How to Groom a Dog That Won't Cooperate

By Lauren Herrington

Dog grooming can be a rewarding and enjoyable task, but not all dogs enjoy being groomed. Trying to groom an unruly dog is frustrating for you and the dog, but there are methods for working with an uncooperative canine. Building a relationship with the dog and draining its energy can make the experience much less stressful, but passive methods can also aid the grooming process.

Introduce yourself to the dog slowly. If the dog is friendly, sit on the floor and let the dog smell and examine you. If the dog's owner approves, give the dog some of its favorite treats. Spend as much time as possible with the dog before beginning the grooming process.

Play with the dog if it is friendly and receptive. Give the dog its favorite toy to play with, or take the dog outside and run around with it. If a fenced-in area is available and the dog likes to play fetch, throw a ball with the dog. Actively exercising and playing with the dog will help drain it of its energy, which often contributes to uncooperative behavior during a groom. The more playtime you can provide, the less energetic the dog should be.

Steady the dog with an assistant's help. Sometimes the presence of the dog's owner may help calm the dog, but it can also add to the dog's stress, so use your judgment in each instance. You may need to have a calm, assertive grooming assistant hold the dog still or give it treats throughout the grooming process.

Remain calm and patient. As long as the dog is not attempting to bite you, gently continue handling the dog's body parts even if it wiggles and pulls away. Do not react or speak to the dog, just remain quiet and confident. If the dog becomes agitated or tries to bite you, you may want to discontinue the groom and try again another day, or ask the dog's owner to work on its grooming tolerance at home.

Use special grooming table restraints. Special grooming collar clips can attach to both the top and front of a grooming table's arm, which will help keep the dog facing forward in a safe manner.