How do dog groomers calm dogs? A Comprehensive Guide

Occasionally a dog will be so anxious and fearful that the grooming experience is no fun for the dog or the groomer. When the dog is truly anxious, the owner can purchase over-the-counter remedies that work well in calming a dog. Bach flower essence is available as drops that you can slip between the dogs flews or put on his tongue. Prescription medicines can help nervous Nellies; your vet can fill you in on the details and help determine if it is right for your dog.

Some dogs will quiet down with a towel placed over their eyes or heads; groomers may use that trick to calm down an anxious dog. Groomers also sometimes use a second tether tied around the dogs waist, or looped under one front leg to keep the dog still. Some will resort to bribery, with the owners permission. As a potentially unruly dog stands on the grooming table, the groomer or an assistant will give the dog treats as long as he stands quietly. If the dog becomes uncooperative, the treats stop. Dogs catch on quickly when treats are involved. “We use aromatherapy too,” Edler says. “We usually have nice, quiet mood music playing and lavender-scented candles burning, and we use essence of lavender shampoo. Lavender has natural calming properties and it works well on us groomers as well as the dogs.”

Grooming tables have a metal post that rises above the table and ends in a hook to which the groomer will clip one end of a leash. A slipknot on the other end goes around the dogs neck. Exertion tightens the slipknot, causing the dog some discomfort and making him stop if not keeping him restrained to the table. In the case of an aggressive dog, a groomer may have to use a muzzle. Meanwhile, Birgit Edler, owner of Canine College, a grooming shop in South Florida, says her shop never uses muzzles. “We hate to use them and will avoid them if we can,” she says. “If we find we have a dog that is not safe for us to work on, we will ask the client to speak to the vet about therapeutic help. Anything the vet can give to calm the dog would help. Muzzling just increases the dogs anxiety, and we dont like to do that unless absolutely necessary. We just havent found it necessary.”

Dogs of breeds that require regular grooming should begin the regimen early on, while theyre still malleable. This gets the dog accustomed to a routine he will follow his entire life. When a dog has been coming to the groomer ever since he was a puppy, no extraordinary skills or methods are necessary to keep him still during grooming.

Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.

Wait Until They’re Settled

How do dog groomers calm dogs?

Once you’ve grabbed the equipment and let them have a sniff, let your dog settle down before you start. Sit next to them on the couch, with the TV on (if this is normal behavior), and start brushing when they look relaxed. The key is to ensure that it feels like any other day and experience for your dog.

For some dogs, getting groomed can be a stressful situation. And the experience can be just as unpleasant for you as it can be for your dog. Trying to keep your dog from making a not-so-clean getaway from the bathtub or the dog grooming salon can be so frustrating, you may be tempted to throw in the towel. But despite the anxiety it can cause, dog grooming is necessary to keep your best friend healthy. Unkempt fur can lead to matting, irritated skin and even infections.

“The reward for your dog is leaving a groom feeling great and looking great,” Futo says. “They strut out of the salon with their heads held high. The extra attention they get for looking so great also serves as a reward for the entire process.”

Once your dog and your groomer have established a relationship, your dog will know what to expect and the anxiety should lessen, making the process easier for both you and your dog. You can also help reduce anxiety before you head to the grooming salon with calming products like Richard’s Organics Pet Calm, natural and organic drops that soothe nerves, and Vet’s Best Comfort Calm Soft Chews Dog Supplements, which can be given once a day to reduce stress and hyperactivity.

“Puppies love new experiences, people and any type of positive handling. This early exposure to the sights, sounds and smells of the grooming salon makes for the best introduction to the process,” Futo says.

Dog hair clippers can also be a bit jarring if your pet has never been groomed before. To help get them used to the vibration, gently touch your dog’s backside with the clippers before using them, Futo says. “Animals are smart. Once you trim a few strips of fur, they understand what you’re doing as long as you give them time to warm up to the process.”


Regular grooming of the dog is vital. That includes brushing, bathing, and good dental hygiene. However, some puppies have a high degree of fear towards grooming.

Getting such a dog through the procedure, especially for the first time isn’t easy for everyone. But professional dog groomers usually have their ways with such dogs. So what tricks do they employ?

You can learn to help keep your dog still during the grooming exercise by following the following tips from experts: