an hours drive for me but it is worth it. Abbylynn was happy and so was I.

    I am not a groomer except for the little ones; but those groomers were good.
    Last edited by Abbylynn; 09-04-2011 at 09:15 AM.


    ~While you were busy judging others your closet door came open and a lot of skeletons fell out.~

  4. #3
    Senior Member Graco22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    1,933

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    As a professional groomer, there are dogs that are uncooperative for grooming. There are products and equipment out there to make grooming safe for everyone involved. Groomer's Helper is a Godsend, and eliminates the need for muzzles in my salon. I find muzzles stress most dogs out, and if they are being "naughty" they are already stressed out. I find that working quickly, methodically, and calmly helps more than anything. After a time or two of grooming, I have had very few dogs (I can count on one hand in almost 12 years) that do not get better each time, and eventually are fine. Most of the "naughty's" are puppies that the owners wait too long to have groomed. Then when you have to start trimming nails, and shaving poo of bums, it can freak them out because they never had this experiences with these sounds, or even being on a table before. However, few dogs are wild enough not to calm down after a few minutes of struggling. In worse case scenarios, dogs that MUST be groomed usually are referred to a vet where they can be sedated, shaved short and won't need grooming but every 3-6 months, for their own sake. However, IMO that is rare, and I have only had to send one dog home unfinished from my salon in 9 years. The alligator roll and diarrhea called for an abrupt end to the attempted grooming session. There is never a need for rough handling, its just counterproductive. I ignore bad behavior, stresspanting, etc. and reward calm behavior. I will give firm NO's for dogs that try to bite, etc and that almost always works for me because I do not stop doing what I am doing when they try to bite, so they learn fast that biting doesn't get them their way. A good groomer will be well versed in animal behavior and training, as well as knowing how to use the correct tools in the correct manner.

  5. #4
    Senior Member LazyGRanch713's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4,152

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Graco22 View Post
    As a professional groomer, there are dogs that are uncooperative for grooming. There are products and equipment out there to make grooming safe for everyone involved. Groomer's Helper is a Godsend, and eliminates the need for muzzles in my salon. I find muzzles stress most dogs out, and if they are being "naughty" they are already stressed out. I find that working quickly, methodically, and calmly helps more than anything. After a time or two of grooming, I have had very few dogs (I can count on one hand in almost 12 years) that do not get better each time, and eventually are fine. Most of the "naughty's" are puppies that the owners wait too long to have groomed. Then when you have to start trimming nails, and shaving poo of bums, it can freak them out because they never had this experiences with these sounds, or even being on a table before. However, few dogs are wild enough not to calm down after a few minutes of struggling. In worse case scenarios, dogs that MUST be groomed usually are referred to a vet where they can be sedated, shaved short and won't need grooming but every 3-6 months, for their own sake. However, IMO that is rare, and I have only had to send one dog home unfinished from my salon in 9 years. The alligator roll and diarrhea called for an abrupt end to the attempted grooming session. There is never a need for rough handling, its just counterproductive. I ignore bad behavior, stresspanting, etc. and reward calm behavior. I will give firm NO's for dogs that try to bite, etc and that almost always works for me because I do not stop doing what I am doing when they try to bite, so they learn fast that biting doesn't get them their way. A good groomer will be well versed in animal behavior and training, as well as knowing how to use the correct tools in the correct manner.
    Couldn't have said it better myself And knowing how dogs move and how they're built helps. If you have a dog who is arthritic and breaking down in his pasterns, picking the foot up certain ways will yield nothing but the dog fighting you because the way you're holding the foot HURTS. Dogs who are routinely pleasant to work on who suddenly get snippy over something can be the first clue to you (and, to the owner when you pass along the information) that something is wrong. I groomed a Scottish Terrier for years who was the most pleasant and easy-going girl, and one day I picked up a rear foot and she turned and snapped (didn't bite). Closer inspection revealed a very small tumor between her toes, but it was growing in such a way that probably made her foot very uncomfortable. The tumor was removed, found to be cancerous, and the vet said finding the tumor early saved her life.
    It's also helpful to know the difference between a serious biter vs. a brat vs. a dog who is in pain and trying to tell you something. I haven't been bitten successfully very many times, and people think I must have good reaction time. Perhaps I do, but most dogs who WANT to bite you are going to bite you, no matter how quick you are.
    We don't accept severely aggressive dogs in our grooming shop. Those dogs are referred to a grooming shop that has an excellent veterinarian on staff, who is able to sedate (AND MONITOR!) all animals that are put under. I do not groom dogs that are sedated. We have no vet on staff, and I don't feel comfortable with a dog that's half-asleep under sedatives in my salon, so those are sent elsewhere. We recently had a very large dog lunge at the bathers face. While he didn't make contact (probably for a reason), it was too close of a call to mess around with. I was not comfortable working on the dog, and the dog had to know it. He was turned away (partially that, and partially because the owners were not very nice people). If someone has a fear aggressive dog, and the owner is willing to work with us so WE can work with the dog, we will give it a shot. We've had several dogs come in snapping, screaming, etc in fear and (with the owners help) have gotten them to the point that they're not nearly as scared. If the owner refuses to bring the dog in more than every 6 months, it's not much of a help. If the owner is willing to bring the dog in for a visit, maybe a nail trim, or just a bath, or just a light trim vs. a full hair cut, etc, to help the dog realize the experience is not horrible or scary, then heck yes.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    136

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    In brief, we had a really bad place not far from where I live. After many horror stories & I got a lot of dogs brought to me for help as they'd become terrified or vicious to groomers. I also worked with a few of the groomers & figured out soon that it was one business that seemed to generate these issues in dogs. Lawsuits happened. When these folks were investigated one of them had been fired from a place for animal abuse the other... well, dogs who didn't behave & aggrivated her got cut Just makes me sick & furious to think about. This made it VERY hard for ethical people to have a business here. Very hard.

    Now we have a petco where people can sit & watch dogs be groomed. That helps everyone including the owners to see or to have a famiy member stand watch. The nasties are gone, their business completely shut down (thank heavens!!)

    I don't know how common the awful stuff happens. I'm always happier when I hear about good groomers. Personally I groom all my own because I have trust issues I guess that's a little too honest but it's true. Any breed of dog I live with & want to know everything & know how to do everything myself. I use grooming as bonding time. I have a big Schnauzer now & I'm lucky her breeder's an old hand & started her well for me. Now all I gotta do is follow the map

    When I meet really good groomers who care & who love what they do... I keep their cards, email, etc... & refer people to them BUT I check references & I'm very skeptical until I see a lot of dogs happy to see their groomer again If anyone out there's lucky enough to have a good groomer... remember to treat them well, they preserve your dog's good nature by good handling as well as make them look & smell pretty!

  7. #6
    Senior Member LoMD13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    930

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    I always wonder about this. Lola's groomer is extremely reputable, recommended by nearly everybody by the care they take of the dogs. I love the people and can tell that they genuinely love dogs and enjoy their work. I can see on the little TV screen they have up that they are gentle and good with the dogs.

    But all that being said, Lola gets the a serious case of the shakes every time we walk into the building, and she's not a shaky nervous dog at all. They tell me she settles down after 10 minutes and is very easy to groom, and very sweet. So I dunno! I hate to have to find a new groomer because I know this one is excellent, but I also hate that it seems to stress her out so much.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Graco22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    1,933

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by LoMD13 View Post
    I always wonder about this. Lola's groomer is extremely reputable, recommended by nearly everybody by the care they take of the dogs. I love the people and can tell that they genuinely love dogs and enjoy their work. I can see on the little TV screen they have up that they are gentle and good with the dogs.

    But all that being said, Lola gets the a serious case of the shakes every time we walk into the building, and she's not a shaky nervous dog at all. They tell me she settles down after 10 minutes and is very easy to groom, and very sweet. So I dunno! I hate to have to find a new groomer because I know this one is excellent, but I also hate that it seems to stress her out so much.
    This can be quite common. It is usually due to the dog not liking a particular part of grooming, or it can also be caused by anxiety about leaving your side. When you drop her off, be very matter of fact. No lovey dovey, kiss kiss, mommy loves you, be good baby, etc talk. Walk in matter of factly...hand the leash over, and leave. A few times of that, and she will get much better. I have clients that talk in baby talk and actually say, "I'm sorry baby"...well, if you are sorry, then don't bring your dog to me. ? Right? Dogs feed off of our emotions and our body language. Just as you wouldn't hang on your toddler and whine and cry when leaving them at daycare or preschool, don't do it to your dog. (I am not saying you are doing this, but many times, people don 't realize they are). Also, if there is a part of the process she doesn't like, this can also make them not be ecstatic to come to the groomer. Does she like to be brushed? Like a bath? Like a nail trim? Like the hair pulled from her ear canals? Like the dryer? Like the clippers? Like standing to be groomed? Most dogs have at least one of theses they DON"T like, and that can be enough for some dogs to get anxiety when arriving. Again, acting nonchalant and just dropping them off briskly, can help with. It will take a few time, but you should start to see a difference. Oh, and ALWAYS bring the dog in on a leash..never carry them in. This just adds to anxiety. Use a collar that won't pull off, like a martingale type nylon collar, and if your dog plants em outside, just turn and keep walking..They will get up and follow you as soon as they see you are still going, and they can't slip off lead. The next time, they won't even plant their feet at the door, they will keep right on going and follow you right in. :-) No worries, I am sure your groomers are great, sometimes is just changing how the dog sees things, and that is up to owners.

  9. #8
    Senior Member +two's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,555

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Graco22 View Post
    This can be quite common. It is usually due to the dog not liking a particular part of grooming, or it can also be caused by anxiety about leaving your side. When you drop her off, be very matter of fact. No lovey dovey, kiss kiss, mommy loves you, be good baby, etc talk. Walk in matter of factly...hand the leash over, and leave. A few times of that, and she will get much better. I have clients that talk in baby talk and actually say, "I'm sorry baby"...well, if you are sorry, then don't bring your dog to me. ? Right? Dogs feed off of our emotions and our body language. Just as you wouldn't hang on your toddler and whine and cry when leaving them at daycare or preschool, don't do it to your dog. (I am not saying you are doing this, but many times, people don 't realize they are). Also, if there is a part of the process she doesn't like, this can also make them not be ecstatic to come to the groomer. Does she like to be brushed? Like a bath? Like a nail trim? Like the hair pulled from her ear canals? Like the dryer? Like the clippers? Like standing to be groomed? Most dogs have at least one of theses they DON"T like, and that can be enough for some dogs to get anxiety when arriving. Again, acting nonchalant and just dropping them off briskly, can help with. It will take a few time, but you should start to see a difference. Oh, and ALWAYS bring the dog in on a leash..never carry them in. This just adds to anxiety. Use a collar that won't pull off, like a martingale type nylon collar, and if your dog plants em outside, just turn and keep walking..They will get up and follow you as soon as they see you are still going, and they can't slip off lead. The next time, they won't even plant their feet at the door, they will keep right on going and follow you right in. :-) No worries, I am sure your groomers are great, sometimes is just changing how the dog sees things, and that is up to owners.
    +1 this is great advice! Thank you!

  10. #9
    Senior Member LoMD13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    930

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Graco22 View Post
    This can be quite common. It is usually due to the dog not liking a particular part of grooming, or it can also be caused by anxiety about leaving your side. When you drop her off, be very matter of fact. No lovey dovey, kiss kiss, mommy loves you, be good baby, etc talk. Walk in matter of factly...hand the leash over, and leave. A few times of that, and she will get much better. I have clients that talk in baby talk and actually say, "I'm sorry baby"...well, if you are sorry, then don't bring your dog to me. ? Right? Dogs feed off of our emotions and our body language. Just as you wouldn't hang on your toddler and whine and cry when leaving them at daycare or preschool, don't do it to your dog. (I am not saying you are doing this, but many times, people don 't realize they are). Also, if there is a part of the process she doesn't like, this can also make them not be ecstatic to come to the groomer. Does she like to be brushed? Like a bath? Like a nail trim? Like the hair pulled from her ear canals? Like the dryer? Like the clippers? Like standing to be groomed? Most dogs have at least one of theses they DON"T like, and that can be enough for some dogs to get anxiety when arriving. Again, acting nonchalant and just dropping them off briskly, can help with. It will take a few time, but you should start to see a difference. Oh, and ALWAYS bring the dog in on a leash..never carry them in. This just adds to anxiety. Use a collar that won't pull off, like a martingale type nylon collar, and if your dog plants em outside, just turn and keep walking..They will get up and follow you as soon as they see you are still going, and they can't slip off lead. The next time, they won't even plant their feet at the door, they will keep right on going and follow you right in. :-) No worries, I am sure your groomers are great, sometimes is just changing how the dog sees things, and that is up to owners.
    Thanks! I'm definitely not acting overly emotional when I drop her off. I bring her in with on a harness and leash I don't baby-talk her. Usually just hand her over and tell them what I want. She doesn't usually have any anxiety about leaving my side, and has no problems when I leave her for daycare. So I assume it's getting the hair on her face trimmed that's causing the anxiety as that's the only thing she hates about grooming. I guess what I'm really curious about, do the dogs in your experience that act anxious upon arrival settle down once they are in the back and the owner leaves? They tell me she does and that she's one of the sweetest, easiest dogs they do, (Jokingly told me last time if I ever was looking to get rid of her, I'd know who to call). But I find that a little hard to believe when I think about the shaking sad dog I drop off. Is it likely that she's settling down? Or are they more likely just telling me what I want to hear.

  11. #10
    Senior Member LazyGRanch713's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4,152

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by LoMD13 View Post
    Thanks! I'm definitely not acting overly emotional when I drop her off. I bring her in with on a harness and leash I don't baby-talk her. Usually just hand her over and tell them what I want. She doesn't usually have any anxiety about leaving my side, and has no problems when I leave her for daycare. So I assume it's getting the hair on her face trimmed that's causing the anxiety as that's the only thing she hates about grooming. I guess what I'm really curious about, do the dogs in your experience that act anxious upon arrival settle down once they are in the back and the owner leaves? They tell me she does and that she's one of the sweetest, easiest dogs they do, (Jokingly told me last time if I ever was looking to get rid of her, I'd know who to call). But I find that a little hard to believe when I think about the shaking sad dog I drop off. Is it likely that she's settling down? Or are they more likely just telling me what I want to hear.
    In my experience, it's like dropping a screaming, crying kid off at daycare. Before moms car is even out of the driveway, the kid has forgotten all about their troubles and are already off playing with toys. I can honestly say that 95% of the dogs who act like "nooooo don't leave me" settle right down as soon as the owner is out of the picture. The last 5% are usually dogs owned by people who (like Graco mentioned) make leaving their dog at the groomers for 3 hours out to be some horrific, awful thing, and the dog says "OH NOES..." and picks up on it. One woman left her dog here for 3 hours, and when the scheduled pick up time arrived she literally BURST through the door saying "OH BABY, let me get you out of that cage!", made a bee-line for her dog and grabbed him. I couldn't help but think he'd grow up to be a brat, and voila--he pitches a royal fit whenever his owners leave. And they know this, and regret it.
    Same goes for boarding dogs. They usually pace, whine, or bark for about 3-5 minutes, and then settle in. For the most part, dogs really do "live in the moment" and don't spend their lives wondering what might have been or dreading what the future holds. Dude shakes like a leaf at the vets office, and I know for a fact that they are very good to him (I even sneaked a peek at his chart, left open on the table once, and saw "a very good boy" written on it). While he tolerates being handled by strangers, and doesn't growl, snap, or bite, he has that "HOLY ****!" look on his face and doesn't enjoy being prodded by someone he barely knows. I get anxious when I have to go to the doctor, or dentist, because I hate getting shots and I hate getting my teeth scaled, not because the doctors or dentists are mean to me.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Graco22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    1,933

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by LazyGRanch713 View Post
    In my experience, it's like dropping a screaming, crying kid off at daycare. Before moms car is even out of the driveway, the kid has forgotten all about their troubles and are already off playing with toys. I can honestly say that 95% of the dogs who act like "nooooo don't leave me" settle right down as soon as the owner is out of the picture. The last 5% are usually dogs owned by people who (like Graco mentioned) make leaving their dog at the groomers for 3 hours out to be some horrific, awful thing, and the dog says "OH NOES..." and picks up on it. One woman left her dog here for 3 hours, and when the scheduled pick up time arrived she literally BURST through the door saying "OH BABY, let me get you out of that cage!", made a bee-line for her dog and grabbed him. I couldn't help but think he'd grow up to be a brat, and voila--he pitches a royal fit whenever his owners leave. And they know this, and regret it.
    Same goes for boarding dogs. They usually pace, whine, or bark for about 3-5 minutes, and then settle in. For the most part, dogs really do "live in the moment" and don't spend their lives wondering what might have been or dreading what the future holds. Dude shakes like a leaf at the vets office, and I know for a fact that they are very good to him (I even sneaked a peek at his chart, left open on the table once, and saw "a very good boy" written on it). While he tolerates being handled by strangers, and doesn't growl, snap, or bite, he has that "HOLY ****!" look on his face and doesn't enjoy being prodded by someone he barely knows. I get anxious when I have to go to the doctor, or dentist, because I hate getting shots and I hate getting my teeth scaled, not because the doctors or dentists are mean to me.
    Totally agree. As soon as the owner is gone, the dog calms right down, and is just fine. Sometimes if a dog is shaking and being nervous as a client drops the dog off, I take the dog from them (almost always in this case, the dog is carried in...I hate that! LOL) and as soon as the dog is in MY arms, it stops shaking and is just fine. Believe them when they tell you that she is fine once you leave. :-)

  13. #12
    Senior Member LoMD13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    930

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Thanks to the both of you for putting my mind at ease I try to do everything right to minimize stress so it surprised me that she started doing that after about 3 times. After her first time, the groomer asked if I would desensitize her to having her chin held and we worked on that. I wonder if it would help to bring treats in and have her do some easy things like 'touch' while we're waiting.

  14. #13
    Senior Member mom24doggies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    392

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by LoMD13 View Post
    Thanks to the both of you for putting my mind at ease I try to do everything right to minimize stress so it surprised me that she started doing that after about 3 times. After her first time, the groomer asked if I would desensitize her to having her chin held and we worked on that. I wonder if it would help to bring treats in and have her do some easy things like 'touch' while we're waiting.
    Just wanted to say that yes, having the dog do something in an environment that makes them nervous really helps, at least it helps mine. The other day I took my dog to my youth group for the first time. Of course, he was nervous....new place, lots of new ppl, etc. After a few minutes of sit, down, and stay with treats, he was cool as a cucumber and quite confidently walking around with me. Oh, and the other groomers are right, just because Lola shakes doesn't mean the groomer is being bad to her. I see it all the time, and honestly it makes me and my boss feel a little...embarrassed I guess, because the little buggars act like we beat them every time they come in. As soon as mom leaves, they quit shaking within minutes. I personally think it's a show for mom, to see if she'll cave just this once and take them back out. Who knows though, that's just my theory.

  15. #14
    Senior Member LazyGRanch713's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4,152

    Re: Groomers - How do you handle difficult dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by mom24doggies View Post
    Just wanted to say that yes, having the dog do something in an environment that makes them nervous really helps, at least it helps mine. The other day I took my dog to my youth group for the first time. Of course, he was nervous....new place, lots of new ppl, etc. After a few minutes of sit, down, and stay with treats, he was cool as a cucumber and quite confidently walking around with me. Oh, and the other groomers are right, just because Lola shakes doesn't mean the groomer is being bad to her. I see it all the time, and honestly it makes me and my boss feel a little...embarrassed I guess, because the little buggars act like we beat them every time they come in. As soon as mom leaves, they quit shaking within minutes. I personally think it's a show for mom, to see if she'll cave just this once and take them back out. Who knows though, that's just my theory.
    When my agility dog reaches the agility field, he shakes. It's a trembling, tremor shake. It's actually pretty violent for a dog who is supposed to be happy! xD My oldest dog shakes when he sees my mom (whom he loves very, very much)...his ears go back pleasantly, his face softens, his tail wags, and he sits, waves his front paws, and shakes all over. Now, I don't think shaking is necessarily due to happiness to be at the groomer (some are, some aren't) but I no longer believe shaking = fear. I've found myself shaking severely after an emotional moment...good or bad. I think it's less about fear/love and more about an adrenaline rush.

  16. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

+ Reply to Thread

Quick Reply Quick Reply

  • Decrease Size
    Increase Size
  • Remove Text Formatting
  • Insert Link Insert Image Insert Video
  • Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.