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Why do they shake??

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  • Why do they shake??

    I take great pains to make the grooming experience as pleasant and enjoyable as possible and yet many dogs arrive, usually the ones in mommy's arms, shaking like a leaf. It makes me feel terrible. What's the best way to calm their fears? Should I take the dog and cuddle it or ignore the trembling?? After mom leaves they all settle down and act happy, but I'm getting paranoid that the owners think I'm torturing Fluffy.

  • #2
    The dogs won't stop as long as mommy is coddling them, and you will do nothing but reinforce the behavior if you take them doing the same. If the client is concerned and willing to listen to advice, ask them to bring Fifi in a matter of fact way and not make a big deal of leaving them and see if this helps. For those owners that wouldn't dream of doing such a thing to their precious, take just a minute after the grooming to really give them some good attention with pets and belly rubs, whatever they take to the best. Help them leave with a positive vibe. If you have permission, maybe have them sit, lay or shake, some kind of command at the end and give them the treat before they leave BEFORE mommy arrives and gets them all excited. Then, if you can, try to hand them back over also matter of factly. Tell mommy to avoid the baby talk coddling until the dog is at home and behaving calmly : )


    • #3
      Many owners of small dogs teach their dogs to act nervous and afraid. When the owners unknowingly reward the behavior, the dog then believes it is what they are supposed to do. If they act that way when Mom is there, but stop as soon as she leaves, then that is most likely a learned thing. They shake because their owner's reward it, and since you don't reward it, they stop the behavior.


      • #4
        A lot of my small dogs do this too. 99% of the time as soon as I put them on the grooming table they stop shaking and are fine. I just usually laugh and take the dogs from their owner, give them an ear scratch and say " OK, little drama queen, lets go get your bath and a cookie" tell their Mama, "you know all this shaking and trembling is for your benefit so you will cuddle them up, right? They are fine as soon as they get in the van with me" Once their owner understands that their dog is OK and that the poor pitiful trembling is just an act for attention, they are fine.

        What really makes me laugh is the latchkey dogs that I do, and their owner is never at home. They are wagging their tails and happy as can be, but if their Mama happens to be home one day when I go for their grooming, they start the shaking and trembling act. Too funny....


        • #5
          i have two small dogs( Chinese crested PP's) and they are very afraid of new people. I take them to PetSmart and i ask strangers to give them treats, it works with one, but not the other. She was a rescue and is afraid of people. i don't know what she's been through. But i do not CODDLE my dogs. I do not pick them up when they are scared, i keep them on leash. i was told not to coddle them before i ever got the breed. They are just a bit nervous. The younger one i have had since she was 11 weeks old, and she came from a great breeder. Some dogs are just nervous around strangers. I don't think it's right to ALWAYS blame the owners. I do what i can to try to get them socialized. Doggy day care once a week and Petsmart when i can.


          • #6
            I've actually told owner's before that they're causing their dogs to shake. When they bring them in coddling and cooing they're only reinforcing their dog's behavior.

            We have one lady with a dog named Princess Annabelle (yeah, clues you in right there with the name, doesn't it? lol). Every time Dad drops off Princess Ann the dog in on leash and comes in, no problem, no shaking, heads right back. Mommy brings Princess and dogs in shaking and cuddling into her. One time she came in she asked why the dog came right in for her husband but was a nervous wreck for her. I laughed and pointed, and said, that's why!! She's picking up on you cuddling and babying her!! Try just walking in with her and I bet you'll get a very different reaction! Doesn't work with every dog because some are just naturally more nervous, but will work with most, I guarantee it!
            Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


            • #7
              I have always believed that it is a sensory overload. Some dogs when you pick them up, they literally "hum" and "vibrate" in your arms. You can FEEL their energy just all over the place. While the owners are there and they shake, it is the separation that I believe they get worked up about. If they shake during the groom one on one, as long as you are handling them well, I believe it is a mix of excitement. And since that mixes well with fringes of fear, what they exhibit is shaking that can also happen from losing some of their core temp from stress.
              Sometimes they are just so overly excited that they can't center themselves, and sometimes no matter how kind we are,,they are deeply imprinted, not well socialized or have negative memories that they associate with grooming or being away from their owners.
              I still have a few of these dogs, too- mostly the newer dogs that have to decide in their own time and on their own terms that I am not a threat and that coming to see me isn't a bad thing. Some dogs just never can be "won over" in their short visits with us. I think these dogs are mostly the ones who are not socialized (or coddled) and have deep OCD about being out of their comfort zone. JMO!
              Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt


              • #8

                I believe it's they just don't like the grooming, mostly the bath. I tell the people, they are like children not wanting a bath and would rather be laying on the couch with their beloved owner. One of my little dogs I groom shakes because she really hates a bath. But after the bath she's happy. One of the Bichons I do hates baths and the owner says he shakes and goes the other way when he's going to bathe him. I think a lot of it is the owner's coddling but not always.
                Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


                • #9
                  this used to bother me alot too.............but over time, I've realized it's a show for mom or dad. I've explained this to owners, and now alot of my owners say to the dog "ok, quit putting on the show for me"..........what makes me really laugh is that alot of these dogs can't wait to get in to see me, then soon as mom or dad say somthing the dramatics start..........


                  • #10
                    If they stop shaking when their owner leaves, it's most likely seperation anxiety. That's not the same as fear, though. They are simply anticipating the seperation, and it makes them anxious. It's the same thing small children do when they're dropped off at day care. They through a hissy fit until mom leaves, then their fine. And that's how I explain it to owners.

                    If they shake through the groom, it can be a variety of things; cold, anxiety, excitement. Maybe even all three.

                    I do think dogs get pretty cold during the bathing and drying process. Sometimes I'm not convinced the suggested water temperature for bathing a dog is not high enough. They have a higher normal body temp than humans, and I know I wouldn't be comfortabel bathing in the temp we usually use. I'd feel cold pretty quickly.

                    The drying process also makes them cold, no matter how you're doing it. Evaporation causes cooling. The faster the water evaporates, the faster the skin cools. Try it yourself sometime. After a bath or shower stand in front of a fan to dry.


                    • #11
                      I don't agree entirely.

                      My dog shivers every bath time...before I get him in the tub. When I get him in the Bathroom and start the water, he shivers. Halfway through the bath he stops. Same when my wife bathes him. The water is always a nice lukewarm and not too forceful. He just shivers. When she awakens and starts the shower in the morning, he's GONE!!!...downstairs in the living room.
                      Some dogs just HATE baths. Although, he just loves drying off on the carpet all over the house, so it's a euphoric pay-off for all the previous shivering.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JMarti521 View Post
                        My dog shivers every bath time...before I get him in the tub. When I get him in the Bathroom and start the water, he shivers. Halfway through the bath he stops. Same when my wife bathes him. The water is always a nice lukewarm and not too forceful. He just shivers. When she awakens and starts the shower in the morning, he's GONE!!!...downstairs in the living room.
                        Some dogs just HATE baths. Although, he just loves drying off on the carpet all over the house, so it's a euphoric pay-off for all the previous shivering.

                        Welp.... ya ought to meet MY dog. I swear he knows when I'm "thinking" about grooming him. He's usually hiding somewhere before I have the chance to grab his leash. Any other time he jumps in my truck at 107mph, but he knows when I'm taking him to the shop and it's hell getting him in the truck. Then he sits in the back seat and pouts all the way there, shaking like a leaf. He shakes throughout the entire process with his eyes bulging out of his head and the only time he calms down is when I put his collar back on and he knows it's time to go home.

                        He's 11 years old and has never been groomed by anyone but ME. You would think I'm taking him to the torture chamber the way he acts.

                        He is the number one reason why I get so irritated with people who tell me, "Every time I took him to the last groomer he started shaking as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. I don't know WHAT they were doing to him there". **eyeroll** I guess I must beat my dog half to death every time I groom him. Why else would he act like such a big woosie?


                        • #13
                          I get some of these and the owners ask why and I tell them that the dog is eager for their beating..LOL I sometimes laugh because the dog will shake I take it away it shakes more give it abck it shakes less. We have a laugh about it all the time. New clients get educated then we always laugh about the beatings..Some opf my clients will sometimes sneak in and catch me singing to the dogs.. a few have been shocked that I can sing so well (Gee I don;t knwo why I belong to the singing group!)


                          • #14
                            Unfortunately I get the impression that some owners actually enjoy it and this is why they feed into it.

                            Perfect example is a Bichon I did yesterday. Owner brings her in each time and quickly sets her up like a human on a chair in the waiting room. Dog is dressed in clothes like a human, she makes the dog wave at me like a person, etc, etc.

                            The dog screams its head off everytime I take her and the owner stands there boo hooing exclaiming "I am going to cry." Dog is perfect the second she walks out the door.

                            Some people just enjoy putting on a show, drama, and a screaming dog is an expression to them, of how much their dog "loves them," otherwise they wouldnt stand there smiling the entire time while telling me they are going to cry - deep down they enjoy it in some twisted way.
                            Last edited by D'tails; 01-21-10, 02:08 PM.