Our new rescue dog is a medium-sized crossbreed with quite a shaggy coat. He will stand quite happily to be stroked and groomed until we get anywhere near his back end. Then he whips round, very agitated indeed, and although he’s not snapped at us yet, I think he might do if we didn’t stop. I’m guessing he has had some kind of bad experience in the past. Would it better to take him to a grooming parlour and let them try? I’m worried the groomer might muzzle him, though, and then that could make him even worse.
STUART SIMONS ADVISES…
There could be many reasons why your new rescue dog is behaving in this way. Personally, before you go any further, I would advise a vet visit to rule out any spinal, leg, gland or other internal issues. Once your pet has been given a clean bill of health, a professional groomer should be able to help you with his groom. Obviously, if it hurts, they will stop. No good groomer will force a dog to go through pain for vanity’s sake. They should instead advise another vet visit.
If, however, the problem is psychological, then a little careful handling and gentle coaxing should work wonders. The more your dog visits the groomer, or is groomed at home and gets rewarded, the more he will become desensitised to the process. You could contact a reputable, qualified behaviourist to help you.
If he does try to bite, then a groomer has every right to protect themselves from a stressed, biting dog. A muzzle is effective protection and shouldn’t make the problem worse, provided the groomer is using correct handling techniques.