How to Groom a Dog That Bites

How to Groom a Dog That Bites

How to Groom a Dog That Bites

How to groom a dog that bites | how to groom a dog | dog grooming

Determining the Cause for Bite

When it comes to how to groom a dog that bites, the first thing you want to do is to determine the cause of your dog biting.  When a dog shows displeasure the animal will growl or snarl. But dogs bite for several reasons during the grooming process.

Dogs will bite out of self-defense (in this case the person is causing harm to them) or if they are in pain. This is the natural wolf instinct in the dog. When grooming the dog you need to be aware that even the most docile dog has the potential to bite.

A dog that has medical conditions such as hip dysplasia or arthritis may bite when the pain is pushed beyond their threshold during the grooming process. If your dog bites, have the animal checked to determine if it has one of these medical conditions, which might be causing the biting problem.

Dogs can be fearful of the grooming procedure and equipment.

Imagine if you knew nothing about these procedures and tools, what would your reaction be when you saw these sharp clanking metals gathered beside you for the first time? Run!!

And in some cases, the dog may have had a bad experience with grooming. Perhaps he had been mistreated before during grooming, perhaps he suffered from those clipper burns and he had associated this unwanted experience with clipping. Out of fear and without an outlet for escape, there is a chance the dog will bite in self-defense.


How to Groom a Dog That Bites – What You Can Do About It?

Preparing your dog for grooming is therefore important for your safety, in a sense. If your dog has a painful ailment, get to the bottom of it to remove the cause for pain. When you decide to groom your dog, start the sessions short and make it fun for your dog.

The most important thing is to make grooming a pleasurable experience for your dog. This will help eliminate fear and let the dog associate grooming as a pleasant activity.

To do that, you would need to make sure that your dog gets accustomed to you touching his sensitive areas (such as their feet – most dogs don’t like their feet touched) as well as to the grooming tools that you will be using.

In our eBook “Advanced Dog Grooming Training Techniques”, we show you step by step how to do this and ensure grooming a pleasurable experience for your dog.

If you haven’t done the work we have discussed, your dog may run away or resist during the grooming process. In some cases you may receive a dog bite.

How to Groom a Dog That Bites?

You may have tried to make your dog to stop biting even after training the animal during a grooming procedure.

Or you may find that it’s going to take more time to remove the fears of grooming from your dog. But you need to have grooming done now because the dog has just dropped into a mud pit and needs a bath.

And the animal is struggling….

There are a couple of “emergency” options to tackle the problem. You could muzzle the dog or medicate the animal – but we think that these options aren’t satisfactory solutions. They should only be done in extreme cases because you can endanger the health of your dog if they aren’t done properly.


The dog muzzle will slip over the nose and mouth of your dog and prevents the animal from biting. If you know that a grooming procedure tends to make your dog snap then the muzzle is an ideal solution. Combing the dogs coat or trimming toenails are two common grooming procedures that can cause a dog to bite. Pulling and tugging can cause pain to your dog.

On the market are several different types of dog muzzles. There are nylon strap muzzles which are simple. These slip around the nose of your dog. Muzzles can be padded so your dog doesn’t have any discomfort when wearing the muzzle.

Other muzzles allow your dog to drink and eat while wearing the device. You must be sure that whatever muzzle that you use is suitable for the size of your dog’s head so the animal has room to breathe while wearing the muzzle.

If you use a muzzle, you can put it on the dog shortly before the grooming procedure is to begin. Once the procedure is over, you should take the muzzle off immediately.

Only use the muzzle when it’s needed to avoid a bite. Use the muzzle as little as possible when grooming the dog. The muzzle won’t make the dog more cooperative during the grooming so you can’t rely on it to calm the dog down. The dog might become more difficult the next time because the animal knows that restraint will be used.

Once you take the muzzle off provide praise and treats for the dog so the animal feels at ease.

You should not leave the dog alone when you use a muzzle. This is important in hot weather because the dog needs to pant to stay cool to avoid overheating. In some cases the dog may try to remove the muzzle and could get injured if the muzzle is caught on something sharp. Try to keep the muzzle on for just a few minutes and avoid having it on for long periods. If you use the muzzle too much the dog may become aggressive as he is restrained and learns not to like the muzzle.


Medication of any kind is not recommended for restraining a dog.

If you must use it be sure to speak to a veterinarian to learn about side effects of the drugs. Dogs are usually calmed with the drugs cloricalm and acepromazine. Some medications can have adverse side effects for the animal. Try to use naturally essences one good one is “Calm Down.” Your local veterinarian can provide you with information on medication alternatives.

To sum it up, none of these 2 methods beat preparing and training your dog for grooming.

For the daring…

And finally, if you are experienced enough (then you probably won’t need this article) :), check out how a groomer groomed an aggressive dog in the video below:

Apart from learning how to deal with a dog that bites during grooming, you’ll also need to discover the proper methods to grooming your dog, this can be found in a comprehensive eBook I’ve created for you to tackle your question on “How to Groom a Dog”. Check it out


Go back to Main Page | Read next article on How to Groom a Dog That is Scared

Disclosure: Please kindly note that the above muzzle links is an affiliate link ( and will earn a commission when you purchase via the link (at no additional cost to you). We recommend readers to do their independent research prior to purchasing any products or services. This article here is not an endorsement, recommendation or usage guideline of the specific product.

13 Responses

  1. Marybeth says:

    This was very helpful. My dog, Boomer, is a Lhasa just like Buddy and displays the same behavior.

  2. charlie says:

    I have a cocker spaniel, he let’s you groom his body but will not allow the groomer come near his muzzle to trim. Please advise.

    Thank you.

    • Donald Lee says:

      You need to uncondition your dog for that. Find what triggers the behaviour. For example, the electric clipper buzzing and what negative experience had you dog associated with the trigger. You’ll need to “rehabilitate” your dog by associating the trigger as a positive experience. Thanks!

  3. Theresa Odom says:

    I have brother living with me because of a stroke so we have his dog here . And I’m have trouble giving him a bath he want let me pick him up are give her a bath because she will bite for blood so what can I do

  4. Judi Letheby says:

    I like how you used the large comb to keep him from turning to bite. I did feel your clippering technique is a bit ruff. I have found a lighter touch and going slow is better. I get a smoother finished clip too.

  5. Alex says:

    Dog has dirty face from eating her poop and long hair and always has a smell problem. She is a rescue and was mistreated and abused. She is hard to even wash let alone cutting her hair. Please help and advise on how I can manage her.

  6. Melissa says:

    My dog will not let anyone give him a bath he doesn’t just bite once he comes back 3-4th times if he bites it ends up being more like a attack. He is a rescue dog and was abused when he was a puppy we have had him 5 years he has never bit anyone but us , he will like something and the next day he decides he don’t like it anymore and attacks. He has a awesome vet who handles him wonderful but we need some pointers on maybe trying to give him a bath . We don’t want to sedate and muzzle him he has a history of seizures probably from the abuse when he was a puppy . If you have any ideas please let us know . Thank you .

  7. Beth Albone says:

    My Scottie pup is seven months old and hates being groomed. He’s fine for his bath, but as soon as I turn on the blow dryer I can see him getting nervous. He’s bitten me while using the clippers. I don’t want to use a muzzle because I think that would make things worse. Help!!

    • Donald Lee says:

      Hey Beth,

      I’m sorry to hear that. Your pup needs to be trained so that it will associate grooming positively. Try taking incremental steps by first introducing the blow dryer without switching it on. When your dog shows a positive behavior towards it, pet your pup. When its comfortable, you can start to switch it on at a distance, and let it get used to the warm air from a distance first. Take incremental steps as well, but don’t push further than your dog is comfortable with. This will take a while, from a few days to a week. And most importantly, stay calm yourself, dogs are good at picking up the energy of its “pack”.

  8. Daniela O'Donnell says:

    We have beautiful dog rescue,but he bit my husband 3 different times,my husband is nothing but love him… We try not to tell anyone because the once we did they said put him down l just cant thinking about it breaks my heart…If anyone has some solution please let me know ..Sincerely

  9. Shirley says:

    If you groomed the aggressive dogs that I groom you’d have no fingers left ,that dog is not aggressive

  10. Diana says:

    I have a 3 month old male shihtzu that nips at me during brushing. When he was 6 to 8 he will allow me to brush him now I have no idea what’s going on with him.

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