If you knew there were tools and techniques available to reduce anxiety in the pets you groom, would you try them? Calm, secure pets are happier and easier to work on. They tend to dance and wiggle less while we groom them, reducing the chance of accidental injuries. And peaceful pets are simply more pleasant to be around.
If you know a dog is nervous about the grooming process, try to schedule its visit to be with you for the shortest time possible. Waiting around in a crate can rachet up some pets' anxiety levels. While they are in a cage, make sure they have a comfortable pad, blanket, or towel to lie on. Some pets are further soothed by partially covering their crate with a towel to reduce the amount of activity they see in their surroundings and make them feel as if they are in a safe den. Wearing a Thundershirt while waiting to be groomed can take a high-strung dog's anxiety level down several notches. Thundershirts work by gently "hugging" the pet from neck to tail, a sensation that many dogs find to be very soothing.
Studies show that many dogs respond positively to soft, classical music playing. Try tuning in and see if you notice a difference in the pet's demeanor.
Many experienced groomers use and recommend pheromone sprays and scents in the grooming environment to help keep pets feeling chill. Humans can't smell it, but the appeasing pheromones can have a noticeable effect on some pets.
Have you ever experienced a small dog that gets so wound up it thrashes itself around in a panic? Try keeping a few sizes of these collars on hand. Sometimes putting one on a pet magically calms it down long enough to complete the groom.
Pets that are safely and comfortably restrained for grooming often respond by relaxing. They seem to understand that they are snug and under control. One of the most amazing tools to help pets sense this security is the Groomers Helper. Used by thousands of groomers worldwide; this tool helps prevent dogs from stepping off the table by securely anchoring the grooming loop at a secondary point under the dog's chin. When used correctly, dogs cannot spin or twist, yet no pressure is put on their neck or throat.
Keeping pets secure in the bathtub is also essential. Groomers are excited about new Jelly Pet grooming loops. They are adjustable to fit multiple sizes of pets, are mold, and mildew resistant, water repellent, and they come in fun colors, too. The soft, flexible texture of the material makes for a safe, chew-proof loop to keep wet pets in place.
The sound of a high-velocity dryer can make even calm pets worried. If you are working on a dog that gets upset by the dryer, use a variable speed dryer on "low," remove the concentrator nozzle and if the pet is small, try drying it in your lap. Having a very quiet dryer on hand to get those sound-sensitive pets dry is a good idea. This one gets rave reviews from groomers, pet owners, and dog show enthusiasts alike.
No matter which dryer you use, consider using Happy Hoodies while you dry. These soft, absorbent fabric tubes fit snuggly around dogs' heads to reduce loud environmental sounds such as dryers. They also absorb moisture from a freshly bathed pet, reducing the time spent drying that area, something few pets enjoy.
Dogs that feel safe and secure while being groomed are calmer, happier dogs. Try these tools and tips to lower grooming anxiety.