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I took my toy poodle today to the groomer for a long overdue session. I knew his hair had lots of mats in it but didn't think it was bad enough to for him to need most of it cut off. The groomer informed me that he was in bad shape so she would have to cut him pretty short. When I went to get him he looked better than I thought he would, but I noticed he was shaking while still in the crate. On the way home and after getting home, he was shaking off and on, even while holding him, as though he was very nervous. He's not normally a nervous dog – very excitable, but not nervous. I think he was probably traumatized by the shaver because the groomer had to shave him so close this time. Any suggestions for what I can do to calm him down? I'm sure he'll get over this quickly, but it does concern me, and I don't want him to be afraid the next time I take him to the groomer. He is almost 18 months old and has been to this groomer several times and has never reacted this way. She is an excellent groomer and has her own private business with many dedicated clients. The reason for the mats was my own fault, simply not brushing him enough and going too long between grooming appointments due to financial difficulty. The groomer recently told me, though, not to worry about the expense; we can work out the payment from now on if necessary.

Now that his hair is so short, I'm hoping to get him re-accustomed to a daily brushing session that he might actually enjoy and not rebel against.
 

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I would use brushing spray, it's a little bit of conditioner in spray bottle of water. Mist the hair before you brush, do that in sections, makes the session go a lot better, also make sure you can get a comb through your pup's coat to the skin when you are finished . My Beatrice has really coarse hair and didn't like getting brushed out until I started using brushing spray. Well she still doesn't, little tasty bribe helps at the end of our sessions helps.
 

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I would do lots of brief grooming sessions with good treats, and get into the habit of brushing then combing right down to the skin, a bit at a time at first but building up to all over. As your groomer sounds very helpful, I would ask if you could take your dog in for quick social sessions - in, say hello, a treat from the counter, and out again, as often as you and they can manage. Several short sessions at the groomers are much easier for him to cope with than one huge one, as you realise, so setting up a payment plan and taking him both frequently and regularly will be much easier on his nerves.
 

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I agree with both twyla and fjm, but also would add that you want to make sure you are doing regular maintenance grooming properly. You have to get all the way to the skin. In addition to having social drop ins at the groomer you may want to see if they can show you how to do proper combing so you don't end up with mats like that down the road.
 

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Thank you for your suggestions. I have been using a detangling spray purchased from the pet store just before combing his hair. It helps a lot with the tangles, but I can also try using some conditioner mixed in water and see how that works. It might be just as effective and less expensive. I like your ideas of taking him to the groomer just to say hello or for very brief sessions.
 

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The reason why I home groom - as a complete novice to grooming - is that in my personal opinion the preparations for accepting a professional groom are so extensive that I might as well do it myself. When you drop off your dog at the groomers they have to know what to expect, be used to the length of the session, be used to having every single part of their body handled by a stranger way beyond their comfort zone, be used to have their ears plucked (unless you can talk your groomer out of it), be used to the very loud noise of high velocity dryers, be used to being around other dogs that may show serious signs of stress (the ones that do not receive grooming training at home) be used to strange equipment and strange smells etc.
If you don't prepare your dog for the quite intense stress of the grooming environment - trauma is unavoidable because it is akin to plunging your non-swimmer kid into the deep end at the pool.
I am friends with many very successful groomers - believe me they HATE working on shaking and terrified dogs and they HATE having to do a shave down - which is very uncomfortable for the dog and for the groomer as well. You HAVE to start with daily short grooming sessions - mimicking and doing all the things that you expect will happen at a grooming salon. For dog grooming noises that are hard to replicate at home - I would suggest playing YouTube videos of Grooming Competitions at very high volume at your home. Table training, Holding still while standing, handling sensitive body parts, having their nails dremmeled, de- matting, blow drying, brushing out and clipping (all parts including face!) and especially building up the length of a full groom is absolute key and your responsibility towards your dog. You should also schedule many short visits to your groomers (and you should expect to tip for them) without an actual groom so your dog gets a chance to build a relationship with every person at the shop that may groom them. I have spent a lot of time in grooming salons - hanging out with my friend who is the owner and seeing them work and being taught how to groom my dog. They LOVE dogs - they LOVE grooming and they are devastated when the dogs are terrified of them. They are under immense time pressure and have only so much time to re-assure your dog and know when it is completely hopeless. I have seen dogs fall apart the minute the owner leaves without any chance of recouping, because those dogs have had zero training for this situation. I am a passionate home groomer but I really feel for the professionals who have an unachievable task in front of them. Please start training - it is part of a Poodle's life. I don't envy you for the work of undoing the damage - it will take some time. Please ask questions here - there are loads of knowledgable people in this forum and don't be shy to ask your groomer to help - they want a good relationship with you and your dog - it makes their life so much easier!
 

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I’m sorry your baby had such a rough time at the groomer’s.

I only had my male done twice by two different groomers, then I learned to do it myself. My dog is very anxious and he does way better when I do him. He trusts me and he is easy to do.

When I got my female, since I had already taught myself with my male, I did her too. She was a puppy so I made sure she learned to accept grooming very fast. She is also excellent at being groomed. Both are very easy.

The only thing I don’t like doing are nails. I did them with a dremmel for a while, but then my male started freaking out so I stopped. I take them for nails every 3 weeks.

So, in conclusion, I have no special talent whatsoever with hair or grooming and I manage to do a pretty decent job. I save at least 800$-1000$ a year in grooming fees. If I can do it, so can you !
 

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sorry to hear this. unfortunately having matts clipped off can be really traumatic and some dogs seem relieved and others are left stressed. also they will feel a considerably cooler. its always best to prevent this by grooms every 4-6 weeks and daily brushing with a slicker and comb.
 
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