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Dogs/Traumatized Shiba Inu


We've had Cooper our Shiba Inu for 4 years now, we adopted him when he was 1. He goes quarterly to the groomers, we usually bathe him at home weekly. We took him to petsmart 2 weeks ago and ever since he was been acting very strangely. The first night when he came home he was shivering, the next morning he was giving his "shiba scream" which sounds like he swallowed a whistle or bird--he has never done this before. Then we would start crying and shaking and trembling. This went away for 2 days then started up again. We gave him a bath yesterday, that seemed to trigger something and he has been crying and trembling, he has been hiding under the bed, been generally lethargic, and acting depressed. He had been eating fine up until last night--last night he didn't want to eat, my husband hand fed his dinner. He slept in our room, but would wake up crying and whimpering every 1-2 hours until he hid under the bed. When we picked him up from petsmart they didn't say anything and even gave him a good report card for his bath.
We are very concerned Cooper just isn't the same, we're not sure what to do.

Hello Adel,

    Have you had Cooper examined by a veterinarian yet? If not, I absolutely recommend that first. Physical injuries are often the cause of sudden behavior changes such as those that Cooper is experiencing, so ensure that you rule out any veterinary issues first.
    While it may seem that the bath at Petsmart caused this behavior, often there are unrelated causes that occurred near the same time. Also, while it is possible that the behavior is a result of a trip to the groomer, the groomer may not have been aware of any problems during the visit as dogs are very good at hiding symptoms. Of course there are unethical groomers, which hopefully is not the case. Talk to the groomer and let them know what is going on, and ask if they noticed any similar behaviors or if anything unusual occurred. If you suspect something is wrong with their responses, talk to the store manager or ask for the district manager.
    If veterinary issues are ruled out and you are certain it is strictly psychological, you can use training to help him build a better association with grooming again. Start out slow by encouraging him or giving him a few treats anytime he is around the bath. Once he is comfortable you can start putting him in the bath without turning on any water. Again, encourage him or give him a treat whenever he is relaxed and calm. Continue making the scenario closer to a normal bath or grooming experience a little at a time as he gets comfortable with each step. If you need additional help talk to your veterinarian, who may be able to offer further assistance or recommendations. Best wishes for Cooper to be back to normal soon!


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Teri Abshier


I can answer questions regarding dog training, nutrition, grooming, and pretty much anything in between. I am also happy to answer questions regarding dog/puppy selection, choosing a pet professional (dog trainer, groomer, veterinarian, sitter, walker, etc.) care, handling, and product reviews. In regards to health questions, I can answer minor health/home care type questions, but in no way can give veterinary advice or diagnose illness. If you have concerns about your pet's health, please seek the advice of a veterinarian.


Owner/Trainer at "All Things Pawsible" Dog Training/Problem Solving. Certified Dog Trainer with 5 years experience using reward-based training techniques. Certified Dog Groomer. 4 years of college studying Animal Science/Psychology (will receive B.S. in Psychology in Jan 2013). I was also a 3 year veterinary technician at both a small animal and large animal facility.

Animal Behavior College Alumni

BS/Psychology University of Phoenix. Certified Dog Trainer through Animal Behavior College. Petsmart Academy graduate - Dog Training. Petsmart Academy graduate - Dog Grooming. Certified Animal Care Technician, Bakersfield ROC. Relevant (dog-related) college coursework completed includes: Animal Nutrition, Companion Animal Care, Animal Emergency Surgery and Nursing, Animal Diseases.

Awards and Honors
Animal Behavior College - Honors Graduate University of Phoenix - Honors Graduate

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