Tips for Dogs that Have a Bad Time at the Groomers

Tips for Dogs that Have a Bad Time at the Groomers

Last update: 14 June, 2018

Strangers, other dogs, or unfamiliar objects– scissors, clippers, or hairdryers– can cause stress and nervousness when at the groomers.

Although they leave beautiful, fresh, and clean, there are dogs that have a bad time at the groomers. If your dog cries, gets stressed out, and tries to run away, this might be your case. We are going to give you a few tips on how to make the experience a little more bearable.

Dogs that have a bad time at the groomers

In the eyes of a dog, the groomers is a very weird place; a stranger touches them all over their body and uses odd instruments like scissors or clippers. They lift their tail, touch the insides of their ears, rinse them and rub them. And to top it all off, the hairdryer is very uncomfortable and noisy.

Therefore, it’s understandable that there are dogs who have a bad time at the groomers. Every dog reacts differently, but the most common reaction is lying down and shaking in fear, trying to flee, or wanting to attack the groomer to defend themselves. But the experience does not have to be so unpleasant. We can try to minimize discomfort with these tips:

dogs that have a bad time at groomers

Identify what makes him have a bad time

The first thing that we must do is identify which part of the experience makes the groomers so traumatic. If this part is not necessary, we solve most of the problem by simply eliminating it.

For example, there are people who stay at the groomers waiting for them to finish washing the dog. However, the owner’s presence makes the animal nervous. If the owner leaves the place or is out of sight, a lot of the stress disappears. Similarly, there are dogs that don’t want to be alone with the groomer. If we stay with our dog, he will have a better time.

For many dogs, the hairdryer is the worst part. The hot air feels unpleasant on their skin, and most of the dryers make a loud noise. You can ask the groomer to stop using the hairdryer, and then go on a good walk after the bath so that your dog dries well. That way you can avoid the major cause of stress.

Maybe the dog doesn’t like being touched under his paws or having his ears lifted. At home, by using games, rewards, and petting, you can show him little by little that it’s not bad to be touched. However, if the groomer is the only person to lift his paws or touch his fingers in his life, of course he’s not going to like it when they do this!

nervous dog at groomers

In contrast, there are dogs that won’t even step inside the groomers. When they realize that they are going down the street where it is, they slow down, try to escape or refuse to walk. In these cases, you can do a few things to change your dog’s negative image of this place:

  • Don’t go down that street only when going to the groomers. Incorporate it into the usual walks. The first couple times the dog won’t want to walk down it: don’t force him. Go little by little, have patience, don’t scold him, and respect when he decides to turn around.
  • Start to create positive experiences on that street. Show him a toy that he likes, throw him treats on the ground, encourage and praise him when he decides to walk down the street.
  • When the street isn’t a problem anymore, go into the groomers to do other pleasant things. You can go inside to give him a reward or say hi to the groomer. 

With these steps and a bit of patience, the anxiety associated with the place will go away. Along with it, the rest of the nervousness, fear, or anxiety when passing by a bathtub will also go away.

These are only some examples of the things that dogs think about. Each animal is unique and nobody knows him better than his human family. Observe your pet and see how he reacts to situations in order to understand the reason why he’s having a bad time. That way, you can eliminate or ease it.

Grooming at home

If the dog’s problem is the groomers itself, the smell of other dogs, or the sound of other hairdryers, you can do grooming sessions at home. There are professional groomers that can come to your house or you can learn to wash your dog yourself. 

grooming at home

Washing at home is done in a familiar and calm environment. Furthermore, it’s easier to adapt to the dog’s rhythm in order to not stress him out even more. You will avoid foreign places, strange smells, and the presence of other people or animals that could cause unease or fear.

Low stress grooming

In some cities, low stress groomers are emerging. At these places, the groomers know dog language, and therefore they understand if they are comfortable or nervous. They know how to calm them down, and they take all the time they need for their bath or haircut.

Look to see if you have one of these groomers nearby, and talk to the people in charge to know if they could adapt to your dog. See if he likes that place more, or if he continues to be very nervous.

Although washing dogs frequently is bad for their hair, and there are some dog breeds whose hair should not be cut, there are dogs that have a bad time at the groomers. Follow these tips to make this experience a bit more bearable for your pet.


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.