As all dog owners already know only too well, every dog has their own individual character. It may be that they are laid back in public but life and soul of the party when at home or it could be that your dog is super excited 24/7 and it takes time and patience to calm them down.
This can mean it's a challenge just getting your dog into their own bed every night or more common, when a visit to the vets or groomers is needed and your dog instead responds as if it's time for some fun, turning the whole act into a game.
Although they’re only playing, during these moments it is likely your patience will be tested and in fact, you may wish your dog was able to stay calm enough just to be able to groom them properly.
We use grooming as an example here as there is no doubt that handling energetic and overly excited dogs can be quite challenging and overwhelming. In fact we’re sure this is something many dog owners may already have had firsthand experience of at one time or another.
If you are reading that and find yourself nodding your head in agreement then hopefully we can offer a few tips when it comes to grooming your overexcited pet.
1. Have a plan
The first step towards a smooth and straightforward grooming session with any dog is to have a plan and agenda in your head before you start. This may include the type of grooming you intend to carry out and the time you think it is likely to take.
Here are some tips for a more enjoyable grooming session:
Keep the session short – a long grooming session will only exacerbate your dog’s energetic state of mind. It is advised to keep the grooming session as short as possible, preferably no longer than 10. Any longer than this and some dogs may need short breaks to calm down.
Carry out the grooming process in an enclosed space - Now we don’t mean bathing your dog in a small and cramped space that may unnerve them but instead choose an area of your home that they feel comfortable in but also won’t want to run away from. This is especially important if your dog is an escape artist as energetic dogs may see the whole grooming experience as a game and by escaping they are actually actively participating in it. So, unless you are in an enclosed area, chances are your dog will find a way to wiggle free.
Use controlled restraint if needed – if you have to work alone, it is best to restrain your dog by looping one arm around your pet’s midsection. It is important to be firm enough to hold your dog, but gentle enough to avoid hurting them.
Break the grooming process up - by this we mean if you need to trim your dog’s nails and bathe them because their coat has started to smell, then carry out these grooming sessions separately. As mentioned already, excitable dogs will have trouble standing and sitting still for long periods at a time so it is best to break your grooming routine down into manageable chunks.
2. Identify cues of unrest
It is always a good idea to try to identify the particular aspects of being groomed that usually makes your dog even more irritable than usual.
This may be when you start to handle their paws before clipping your dog nails or when you first apply the water spray to their back and they begin to remember the last shower they had.
Once you identify these cues attempt to search for appropriate alternatives. For example, if your dog doesn’t respond well when lifted on to the grooming table, try carrying out the grooming session on the floor. If your dog doesn’t enjoy the slippery surface of your bath, look into the possibility of purchasing a non-slip dog bath tub.
Making these changes will mean your dog will begin to enjoy the procedure of being groomed and will put up less of a fight when it is time to do so.
3. Attempt to tire your dog out before grooming them
Now, although this third tip may look simple on the surface, for some dogs who seem impossible to tire out it can sometimes feel like a losing battle. For example, some Jack Russell Terriers have a go-all-day stamina and if bored can turn to destructive behavior for attention.
Spinning in circles, jumping up and down and excessive, unreasonable barking are all signs of over-excitement you have more than likely seen your dog exert at one time or another.
The only way to lower your dog’s excitement is to have them spend their energy physically and it is a good idea to exercise your dog 1-2 hours before grooming them.
Keep in mind that letting your dog run around the yard is not considered an exercise. In fact, this leaves your dog even more excited. Wear your dog down with some physically demanding activities like a game of fetch, going for a run or a play date with other dogs.
We hope you find the above three tips useful. We know only too well how difficult it can be looking after over playful pets and it is important to always be patient with your dog. It really isn’t their fault they get over excited at the slightest movement or noise even if when it comes to grooming your dog this behavior can make the whole task a thousand time more difficult.
By taking slow steps we hope you arrive at a grooming routine that is perfect for both you and your pet.