Is your Bulldog always giving a fight during groom time? To be fair, grooming isn’t the most comfortable experience for canines. The water may feel cold, or your pooch isn’t used to being restrained for long periods. Also, nervous dogs may not take grooming lightly, which will end you up with scratches and bites. To prevent this from happening, you should know how to calm your dog for grooming.
Take note that calming your dog is crucial whether you’re grooming it at home or bringing the pooch to a groomer. This will make the process much easier for everyone while saving the pooch from unnecessary stress.
Below, I discuss why dogs become agitated during groom time and what you can do about it.
Why do Bulldogs fight back during groom time?
Aggression during grooming is often related to fear and anxiety. Bulldogs that aren’t used to the stimuli will react harshly even if well-trained and behaved at home.
Also, the confusion of being handled by a different person can make your dog react negatively. Pair that with the smell of grooming products and the sound of a fur dryer – your Bulldog will be overwhelmed.
Moreover, a previous negative experience with grooming can also be the culprit. For example, if your Bulldog got a bad clipper burn on its previous grooming session, it will become agitated by the sound of the tool. And due to extreme fear, your canine will try everything to escape, even if that means attacking the groomer.
Even a well-mannered Bulldog can exhibit harsh behavior when placed in stressful and scary situations. And if you think about it, this is the same thing with humans.
The goal here is to help your Bulldog acclimate to the grooming stimuli. Also, a change of groomer might be the solution you’re looking for. But whatever your choice is, calming your pet for grooming remains necessary.
How to calm your dog for grooming
Handling a nervous and aggressive while grooming isn’t easy. You have to know calming ways to help the pooch tone down, which will be more cooperative during groom time.
Here are some tips that will help you calm down a nervous Bulldog before grooming:
✔️Let your Bulldog be familiar with the grooming tools
If you’re grooming your dog at home, you should let the pooch sniff and lick the tools first. This will allow your Bulldog to become familiar with the tools. It will help reduce anxiety and fear once you’re on the course of grooming.
For example, if your Bulldog is scared of clippers, let the pooch sniff and lick it. Once your doggo is relaxed in the presence of the tool, you can try turning it on. Do this until your Bulldog is fully acclimated to the sound of the grooming tool.
✔️Give your Bulldog a fun playtime
Another way to calm a dog before grooming is by giving it fun playtime. You can play tug and fetch with your Bulldog to drain its excess energy. By the time you’re grooming, your pooch won’t have the energy to resist and fight back.
When it comes to Bulldogs, you should opt for low-impact exercises. Avoid forcing your Bulldog to jump off elevated spaces because it will tax its knees.
But before you start grooming, make sure that your Bulldog isn’t overexcited. Let your pooch tone down for 5 minutes before grooming starts.
✔️Take a short walk
If your Bulldog tends to get overexcited, you can stick to short walks around the neighborhood. Bulldogs only need moderate exercise, so that a 30-minute walk would suffice.
This will drain your dog’s energy, similar to the effect of playtime. However, you should avoid taking your Bulldog outdoors if it’s too hot or too cold. Due to their short coats, Bulldogs aren’t very tolerant of extreme temperatures.
✔️Massage your Bulldog
Another thing you can do before grooming your dog is giving it a nice massage. A full-body massage will help calm an anxious Bulldog, but you have to do it right.
Petting your dog gently from head to paw will be a good start. You should also pay close attention to the ears, toes, and bum. Try doing this where you’re planning to groom your dog so that it will associate the area with a positive experience.
✔️Consult the vet about sedatives
Lastly, you can consult your Bulldog’s vet about using sedatives. Take note that you should never administer sedatives to your canine without the guidance of a veterinarian. Doing so will expose the doggo to potential harm.
Depending on the intensity of your Bulldog’s anxiety as well as sedative tolerance, the vet may prescribe the following:
All of these are oral sedatives that require a vet prescription. There are other sedative options like injectable types, which are easier to administer.
Moreover, you should use sedatives sparingly as this could have negative side effects if used in high doses repetitively.
If you’re bringing your Bulldog to the groomer, you should ask if there’s an in-house vet that would administer the prescribed type to your pet.
✔️Play soothing music while grooming
While grooming your Bulldog, you can play soothing music to help it calm down. There are many soothing music for canines compiled online, which you can access for free. You can try playing different sounds and see which one your doggo will respond to positively.
✔️Give your Bulldog a few breaks
Dogs are like kids; they don’t want to be restrained for long periods. It will help to let your Bulldog have a break after two to three minutes. This will teach the canine that grooming isn’t equivalent to jail time.
This tip is most helpful if you’re taking the Bulldog to a groomer. You can ask the groomer if he or she can let go of your dog for a minute, so you can pet or reward it with some treats.
This may take the grooming session much longer than intended, but it’s better than rushing and having an anxious dog.
✔️Stay calm and patient
Dogs can sense our feelings. If you feel anxious or angry while grooming, your pet will exude the same energy. As much as possible, try to keep grooming time fun, light, and positive.
If your Bulldog isn’t cooperating, raising your voice won’t help. Doing so will only agitate the canine even more, which is something you don’t want to happen during grooming time.
✔️Provide delicious rewards
Bulldogs are highly food-drive canines, so food rewards would surely go a long way in keeping them calm. In fact, you can also provide calming treats to your pooch, which can be bought commercially. Most of these treats are either mixed with chamomile, CBD, or a combination of both.
Moreover, food rewards will also help your Bulldog associate grooming with a positive experience. However, you should never overindulge a Bulldog with treats as they can easily gain excess weight.
✔️Keep grooming short
Can you imagine a toddler staying still for a whole hour? Of course not. Dogs are pretty much the same. Your Bulldog will get impatient over the long period of restraint, which will result in aggressive and uncooperative behavior.
It’s important to finish grooming even before your Bulldog becomes agitated. If this is your first time grooming your pet, you should stick to short sessions until the pooch gets used to it.
Lastly, you can use aromatherapy to help your Bulldog calm down. However, you should be extra careful as many essential oils and scented candles used in aromatherapy are harmful to canines.
You should never diffuse the likes of tea tree, pine, cinnamon, and wintergreen. These are toxic and can cause irritations to your Bulldog.
On the other hand, it’s much better to stick to lavender, chamomile, and frankincense. Nevertheless, you should still consult your dog’s vet to confirm if your choice of aromatherapy oils is safe.
Aside from that, you can pair the aromatherapy with relaxing music. This will also help you calm down in case your Bulldog gets uncooperative during groom time.
Added points when bringing your Bulldog to a groomer
Even if you’re bringing your Bulldog to the groomer, it’s still important to keep the pooch calm. Here are some of the tips to keep in mind:
🐶Find a friendly groomer
The very first thing you should do is find a groomer that’s friendly enough to accommodate your nervous Bulldog. Then, ask if the groomer will allow you and your dog to drop by for ‘training visits’.
During these visits, you’ll let your dog sniff around the groomer’s salon. No actual grooming will be done since this phase is intended to get your Bulldog accustomed to the sights and sounds of professional grooming. Of course, food rewards will be a big help here.
🐶Be mindful of the car ride
Aside from that, you should get your Bulldog used to take car rides. Sometimes, anxiety and stress start even before your pet reaches the groomer due to car sickness. You can easily prevent this by training your dog and taking him to slow rides around the neighborhood.
Moreover, you should start this as early as possible, so your Bulldog won’t find car rides dreadful. You should also bring your pet’s favorite toy or blanket for added comfort.
🐶Request for special equipment
If your Bulldog gets nervous at the sound of a clipper, you can request a groomer to use a quieter one. Most grooming shops have this option. They also use earmuffs for canines to muffle the noise of the grooming tools.
🐶Start at home
Even if you’re going for professional grooming, it’s still important to get your Bulldog used to the stimuli at home. The simple act of brushing your dog’s coat, touching its ears, or applying dry shampoo will help in keeping the canine calm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do groomers deal with difficult dogs?
A: Groomers are trained to deal with difficult dogs. They use various restraints to prevent biting and other aggressive behavior. Groomers know that aggressive dogs during grooming time are often scared. The most experienced groomers are very tolerant and will know how to calm a nervous canine.
Q: Why is my dog shaking after grooming?
A: There are two possible reasons why Bulldogs shake after grooming: they feel chilly, or they are afraid. Both are negative feelings that you should avoid. Since Bulldogs get cold easily, you should use lukewarm water. You should also keep bath times short. For nervous canines, you must know calming methods to make grooming time less scary.
Q: Do groomers use tranquilizers?
A: Dog groomers are not allowed to administer sedatives unless there’s a present veterinarian. Also, the sedative must be prescribed by your Bulldog’s vet and not just given randomly by a groomer. Finally, remember that Bulldogs are very sensitive when it comes to sedatives and anesthesia. This is why you should be careful in administering any drug to calm down your nervous canine.
Q: Should I muzzle my dog for grooming?
A: For the most part, it’s not necessary to muzzle a Bulldog for grooming. However, if the pooch is being aggressive and uncooperative, a muzzle will be a big help. However, this should only be a temporary solution. You need to train your Bulldog to get used to grooming so that it won’t display rough behavior.
Q: What to do if your dog bites the groomer?
A: Most groomers know how to handle aggressive dogs. But if your Bulldog bites the groomer due to fear, you may need to think about a few aspects. For dogs with no history of aggression, the groomer can’t sue you. However, if the groomer proved that your canine is untrained and aggressive, you could face legal charges.
Knowing how to calm your dog for grooming is a superpower every pet owner should know. This will save you from nasty scratches as well as a loud howling at the grooming shop. The good news is that there are many options you can try to see what works best for your canine.