Does Your Dog Seem Embarrassed After a Haircut? Here’s Why

Does Your Dog Seem Embarrassed After a Haircut? Here’s Why

Grooming is an essential part of your dog's overall care routine, whether you have a long-haired breed that requires regular trims or a short-haired pup that benefits from occasional clean-ups. Regular grooming helps to prevent matting, reduces shedding, and allows you to detect skin issues or parasites early. Plus, pet owners who enjoy outfitting their dogs with clothes and accessories like PrideBites’ custom branded dog bandanas will find that a well-groomed dog will look and feel their best wearing these items.

As important as grooming is, however, you might notice your dog acting a bit unusual after an appointment. Some dogs might become quiet or withdrawn, while others may display increased restlessness or nervous energy. They might scratch at their newly groomed fur, rub themselves against furniture, or repeatedly lick certain areas.

While it may seem like they're embarrassed by their new look, it's important to understand that dogs don't experience emotions the same way humans do. Often, what they’re expressing is stress due to the grooming process or something related to it, which in turn causes these temporary behavioral changes.

In this blog, we at PrideBites will walk you through some reasons why your dog might act differently after a haircut and provide practical tips for alleviating post-grooming stress. Let’s jump in:

Why Your Dog Is Acting Strangely Post-Grooming

The first step in understanding your dog’s post-grooming behavior is recognizing that it can stem from a variety of factors. Once you’re familiar with these reasons, you can better address and alleviate your pet’s discomfort.

Sensory and Temperature Changes

Imagine how you may feel after a haircut—your scalp might feel unusually exposed, and you might notice a difference in the temperature right after you’ve shed your locks. Similarly, dogs may be especially sensitive after grooming. Their skin, previously insulated by fur, is now more exposed, which can feel strange or uncomfortable. This change can cause them to scratch, rub against surfaces, or even shiver if they feel cold.

Stress and Anxiety

The grooming process itself can be quite stressful for some dogs. From the noise of the clippers to being handled by an unfamiliar person, many aspects of the experience could potentially make them anxious.

This stress doesn't just disappear once the grooming session is over. Your dog might display signs of lingering anxiety through behaviors such as pacing, whining, or seeking constant reassurance from you.

Fatigue and Overstimulation

Grooming can be both physically and mentally exhausting for dogs. The handling, the noise, and the effort it takes to remain still can lead to fatigue. After a grooming session, your dog might simply be tired and need some time to rest and recuperate.


Overstimulation during the grooming process can also make them more sensitive to their surroundings, and this can result in unusual behavior as they try to settle down.

Owner Reactions

Dogs are incredibly perceptive of their owner’s emotions and reactions. If you respond to their new look with laughter, surprise, or excessive fussing, your dog might pick up on these cues and feel confused or anxious. Maintaining a calm and positive demeanor will help your dog feel more secure and less distressed about the change in their appearance.

What You Can Do to Alleviate Post-Grooming Stress

Knowing exactly why your dog might act unusually after grooming is just the first step. The next is to take proactive measures to alleviate their stress and ensure they feel comfortable and secure around you after their haircut. Here are some practical strategies to help your dog relax and adjust both during and after a grooming session:

1) Provide Positive Reinforcement during Grooming

Again, grooming can be disorienting and stressful for dogs, but you can counteract this by creating positive associations with the experience. During the grooming process, use treats, praise, and affection to reward your dog for staying calm and cooperative. You can also introduce grooming tools and procedures, like brushing with a pin brush, in short, non-threatening sessions to help your dog become more comfortable with them over time.

2) Create a Comforting Environment around the Grooming Area

It may make your dog feel more secure to have their favorite toys or a familiar blanket nearby during a grooming session. If you’re getting a grooming session done at home, you can create a peaceful atmosphere for both your dog and their groomer by reducing loud noises and distractions. On the flipside, if you plan to visit a professional groomer, look for one with a reputation for handling dogs gently and patiently.

3) Reassure Your Dog

After grooming, spend some quality time with your dog to reassure them. Offer plenty of affection and engage in their favorite activities to distract them from any discomfort or anxiety they might be feeling. Playing a game or going for a walk can help them relax and shift their focus away from the grooming experience.

4) Check for Irritation and Use Soothing Products

Sometimes, grooming can irritate your dog’s skin. After their session, check your dog for any signs of redness or discomfort. If necessary, use calming sprays, oils, or wipes designed specifically for pets to soothe their skin. These products often contain natural ingredients like lavender or chamomile, which can help calm your dog if they’re used in small amounts.

5) Establish a Set Routine

Your dog may find the grooming process easier to cope with if it follows a consistent routine. Consistency makes grooming a predictable part of their life and can help ease their anxiety over time. If grooming at home is too challenging, consider seeking advice from your vet or a professional dog behaviorist. They can provide personalized tips and recommend groomers who specialize in handling anxious or sensitive dogs.


The best way to help your dog feel better about grooming is to understand and address their stress both during and after the session. Be attentive to their needs and implement the abovementioned strategies, and you can make the grooming experience more pleasant for both you and your pet.

To help your dog look spiffy in their new haircut, complement their appearance with PrideBites catalog essentials like dog bow ties, dog jerseys, or dog T-shirts. Start a project with the PrideBites team today to realize your own dream of designing beautifully crafted custom pet products!