One of the reasons most people take their dog to a professional groomer is because groomers seem to have the amazing ability to get dogs to stay still! The reality is that most dogs become fearful and fidgety with groomers, too, but the groomers have some things working in their favor to help make the grooming session a success.
For instance, groomers use non-slip surfaces. This sort of padding placed on appropriate surfaces (like the top of grooming tables/around bathing areas) really does help a person hold a dog still for grooming purposes. It definitely beats the alternative– slippery surfaces make it next to impossible to keep a dog still. Non-slip surfaces are also noted for helping to prevent fatigue… in a way, the surface helps the dog stay still, which also means less work for the groomer.
There is such a thing as a grooming noose. Now before you get nervous, realize that it’s essentially a certain kind of leash that helps keep a dog still and well-centered on the grooming table– without hurting the dog. Attached to a tall metal bar shaped as an upside down L, the noose loop restrains the dog around his or her neck. It also prevents the dog from jumping off the table. When does it tighten? Only when the dog pulls. Some groomers use grooming nooses. If and when the dog is particularly wiggly, restraints may be used both around the neck and the hindquarters.
The words a groomer uses, and the way in which he or she speaks to a dog can truly help the dog calm down and stay still for their grooming session. Harsh tones make a dog nervous. Gentle ones calm the dog down. With gentleness, patience and rewards, a dog can and will sit still. Rewards are particularly helpful because they help distract the dog– who then chews on the snack and takes his or her mind off whatever else is going on in the room!
Some groomers use calming aids in their salons. They’ll infuse the space with calming pheromones in the air or essential oils through a diffuser. Perhaps they’ll use certain shampoos with soothing ingredients, like lavender. If and when a vet writes a prescription of sedatives for a dog’s grooming session, then the groomer can use those to keep a dog still. Note: only use groomers who give sedatives with a vet’s consent.