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How to Groom an Aggressive Dog

While some dogs love being brushed, others become highly agitated making it a difficult process. Luckily, there are ways to make this easier for you. Today, our vets share some signs and reasons behind dogs becoming aggressive when groomed and how our professional pet grooming services in Arlington can help. 

Signs of Aggression in Dogs

When dogs are aggressive, it can cause major concerns for their owners. While almost all wild animals are instinctively aggressive when guarding territory, defending themselves, or protecting their young from predators when people adopt animals as pets it's important to address aggressive behavior with training. 

The signs of aggression in dogs can be displayed in a number of serious ways such as snarling and biting.

Other signs of aggression in dogs include:

  • Remaining still and not obeying an owner's or carer's instructions 
  • Threatening growl or bark
  • Mouthing a person against his or her wishes to exert control 
  • A quick bite that leaves a mark, bruise, or puncture in or on the skin 
  • Growling when the dog's wishes aren't followed 
  • Snarling (baring teeth when growling)
  • Quick succession of bites 
  • Biting followed by shaking 

In aggressive dogs, any of these symptoms may appear exclusively or in combination. 

What are some problems you may be faced with if your dog is aggressive?

Successfully keeping an aggressive dog calm during grooming requires extra caution, care, and training to keep both your pup and the groomer safe (whether you choose to handle the task yourself or have our professional groomers at Crossroads Animal Clinic handle the task). 

For numerous reasons, an aggressive dog may bite or display other aggressive behaviors during grooming sessions - whether they are feeling fearful, anxious, confused, or have had previous bad experiences involving grooming. 

Some dogs have previously experienced situations that made them fearful of grooming. This can result in dogs that try and bite groomers during their sessions.

Tips For Grooming When You Have an Aggressive Dog

Grooming is an important part of dog care which makes training your dog to tolerate these sessions very important. Our professional groomers recommend building a trusting relationship with your dog and following these tips when it's time to bathe and groom your pooch. The less stress any pet endures, the more calm and cooperative they will be. 

Try to start grooming when your dog is young.

Grooming your puppy from a young age (and perhaps taking them to a groomer) will save a lot of stress and anxiety in the future. Puppies are quite receptive to meeting new people and socializing. This makes it easier to train them to accept regular grooming. While older dogs with bad prior experiences aren't typically impossible to groom, you will need to invest more patience and time in training

Remember to use positive reinforcement.

Just as we would recommend positive reinforcement for general training, it is also an ideal tactic for grooming. Offering your dog a treat before visiting the groomer (or before an at-home grooming session) might help them to stay calm. You might decide to give another treat for sitting patiently during their bath and grooming. 

Take your time when introducing grooming.

Until your dog is completely comfortable with being groomed, keep sessions short and make an effort to introduce groomers, grooming equipment, and new procedures, allowing your pup time to become familiar and comfortable with them. Let your pooch sniff the grooming area for a while before settling in, following up with praise and a reward. 

Once your dog can understand the groomer and the equipment isn't intended to hurt them, grooming will go smoother for everyone. 

Use preventive measures when possible.

Some aggressive dogs may not calm down during grooming sessions despite your best efforts. However, they'll still need to be groomed. Some solutions may include special anxiety-reducing jackets (during nail trims), organic and all-natural medications, or muzzles. Speak to your vet about which option(s) will be best for your dog, and consult your vet about any medications you're thinking of using before administering them to your pup. 

If you are looking for professional pet grooming in Arlington to help you out, rest assured that we have the knowledge and experience needed to groom all types of dog coats and work with animals of a wide range of temperaments, including those that are stressed, anxious or aggravated. 

In circumstances where an animal is especially aggressive or fearful, we may recommend sedation during a grooming session. However, most of the time we can manage these types of dogs by doing the things listed above and taking the following steps:

  • Ensuring the environment is quiet, calm, and peaceful 
  • Asking your dog to perform an easy trick or action (such as 'sit' or 'shake paw')
  • Offering treats
  • Taking frequent breaks 
  • Playing music or opening a window. 

At Crossroads Animal Clinic, we always look forward to meeting your four-legged friends and providing advice to help keep your dog happy and healthy. Alternatively, we'd love to take the job of grooming off your hands to get this important task done right, with minimal fuss. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Do you have a difficult time grooming your dog? Our experienced pet groomers can help. Contact Crossroads Animal Clinic today.

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Crossroads Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Arlington companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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