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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 9642
Experience:  Service /assistance dog trainer,Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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I have a dog that I recently adopted and he seems to have

Customer Question

I have a dog that I recently adopted and he seems to have fear aggression when it comes to be groomed. He is a poodle, so its necessary it happens. He will let me hand scissor, but to wash and shave his face is a challenge. He will bite, with almost no warning. The last groom required him to be fully sedated (we actually did it after his dental) and shaved down. I want to be able to groom him at home, since he will bite people he doesn't know more readily. I was given acepromazine by his vet, but since it doesn't fully sedate him, I still can't get his face.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the poodle's name and age?
Customer: Bizzy, and he is 5
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Bizzy,?
Customer: No, he is in perfect health
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. This is just a short note to introduce myself or to request needed information for your problem. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today. It may take a few minutes for me to type a personal response or type questions regarding your situation. Your patience is very much appreciated.

Where do you groom him on a table on the floor etc.?

Are you giving treats for each good behavior?

Are you trying to do all the grooming in one day?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I groom him on the floor since I don't have a table. When he is good, I give him a treat..however if he acts aggressive in any way I get his attention off of the grooming by asking him to sit, or lay down as was advised to me by a dog trainer. When he completes that task, I reward him and then resume grooming. I tend to just do little bits at a time, especially with the scissoring since he could really get hurt if he tried to bite them or moved fast and I wasn't ready. I have been able to clip some of his body with the clippers, but stopped before he got too upset about it. I don't mind going slow, I just don't want him to bite me or to make him worse. He needs to be able to handle this, since knocking him out for shave downs is pricey and also not good for his anxiety issues at the vet.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Well rewards are great just make sure they are worth standing there for so something like cheese, chicken or hot dogs slivers.

I would use grooming shear on him as it will go faster.

You can invest in a muzzle to do the body, you can get a groomers sling as this keeps the dog in one place and allows you to do the legs, back and sometimes the face as the dog is a bit intimidated while in there.

I would do one side of the face first and I would ask someone to hole the piece of chicken to the dog and allow him to nibble on it while you work on him. They have smaller shears for the face.

Before grooming do some clicker training with him to get him used to touching parts of his body,

Grooming harness

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know if a sling will work, he is more reactionary if he isn't on the ground.
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Well you will have to do it all very slowly through training daily of touching him. Let him know the part of the body you are going to touch , then touch, click reward. By doing this he will build an association of where he is going to be touched before you actually touch him. He will learn what your touch feels like.

Some dogs with fear aggression do much better when the owner is not around. Have you tried a groomer?

If Ace is not working for you then over the counter melatonin may make him less anxious. But do not give this with Ace. You can give this for a few days in a row before you begin to groom.


I would put him up on something for grooming even if it is a washing machine.

Using a halter collar may keep him from spinning around to bite also an E collar can keep his face from getting to you while you do the body. The face should be done with a small razor made for the job not scissors.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we tried a groomer and he bit her right away. It was a groomer I used all the time with my previous poodle so I know she is patient and good at her job. We will keep trying. Thank you
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

Okay. Then this boy needs a lot of patience but doing things daily . no matter how small will become a "norm " to him and it will be predictable. Dogs with fear anxiety need predictability and consistency from the owner. So if the only time you bring shears near him is when you are going to shave him you become unpredictable.

Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Sally G.