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7 Tips to Keep Your Dog’s Head Still While Grooming

Posted by Dog Lover's Towel on

7 Tips to Keep Your Dog’s Head Still While Grooming

Trimming your dog’s face, especially their eyes, nose, and ears, is essential to keep them clean and comfortable, but it can be quite a challenge if your dog is not a fan of grooming. However, with patience, consistency, and the right grooming tools, you’ll be able to groom even the most fidgety dog.

Here are seven tips to help keep your dog still during grooming.

Create a Calm Environment

Before you jump into grooming, prepare your grooming area to be as stress-free as possible for you and your dog.

First, invest in a non-slip dog grooming mat. This will keep your dog from slipping and sliding everywhere during bathing and grooming and save you both a lot of frustration. Staying stable on a grooming mat may also help your dog feel more at ease.

If your dog is overly fidgety or anxious, consider using calming aids. Soothing music is one option. You can also use sprays or dog shampoos that contain calming pheromones.

Lastly, if your dog simply cannot stay still or becomes aggressive during grooming, consider purchasing a grooming restraint for dogs. 

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement means rewarding your dog for good behavior that will make grooming easier. Try to train your dog to “stay” or sit still by rewarding them with a treat every time they do so. You’ll need to hold your dog’s face while trimming, so get them used to handling their face, rewarding them as you go. Try to practice holding their muzzle shut, but never force it. If your dog is okay with it, try to hold it shut for a few seconds, and be sure to reward them.

Gradually Introduce Your Dog to Grooming Tools

Introduce your dog to scissors, clippers, grooming restraints, and other tools gradually rather than taking them out all at once.

Create a positive association with clippers, for example, by giving your dog a treat every time you take them out. Bring the clippers near your dog’s face to prepare them for future trims, and reward them. Before you attempt to trim your dog’s face, trim other areas of their body, and keep rewarding.

Do the same with a grooming restraint. When you first put it on, make sure you’re not hurting your dog.

Practice Short and Regular Sessions

It’s better to practice short, consistent grooming sessions than to try to put a restless dog through a long grooming session. Aim to trim one area at a time, even if it’s just your dog’s chin area. 

Short, regular sessions can help make your dog more comfortable with grooming so both of you don’t dread it as much.

Use Gentle Restraint

As previously mentioned, if you’re going to use a grooming restraint, put it on gently and avoid hurting your dog. 

If you’re not going to use restraint equipment, wrap your arm around your dog’s neck. When you do this, you’ll be close to your dog and able to tell if they start growling. Use a soft, soothing tone to talk to your dog, even when you’re frustrated. 

You can also wrap your arm around your dog’s back close to the tummy area. If they try to squirm out of your grip, you can quickly lift them up. No matter how you hold your dog, do not use excessive force, and make sure they are comfortable before you start grooming.

Work quickly and continually check on your dog. When they try to wiggle out of your hold or off the grooming table, calm them verbally, but avoid giving them treats. If you do, they might think they’re being rewarded for trying to escape. Wait until after grooming is finished to reward your dog with treats.

How to Trim Your Dog’s Face

Before you attempt to trim your dog’s face area, take them for a walk or play with them for a while to get rid of some of that restless energy. 

When you’re both ready to start grooming, let your dog sniff the scissors or clippers first. If there is another person who can help you, ask them to hold your dog’s head to stop it from jerking. Otherwise, a grooming restraint can help. Most restraints have an adjustable metal bar over your dog’s head and a leash-like loop to restrain their neck. Other designs have an extra loop on the rear side to stop your dog from jumping off the table. Hammocks and slings can also work as grooming restraints for small dogs.

Be sure to use low-noise clippers. Clip and trim slowly so you don’t startle your dog, and take breaks after each section of the face. 

Provide Distractions

If your dog is not a fan of being brushed or groomed, distract them with toys before you start. First, set up your grooming mat in an area your dog is familiar with. If that’s not possible, let them explore and smell the area from corner to corner.

Next, use one of your dog’s favorite fluffy toys to rub your dog’s back and simulate grooming. You can also rub the toy across their face to prepare them for face trimming.

Let your dog keep the toy while you start grooming to maintain their sense of comfort and familiarity. 

Practice Patience and Understanding 

Now that you’re familiar with dog grooming restraint techniques to keep your dog still while cutting their hair, it all comes down to patience. It’s going to take time to get your dog comfortable with grooming, and after all, it’s important to recognize and reward your dog’s patience, too. Even if you get frustrated, always be gentle and soothe your dog, and the process will go better for both of you.

Groom Your Dog Like a Pro With CleanTools

The keys to successful grooming are patience and the right tools. The faster grooming goes for fidgety dogs, the better. Your dog should be tangle-free before trimming, so you’ll need to bathe and brush them. A calming shampoo, a highly absorbent towel, and a soft-bristled brush will make this process a breeze so you can move on to trimming while your dog is still relaxed. Keep your dog comfortable, dry, and happy with The Dog Lover’s Towel.

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