How to groom a dog that bites

How to groom a dog that bites

It can be quite stressful to leave your dog unkempt over long periods due to its aggressive behavior. Many dog owners lament their dogs’ resistance to grooming. In most cases, dogs protest against grooming due to an underlying issue that needs to be resolved.

In this blog, I’ll share with you some of the ways you can handle an aggressive dog and how to groom them perfectly.

Reasons why your dog is aggressive to grooming

Dogs can’t communicate directly as we humans do, but if there is any aggression on his part there is definitely a reason for this. It could be a painful grooming session or an abusive past which your dog recalls and doesn’t want to go through the same experience. Another reason could be that your dog is anxious around new people which might cause it to nibble any hand that comes near it.

Moreover, your dog could be asserting dominance in that situation and would try to win any battle against being groomed. Whatever the case, don’t give in to his demands. If you let your dog win in this situation, it will instill a bad attitude which will be difficult to control later on. Let him know whose boss.

Last but not least, I know you’ve might have come across the word Napoleon complex somewhere. It’s a theory that explains how small people tend to overcompensate their small size by becoming utterly aggressive in situations that don’t require aggression. This theory also applies to dogs especially the small ones. They tend to feel more threatened when in close proximity with larger dogs or people. This causes them to act aggressively. Grooming can be some of those situations they are unaccustomed to hence they can react by biting.

Tools needed to deal with the aggression

  • Tables and restraints
  • Long-handle brushes and combs
  • Muzzle
  • Shampoo
  • Dryer
  • Towel

Here are some of the ways you can use these tools to deal with your dog’s aggression

Tables and restraints: Ensure that the table has a non-slip surface since it will be easier to take charge when things get out of hand. Furthermore, alongside tables, it is advisable to use a hip and neck restraint when handling your dog’s aggressive behavior. They ensure that your dog is maintained in a position that keeps the handler safe. However, neck restraints should be carefully placed to avoid choking your dog.

Use long handles and brushes: It can be a bit challenging to handle dogs that bite with your bare hands and a normal brush. This is where long tools and brushes come in handy. It keeps you far from the striking range.

Muzzle: Using a muzzle is a great way to protect yourself from being bitten. You can muzzle it and place a towel on its head to direct it from a bath-tub to a table. Consider using the muzzle while doing other activities apart from grooming so that your dog doesn’t associate it with grooming.

Using medication to curb your dog’s aggression

If you feel your dog’s aggressive behavior is due to an underlying medical condition, it would be advisable to visit the vet. This is to ensure you get the right dosage and treatment from a professional. However, the most common types of medications that could help in this case include Melatonin, Benadryl and Dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP).

In addition, these drugs should be administered regularly since it takes time before their effects begin to kick in. It is not recommended to give your dog medication once they are already anxious. It is best to give medication in advance before your grooming session.

Distract and mitigate method for grooming

Ensure you brush your dog on the regular such that grooming with clippers or bathing won’t be a difficult task. A dog with a clean and tangle-free coat will be much easier to handle since it will be less stressful for the dog. This will minimize aggressive behavior.

Furthermore, you can exercise or play with your dog before grooming to release excess energy. This will leave them worn out and less anxious hence minimizing chances of biting. You should also have the tools needed for grooming within arm’s reach. This will reduce the time taken to groom your dog. If you take too long to groom your dog, it could cause frustration hence making your dog more aggressive. Moreover, you could use a chew toy while grooming your dog to keep him distracted.

Lastly, handle your dog with confidence; do not show any fear while grooming your dog. When they go for a bite, don’t withdraw your hand, this only gives them a green light to go ahead. I know it can be a bit difficult, but you have to stick to it to get the desired results. To protect yourself, you need to get protective clothing that is impenetrable to your dog’s bites. He will soon learn that biting doesn’t result in you backing off.

Cautions and basic tips

  • For sedation, make sure you consult the vet for the right dosage since medication varies depending on the size of the dog.
  • Have an assistant nearby to help in grooming your dog.
  • Long-handled combs and brushes are essential in keeping you safe from an aggressive dog.
  • Even a small dog could cause serious injuries from a bite, therefore you should proceed with caution while handling small yet aggressive dogs.
  • Make sure you use the muzzle for other activities such as walking and playing so that your dog does not associate the muzzle with grooming.


Here are some tips you can use to ensure a successful grooming session. Initially, it may be difficult for you to master the steps but with persistence you will get the hang of it. In addition, you should be more careful in grooming aggressive dogs especially the small ones, since they easily feel threatened. They can also inflict serious wounds just from a single bite. Nonetheless, you don’t have to worry, you can take charge of the situation and put them in their place. Tolerating aggressive behavior by becoming scared could ruin your chances of taming your dog.

If you are unsure about something or want more information on how to groom a dog that bites, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll gladly help.