Lessons from a Dog Trainer on Grooming

With Covid still among us, many dog owners are encountering difficulty in getting their pooches groomed with regularity, but dogs still need a bath.

The next best thing to your professional groomer, is you, the pet parent. Your dog already has an established trusting relationship with you, so even if he or she doesn’t take to bath time, with a pet parent, the pill will be easier to swallow.

Dog Groomer

Why Should You Groom?

Grooming is a fundamental aspect of dog ownership. Just like us, good grooming helps your pet stay clean and healthy, and undoubtedly contributes to comfort. Brushing, bathing, and trimming coats will remove dirt, dead skin, hair, and even some dandruff.

Each breed is a story unto itself with differing needs when it comes to grooming and how frequently you should do it. Some dogs have a single coat while others will have two coats, under and upper. If push comes to shove, you can call your veterinarian or your regular professional groomer to get some tips for your specific breed of dog.

Where Should You Groom?

The immediate thought is “in the bathroom”, however, any room or space will work fine as long as your dog is on a surface where he or she won’t slip during the process. You’ll be using warm water, so a space where dogs can shake it off without upsetting your décor is ideal.

Can I Trim My Dog’s Fur Coat Myself?

Maybe. The proper tools are essential if you’re going to attempt this. The best recommendation is to leave this grooming task to a professional. However, if this is not an option, you should have a shaver or trimmer specifically designed with a pooch in mind. Human shavers usually have blades that are too short and can easily injure your pet when used.

As opposed to shaving or trimming, get a quality dog brush. If Rover doesn’t enjoy brushing, do it a little by little and more often. Make sure to brush in those sensitive spots behind the legs and Pooch’s ears. Pooch may not enjoy this and don’t forget the chest area. 

If your dog loves a good brush, you won’t have any problems and most likely your dog will thank you for it. If, on the other hand, Rover hates brushing, a few minutes of brushing more often throughout the day will lessen the stress, and a small treat for cooperating certainly won’t hurt.

Steps for Home Grooming

  1. Brush the Coat

Little and often is the rule if your pet isn’t enthused at the idea of being brushed. If your dog’s fur is prone to matting, this will help enormously in keeping Pooch mat-free.

  1. The Bath

Bathing will keep your dog’s coat clean, but make sure there are no mats or knots present before wetting the fur. Do not bathe without brushing first as it could simply worsen knots and matting as well as Pooch’s and your mood. 

Use a quality dog shampoo for your breed or for the type of dog you own such as long-hair, short-hair, etc. After brushing, wet your dog down with warm, not hot, or cold water. Apply your shampoo and give your Pooch a good massage that he or she can enjoy. Rinse again with warm water.

Drying Pooch can present problems. Many dogs don’t like hot air pointed at them and hate the noise a dryer makes. Removing excess water with a towel first can help, not only for the water, but many dogs enjoy a bit of a rub down. When drying your dog, a specific dog dryer is recommended and there are quite a few options. Pooch isn’t getting a blow-dry, so the correct equipment is crucial to your success and Pooch’s state of mind.

  1. Cleaning the Eyes

Some dogs may have a buildup of discharge or tears in the eye area. Never trim in this area. Use a cotton pad or ball that has been moistened with water and wipe the area gently in a downward motion. This will loosen and remove caked discharge. If you wipe daily, the buildup can be avoided altogether. 

  1. Nail Clipping

This is a delicate point. Check your dog’s nails regularly. Nails can require clipping anywhere from three to six weeks based on the growth rate. 

One way to know if Pooch needs clipping is to observe your dog when it is standing. Nails need not touch the surface. If they do, it’s probably trim time. Again, you need dog nail clippers, not human nail clippers.

This is, however, another task that ideally is best left to groomers. Should you cut too short, nails will bleed. If nails curl and poke into the paw, see your vet as it may be symptomatic of other issues.

A Final Thought – Rewards

Grooming is a fantastic occasion to bond with your dog if the experience isn’t traumatic for either of you. Treats in the form of attention or affection, as well as a favorite cookie can be included to seal the bond.  

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