How to Groom a Large, Independent Dog

Easy
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

When the time comes for you to groom your large, independent dog, does hw make life difficult or is grooming him a breeze? Grooming should never be difficult, yet it can take a while for a truly independent dog like yours to calm down enough to actually enjoy being groomed to look his best. Keep in mind that at least one method involves a bath, but you do not need to give your dog a bath every week. Most breeds should not be bathed excessively as this can strip the natural oils from their coats and skin. 

Dog's Perspective

Most dogs operate under the impression they take care of their own grooming. They lick and chew to remove dirt and debris, then call it good. In the wild, their nails need to be long for the hunt. But at home, you will not only need to give your pooch a bath when he needs one but also keep his coat trimmed and his nails cut back. 

The Warm Bath Method

Effective
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Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Comb
Clipper
Nail File
Toothbrush
Step
1
Lay it all out on the line
Start by choosing where you are going to be grooming (be sure to use the same room each time). Lay out all of the tools you plan to use so that when you bring Fido in he can see them.
Step
2
Scrubby time
Run a nice lukewarm bath for your best bud, grab his favorite shampoo (make sure it's vet-approved) and give him a good bath. Make sure you wash out all of the dirt, debris, bugs, parasites, and more. Then rinse him thoroughly to remove any and all shampoo residue. Leaving any in his coat or on his skin could lead to irritation.
Step
3
Coat, meet your brush
Time to break out the brush and, working in the direction the hair is growing, start at the top of your dog's head and work your way down his neck, across his back, and down his sides. Brush his rump and tail, being gentle around his private areas. Finally, have him lie down so you can brush his belly.
Step
4
Nails next
Using the appropriate nail clippers (clippers for smaller dogs, guillotine style for larger dogs), trim each paw. Be sure not to cut into the quick as this is painful and causes bleeding. With clear nails, you can see where the quick ends. With dark nails, you may need to cut them back gradually. Keep a styptic powder or some corn starch handy in case you hit the quick, this will help stem the flow of blood and seal the end of the nail. Also, make sure you cut his dew claws at the same time.
Step
5
Teeth
This can be a bit challenging at first. Start out by grabbing a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Place a small dab of toothpaste on your finger for your pup to taste and then start by brushing his molars inside and out, don't forget those way in the back. Then brush his front upper and lower teeth to finish up. (You should be brushing his teeth every day.)
Recommend grooming method?

The Bath-Free Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail File
Toothbrush
Step
1
Brush it out
You should not bathe most dogs every week, in fact, you should check with your vet to see how often you should bathe yours based on his breed. Depending on the length of his coat, you can use a pin brush, a slicker brush, or a comb to work through his coat the first time. Start at his head and following the grain of his coat, brush around his face, neck, and muzzle. This is a great time to use a pair of shears to trim his beard and around his eyes as needed.
Step
2
Neck, chest, and back
Brush out his neck, chest, shoulders, back, and sides. You can use clippers or shears to trim his coat as needed. Remember to brush and trim in the direction his hair grows as this will help his coat lay properly.
Step
3
Tail, rump, and belly
While trimming his rump, tail, and belly, you need to be especially careful as these areas are particularly sensitive. The skin in these areas is very thin and easily injured.
Step
4
Paws up
Time to trim the hair between the pads of the paws and inspect them for any signs of damage or injury. Trim the hair between his toes as needed and then trim his nails. Take care not to cut into the quick of his nails as this can be painful. (Keep some styptic powder on hand just in case.)
Step
5
Fangs for the memories
You should be brushing your dog's teeth every day, but at the very least once a week. Use vet-approved toothpaste and a doggy toothbrush. Make sure you get those molars way in the back and the inside of all teeth. Now you have a happy, smiling, and drop dead gorgeous pooch ready to go out and take on the world.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Always brush or comb in the direction your dog's hair grows to keep it laying down properly.
  • Use rounded-tip safety shears with sharp blades.
  • Use a sharp blade in your electric clippers.
  • Oil the blade regularly or the clippers will get hot and may burn your pup.
  • Give your dog plenty of time to get used to the tools of the trade before using them.
  • You can use plenty of treats to reward Fido for being good.
  • Take your time, relax, and watch your pup start relaxing more and more every time. 

Conclusion

Grooming a large, independent dog presents its own challenges. The most important thing to remember is to ensure he knows who's in charge. Keep working at it every week, and before long the two of you will look at this weekly experience as a great bonding time. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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