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Do Dogs Like Being Groomed? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Woman drying a pomeranian after bath

Do Dogs Like Being Groomed? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dog parents know their pups should be regularly bathed, brushed, trimmed, and have their nails clipped. However, they may wonder whether their canine companions actually enjoy the grooming process, especially if their pet seems mopey or upset after going to the groomer. So, do dogs like being groomed?

It’s a bit of a subjective question, as all dogs are individuals and we can only make generalizations on their feelings based on their response. That being said, some pups seem to adore being groomed, while others despise the entire process. Then, there are the canines who fall somewhere in the middle—they’ll tolerate being groomed, but it isn’t their favorite thing. But what causes a dog to like—or dislike—being groomed?

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Grooming Is Fun!

Some pups adore the feeling of being groomed. It’s relaxing and ensures they get plenty of hands-on attention while being pampered. What’s not to like? Some dogs even enjoy the feeling of being groomed, whether it’s being brushed out or getting a deep scrub.

Canines enjoy grooming for other reasons, too. One thing many dogs who enjoy grooming have in common is that they were likely introduced to being groomed very early on. Being groomed from puppyhood means a dog is more likely to get used to the experience and have positive associations with grooming. Getting a pup to enjoy grooming is just one of the many reasons why early socialization and having early positive experiences are so vital.

Other dogs are fine with being groomed because they’re comfortable around people, even those they don’t know well. Again, this comes down to early socialization, which includes making sure a dog experiences new people and new situations often, so they learn there’s nothing scary about strangers.

Your pup might also not mind grooming because your groomer is excellent at their job. Good groomers will know how to work with different canines according to a dog’s preferences and will understand when to give your dog a break or be gentler. Don’t be afraid to try out various groomers if your pet seems not to love the first one you take them to!

bichon frise dog in grooming salon
Image Credit: Nejron Photo, Shutterstock

Grooming Is Terrible!

If getting groomed can be relaxing and enjoyable, why don’t all dogs love it? Some pups find the whole grooming experience stressful rather than relaxing, and there are several reasons why.

One of the biggest reasons is that they had a negative experience with grooming previously. A canine might have been accidentally nicked while getting a haircut or had a toenail clipped too short. The reason might even be as simple as getting soap in the eye (because we all know how unpleasant that is!).

It could also be that they had a negative experience with grooming that wasn’t related to an injury. Perhaps your dog was previously groomed by someone who was too rough with them or yelled at them when they got scared. You probably wouldn’t want to repeat the experience if you’d had one like that, either.

Poor socialization can also play a part in disliking grooming. If a pup isn’t introduced to enough people and things at a young age, they could grow up to be anxious around those they don’t know. Add anxiety about strangers to the unfamiliar sensations from grooming, and it’s easy to see how a dog could hate the process. Or a dog might be fine around people, but they weren’t groomed during their puppy years, so as an adult pup, they aren’t used to things like having their feet touched or nails clipped. That can make grooming a disconcerting experience.

Dogs aren’t always anxious around people because they aren’t properly socialized, though. Sometimes, canines can be fearful and stressed around humans because they come from backgrounds where they were abused, neglected, or abandoned. Having gone through experiences like that can make dogs scared to be around strangers or be touched by them.

And for some pups, it’s just a matter of genetics. Certain dog breeds are simply more prone to anxiety than other breeds, so being groomed can amp that anxiety up.

pomeranian dog taking a bath
Image Credit: Evgeniy pavlovski, Shutterstock

 

How Can I Get My Dog to Like Grooming?

You may never get your dog to like grooming, but you can, at least, get them to tolerate the process. Here’s how.

Start Young

The younger you start with your pup when it comes to grooming, the likelier they are not to hate the process. Begin grooming your dog when you first get them, even if you only start by brushing them regularly at home.

Go Slow

It may take some time for your pet to get used to the sensations that come with grooming, so take things slow. This is especially true for anxious canines. You might want to start by letting your pup sniff at a brush. Then, work your way up by brushing only a single area before gradually brushing all of them. Work the same way with any aspect of grooming you do at home with your dog.

Brush Your Pet Regularly

Speaking of brushing, this is a great way to get your dog used to grooming. Not only that but being brushed offers benefits such as fewer mats and tangles, less fur flying around, and a cleaner coat. It’s also a fantastic bonding opportunity for you and your pup!

groomer brushing bichon frise dog with slicker brush
Image Credit: Helen Sushitskaya, Shutterstock

Keep Things Positive

Always use positive reinforcement with your dog when it comes to grooming. Never scold them or yell at them for being anxious or scared! Instead, give them treats and plenty of praise whenever they do something well, such as holding still to be brushed.

Find a Groomer Your Dog Likes

One of the most important things you can do to help your dog better tolerate being groomed is to find a groomer they like. Look for someone qualified, gentle, and patient with their canine clients. Don’t be afraid to try out a variety of groomers, and be open to taking suggestions for excellent groomers from others or reading reviews online.

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Final Thoughts

Do dogs like being groomed? The answer isn’t a simple one. Some of our furry friends likely love the feeling of being groomed and the relaxation it brings, while others abhor it because they find it stressful. A variety of factors will determine where your dog falls on the spectrum of enjoying grooming.

If your pup isn’t a fan of grooming, you can work with them to get them to tolerate the process better. This might take some time, but eventually, your dog should be less anxious about being groomed!


Featured Image Credit: yurakrasil, Shutterstock

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