After a grooming (haircut) session, your dog seems to have lost his usual liveliness and keeps himself in one corner of the house, looking sad.
You wonder what’s wrong with him, and what should you do?
Your dog is looking sad after a haircut because he lost his fur, and feels vulnerable and exposed. He is feeling embarrassed about his new appearance. The haircut was against his wishes and he had a traumatic experience with the groomer. You had struck a “negative” feeling on him by laughing at his new haircut.
He Feels Vulnerable And Exposed
Your dog is feeling uncomfortable without his fur and sees himself “naked”.
He uses his coat to keep himself warm and protect himself from the environment and now, without it, he feels vulnerable and exposed.
The hair on his body, which helps to keep his temperature regulated and also provides protection from any biting insects, is GONE!
So, it is natural that he gets upset and feels moody as he tries to cope with these drastic changes.
Try to get him engaged in his favorite activities, such as playing hide-and-seek, tug of war, and puzzle toys to take his mind off his unhappiness.
By keeping him physically and mentally simulated, he will be paying less attention to his appearance and more likely to cope with this change.
Eventually, his hair will grow back after about 12 weeks.
As a lesson learned, just keep his fur slightly trim for his next round of grooming to prevent him from feeling sad.
Traumatic Experience For Him
When you bring your toddler for a haircut, you will likely see him crying and struggling at the salon as the sight of a scissor coming close to his head certainly sends a chill down his spine.
So it is not at all surprising that your dog will feel the same way.
This is especially so if you are not with him during his grooming, and he is left with an unfamiliar face (groomer).
You can imagine the level of fear and uncertainty that he was feeling while he was in the hands of a stranger.
He will probably feel that he had no control over his own life and that could bring about his traumatic experience even after the grooming session is over.
While the groomer would not have done anything malicious, but being a stranger to him, this may be enough for your dog to feel traumatized.
So, you ought to stay by his side during the entire grooming session.
With your presence, he will feel safe and get the confidence boost that he needs. This will ease his stress and anxiety.
Alternative, you can have your groomer come over to your house to perform a haircut for your pet.
He is more likely to feel calm and relax in an environment that he is familiar with.
He Is Feeling Embarrassed
Do you feel sad and embarrassed if your haircut turns out to be awful?
This is what your dog will experience if you change his appearance drastically.
That is, if you are giving him a shave that leaves him almost hairless.
He will start to lose his confidence and feel ashamed of his look.
That explains why he is feeling so sad.
You will likely find him starting to isolate himself in one corner of the house, keeping his distance from anyone in your home, including you, and covering his face with his paws.
It will take a while for him to recover from this unpleasant experience as his hair starts to grow back.
So try to put yourself in his shoes and avoid making any drastic changes to his coating.
Your Reaction After His Grooming
Did you uncontrollably laugh at your dog after he was done with his haircut as he looked so different and funny?
You see, your dog is a “smart” animal and has the ability to comprehend your actions and emotions.
This little action can make your dog feel so sad as he feels that he is no longer looking good, and you are laughing at him.
This strikes a “negative” feeling in him and makes him feel depressed since he not only loses his hair but also your love for him.
He will be more likely to keep avoiding you and staying away from you.
So, avoid this mistake and use a positive reinforcement approach when grooming your dog.
Always praise and give compliments to your dog after he is done with the grooming session.
This way, he will be happy and feel good about his new appearance.
The Haircut Is Against His Wishes
Your dog certainly cannot go against your wishes to have his fur trimmed, but he can show his sadness and unhappiness through his body and facial expressions.
That explains why you see your dog distancing himself from you and looking sad after grooming.
This is his way of protesting and letting you know that he does not want to get groomed at all!
What should you do?
Certainly, your dog needs some level of grooming from time to time.
You can make the grooming an enjoyable event for him.
To accomplish this, make him feel that GOOD things will happen when he does his haircut.
You can make him feel great by giving him his favorite treat, praising him and offering him that lovely hug once he is done with the grooming.
This will make him associate positive experience with a haircut, and he will not be so resistant to getting groomed again.
Effect From The Use Of Sedatives
If your groomer had used a sedative to calm down your dog to perform his haircut, your dog may still be feeling tired and disoriented.
So, it is normal for him to appear less lively (you may have wrongly perceived that as his sadness) when he comes back home from the grooming session.
Once the sedative effect is over, he should be back to his usual self.
If your dog is still showing signs of tiredness after a day, bring him to see a vet immediately.
He Is Just Feeling Tired
Imaging yourself giving your full attention to doing a task for an hour, would you feel tired thereafter?
This goes for your dog as well.
He has to remain attentive throughout his grooming session, which could possibly last for an hour or more and that makes him mentally exhausted.
That explains why he looks fatigued and remains unhappy as he doesn’t find the grooming to be as interesting as he thinks it to be.
He is being restricted from moving around and doing what he wants and this is certainly something that he hates going through again.
What you can do is to work with the groomer to give your dog a break after 20 minutes of grooming and then to continue again after he has done some “stretching” exercises.
This will make grooming a less boring task for him.