Grooming an Aggressive Dog

An agitated dog can bite or exhibit other aggressive behaviors during grooming. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as anxiety, fear, confusion, or poor experiences while grooming.

If your dog had an unpleasant experience with groomers in the past, they may take extra care when they are going to a groomer now. Your pet could bite anyone who gets close or touches it.

Resons for Aggression

If you’re concerned about the possibility of your dog suffering from a traumatic incident from grooming, discuss what’s happening with your veterinarian. Pet dogs may have flashbacks of traumatic events from grooming, such as having its skin burned or nails cut to the bone. Any painful or frightening brush-overs that your dog may have had in the past linked to grooming, such as abuse that might have been committed, could also trigger an undesirable response to grooming.

The dog that is ordinarily scared of new individuals and situations will most likely transfer to groomers and salons the anxiety they’ve inherited. A dominant dog may try to exert his dominance and control new situations and may become aggressive during grooming.

It is essential to not let an aggressive animal control you. It is very important to be certain and firm to eliminate fear and take action to stop your dog’s aggressiveness.

Female groomer haircut Pomeranian dog on the table of outdoor. process of final shearing of a dog’s hair with scissors. salon for dogs.

How to Groom an Aggressive Dog

Give the dog a chance to get used to you. Gently pat the dog, speak to them calmly and do what you can to exhibit and demonstrate calmness in the interaction. 

After the dog becomes acquainted with you, you can proceed to brush him with a grooming tool. let him have a good sniff at the tools first, then work the equipment gently over the whole dog’s body.

You should be able to offer the dog a treat whenever he does good. To ensure your canine companion can tolerate grooming, you must train your animal well. Experienced, professional groomers know that a calm, unstressed pet will be less likely to snap, a trait that leads to a cuddlier experience for both groomer and customer.

Begin Grooming When Your Dog Is Young

You ought to begin taking your dog to a pet groomer when it is still young. Puppies like exploring new things and are open to being taught new behaviors. This will make it easier to train them to be more obedient and consistent with regular grooming.

Use Positive Reinforcements

Many productive grooming techniques are those that are based on positive reinforcement. Reward dogs for their good behavior, this encourages people to continue to be well behaved in the future.

A little treat may encourage your dog while it’s getting cleaned up and waiting for its main appointment. Advise your dog to wait patiently while it’s getting groomed, and afterwards reward it afterward.

Familiarize Your Dog with The Grooming Equipment and Procedures

Trim grooming sessions to a short period of time until a dog is comfortable with its new surroundings. As soon as you eliminate your canine friend’s feeling of dread, make sure you cultivate familiarity between your groomer and grooming tool. Place your pet in an isolated place until the smell of the grooming trailer attained and then award and praise him.

The dog recognizes that interacting with the apparatus won’t cause harm to them, so making grooming simpler for everyone.

Preventive Measures

A dog might refuse to become calm, but it still needs to be groomed. There are various options for managing unruly dogs, including muzzles, medications, or anxiety disorder-reducing jackets.

  • Muzzles: If your dog tends to bite or snap while in grooming, using a muzzle over the offer can make the job easier. Some muzzles are made from cushioned material to avoid discomfort for your pet. There are muzzles that allow your dog to drink and eat while wearing the device. The muzzle should fit according to the dog’s size if he’s going to be able to breathe easily. You’ll be able to place the muzzle on the dog before the grooming procedure and take it off right after.
  • Medications: It is best if you use natural prescription medication and alternative remedies for your pet for the side effects of drugs to be minimized. But, be sure to consult with your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet.
  • Anxiety reducing jackets: Some dogs might benefit while wearing an anxiety jacket while getting their nails trimmed. Like a swaddled infant, this type of jacket helps the pets to feel calmer, less upset, and more snug.
Beautiful young woman puts muzzle basket to her cute stafford terrier in the park.

It can be nearly impossible to properly control an aggressive dog so that its grooming can become a daily part of your routine. The trick is identifying the root cause of the problem and training your pet to respond accordingly. It is possible to tame a violent or unruly dog so that it completely obeys when it comes to grooming. What you’ll need to do is just remain patient and kind, and your dog will soon obey you.

Caution & Considerations

When working with a strong dog, protect yourself and others and, if necessary, put on restraints such as a muzzle.

Make sure leashes and small dog collars are used correctly, and do not cause your dog discomfort.

If you have an energetic dog, give them breaks from grooming when they behave appropriately and prevent them from becoming tired and frustrated, or causing them stress and aggravation, which could lead to aggression.

Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s health or medicine it might require. Contact a professional to get help addressing issues.

When Do Dogs Need Sedatives?

Some pets go their entire lives without needing a sedative. Other pets go through chronic issues related to anxiety, like separation anxiety, to the extent of affecting their quality of life and safety. Many pups merely fall between these two extremes.

In certain instances, it is possible that a reasonable level of anxiety will take place, such as when a vet checkup is carried out or a member of the family adopts a new pet. Keep in mind that some dogs experience short-lived but intense anxiety during the trip, grooming, toenail trimming, or weather.

If a dog’s anxiety is frequent/long- or chronic and significant enough to pose a risk of harm, there’s a good chance it would benefit from sedative treatment.

Nutritional supplements, calming products, cbd or thd oils for pets

Types of Sedatives for Dog Grooming

Regardless of what attempts you have made, if your pet does clearly need sedatives, then you need to go see your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist. As to the decision for which drug to choose, simply consult with your veterinarian, as I have worked with veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists.


Some vets may recommend taking melatonin as an additional-label medication. This medication is also available over the counter and is known to have mild sedative properties. However, just like Benadryl, the drug might not work in the case of severe anxiety.


Veterinarians who do not feel at ease prescribing particular medications or do not regard these treatments as necessary may often begin with a simple drug first. One of these medications is generally Benadryl. Benadryl, also known as “Diphenhydramine,” is an oral antihistamine. It is used to relieve allergies and for motion sickness.

The dosage of this medication depends on the drug’s capability to cause drowsiness and sedation. If you have taken Benadryl before, you may be aware of this drug’s “drowsy” side effects that make you sleepy. 

The common dosage of Benadryl in dogs is 0.5 to 2 mg per pound. Several dogs demonstrate considerable improvement from this medication, and dog owners report that their dogs are relaxed. However, this drug does not actually eliminate the agitation completely in riled-up dogs.


After trying Benadryl or melatonin to no avail, some doctors recommend Acepromazine. Now, this is a more potent drug, but with higher potency comes a greater chance for side effects. This drug may cause what is known as a reverse reaction, meaning it ends up exacerbating rather than reducing the indication. Often, instead of decreasing anxiety, a dog becomes overexcited and belligerent because of this.

General Anesthesia

In the case of particularly serious cases, the dog may need to be anesthetized while getting groomed. This is done at the vet’s office. It may occur in cases of dogs that are excessively skittish or if treatment must be given or need to remain immobile for a long time.

A traumatic or anxious pet may be better positioned than kept immobile for a long time.

Calming Aids and Alternatives to Drugs for Grooming

To be able to take care of your dog, you do not want to overindulge in visiting a veterinarian for drugs. After all, pharmaceuticals may increase in irritation as you may know and may not achieve the heart of your issue.

Studies indicate that mostly drug therapy is not curative by itself. In many situations, it is only supplemental support throughout a behavioral modification program. Perhaps you could find some all-natural calming aids a better option.

Calming aids are simply aids that help your dog feel less anxious, just enough for you to teach her a bit. A calming aid that I encourage my clients to use often is a “Thundershirt.” Other calming aids are products like the “Dog Composure” over-the-counter chew by VetriScience, which some owners say has helped calm their dog down.

They are sometimes advised to bring your dog to a groomer’s, but they are not useful for training your dog to like it on your home turf.

What should you do if the dog is still uncomfortable?

Normally, it takes many weeks for a normally domesticated dog to adapt to being groomed. For this reason, it is critical to provide the dog a relaxed environment in which to thrive.

If you don’t have that time, or your dog is particularly aggressive whilst being groomed, then some sort of restraint such as a muzzle may be needed. 

The muzzle must be the proper size for the dog: a muzzle that is too big or small can result in even more suffering and pain for the dog, which will just make him act more aggressively.

Try to keep cleaning the muzzle on the interval as short as possible. Instill positive associations with the grooming process as much as you can.

As discussed, your third option is to consider some sort of sedative. Speak to your local vet about the right option you should take for your beloved pet. 

-up shot of a once fearful dog, now joyfully wagging its tail in a sunlit backyard, surrounded by children playing fetch with it, capturing the heartwarming transformation from aggression to happiness

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