5 years of grooming taught me to never underestimate a small dog. They can bite the hell out of your fingers if not taking precautions. In some countries people are still figuring out what kind of beings dogs are, so many of them have behavior issues. Some of them lack socialization, others are just misunderstood. I wanted to share my experience, of working with aggressive dogs. What I have learned so far, is to always seek a problem before getting to work. Here are tips that might be helpful for those who happen to work in the same environment, with full of misunderstood dogs and lost owners.
Before setting appointment I always try to collect as much information about the dog as possible. It helps me to choose the right hour and amount of time for the procedure. Knowing the background of dogs’ everyday life helps me gain confidence and furry friends can sense that.
Meet the dog
No one would like to be treated like a thing, you know. I guess dogs feel the same way. Before grooming a dog, always make sure he/she is comfortable with whatever you plan to do. Always let them sniff you out first and gain trust! Trust is a key to everything.
I never know in advance will the owner be able to stay and watch or leave. Better let the dog decide. If he/she feels anxious without mommy, mommy stays. If odds are different, mommy leaves the room.
Dog muzzle for a naughty one
Restraining method mostly depends on groomers skills. I feel most comfortable to use a dog muzzle. It’s easier to use, less risk to get bitten while putting it on. Muzzle does not grant the 100% guaranty, so be attentive and try to act fast if the dog attacks.
Some kind of relaxants
In Georgia ( country ), groomers use Muscle Relaxants while working with aggressive dogs. There are other, less extreme options to “calm” a dog, and they might bring less or no harm to the organism. Anyway, I prefer to work with a dog and help him overcome this fear and aggression with no pills or injections. It only takes to always keep calm and never give up on a dog.
Is body language important?
Knowing dogs’ body language is crucial. If you know how to communicate, it will be easier for both of you to solve any misunderstanding. I always try to show respect and never grab them wherever I want even if the dog is a sweetheart and never bites. This attitude helps me with aggressive dogs A LOT!
Be like a rock
Just keep it cool and be stiff as a rock. Even when I get bitten, I always keep my emotions to myself. Dogs can feel a leader, so be a leader. Biologically dogs are very sensitive creatures. They can sense our emotions and if you get scared, he/she will never respect you enough. So try not to be afraid.
Always think positive. Look, I know it is hard. I kept a smile on my face when one chubby cocker unintentionally pooped five times on the table and tried to bite me while trimming her paws, so yup life happens. We groomers are tough people so, never forget why you become a dog groomer. For me, it was Tuition Fee and enormous love towards these goofy sniffers.
This chubby cocker who pooped on the table FIVE times in a row pays my tuition fee, he helps me to gain knowledge and “God! Look at her sad eyes, don’t worry dear we all poop sometimes, maybe not on the table though”.
So I do my best to make them clean and handsome because this is the least we can do to give back all the love we receive for free.