How to Groom a Dog for Show

30 - 60 Minutes
1 Month


If you want to successfully groom your pup for a show, it takes a little planning and hard work on the night before whichever show you're planning on attending. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you need to groom your pup to meet their breed's standards. You can find this information online, or your vet, or another professional groomer may be able to help. It also means that you need to pay close attention to detail. If you trim Sir Bartholomew's coat, it must be perfectly even, nails must be trimmed back evenly and ground smooth, ears have to be clean, anal glands expressed, and more. Dog shows are notorious for being very strict with their guidelines and standards, so being able to groom and bathe your dog to fit those standards is the key to placing well in the show.

Dog's Perspective

The biggest issue you are likely to have is getting Bart to put up with this level of grooming at first. In time, he will have learned to deal with it. But be patient, thorough, and gentle with him. Use positive reinforcement in terms of praise and treats to help get him used to the entire process. Show grooming can be a long, arduous process, so it's important to work up to that level. 

Caution & Considerations

  • Make sure you have all the tools you need to keep your dog groomed, especially on the day of the show. You may choose to take a bag of grooming tools with you to the show location in case he needs some emergency maintenance. 
  • You can use treats to reward your dog on the day of the show, just don’t use the really smelly ones as this can cause bad breath.
  • Take your time when trimming his coat to ensure you get the cut you need and you don't slip and hurt your pup.
  • Make sure you do your homework so that you know what the judges are expecting to see based on his breed. A wrong cut or look can cause disqualification or low placement.
  • Be sure you use a puppy wet wipe to clean his bum right before the show. This is especially necessary if he's recently been to the bathroom. 
  • Make sure everything is clean right before the show including his teeth, his ears, his bum, and double check that his nails are properly trimmed and shaped. 


The most important part of learning how to groom any dog for show is taking the time to learn everything you can about your dog's breed with regard to what show judges expect to see. Spending several months practicing the entire preparation process will help ensure you and Sir Bartholomew III are both ready for show time. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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