How to Groom a Small, Alert Dog

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Lindi is the kind of pup that never seems to miss a thing. It almost seems as though she has built-in radar. Nothing gets by her, including the fact you have a grooming brush in your hand. The good news is that even with an alert dog that doesn't want to sit still, with the right approach and plenty of patience, you can teach Lindi to not only put up with being groomed on a weekly basis but actually enjoy it. Be patient, be consistent, and above all do everything you can to make the experience fun for both of you. 

Dog's Perspective

When you get right down to it, Lindi probably doesn't care whether you groom her or not. In the wild, dogs take care of their own grooming and think they do a great job. In your home, this doesn't even come close. Keep in mind, keeping Lindi groomed is more about keeping her healthy than it is about making her look her best. 

The Slow and Low Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Dremel
Nail File
Toothbrush
Step
1
Start with short sessions
Alert dogs want to know everything about everything. You look to the left, she looks to see what you are looking at. You pick up a brush, she is going to look at and sniff at it before you even come close to having a chance to use it. Keep your initial sessions short, this will keep your dog from getting antsy because she can't see what you are doing.
Step
2
Low and slow
Place the brushes, shears, clippers, and nail cutters on the grooming table where your dog can see them, add a brand-new toy and have some treats handy. Place your dog on the table and secure her using the restraints. Let her see the tools and then give her a treat. Let her see the toy, but hold off on giving it to her until you have groomed her head, face, ears, muzzle, neck, and chest.
Step
3
Here's your new toy
Give your pup her new toy to keep her distracted while you brush out the rest of her back, sides, haunches, rump, and tail. Take a break and give her another treat.
Step
4
On your back
Have your dog lie down and roll onto her back. This will let you groom her belly, chest, legs, and paws.
Step
5
Pedicure
This is a good time to trim the hair between her pads and toes. Then, using nail cutters, trim her nails back to just in front of quick. Using a grinder or a nail file, smooth the sharp edges left by the cutters.
Step
6
Put a smile on her face
While you should be brushing your dog's teeth once a day, you should at least brush them once a week using a toothbrush and toothpaste made just for dogs. Her final treat should be a doggy dental chew stick.
Recommend grooming method?

The Squeaky Clean Pooch Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Towel
Toothbrush
Step
1
Tub time
Run a nice tepid bath (the water should be about the same temperature you would use to bathe a baby). Using a vet-approved shampoo, scrub your dog from one end to the other and every inch between. Rinse her thoroughly, removing all traces of the shampoo, along with fleas, dirt, burrs, debris, and anything else. Dry her off with a nice soft towel and give her a treat.
Step
2
A room with a view
Choose a room in your home with a window in it as your "groom room" and set up the grooming table. Lay the tools you plan to use where your dog will be able to see them, add a toy to the table, and keep some treats on hand.
Step
3
Bring on your customer
Bring our pup into the room, place her on the table, and secure her using the restraints. Let her see the tools you plan to use. Give her a treat and then let her have the toy. Between the toy and the window, her curiosity should be kept occupied for a while.
Step
4
The brush off
Start by gently brushing her head, face, neck, and chest. Take a short break and give her a treat. Then brush her back, sides, tail, and rump. Take a break and treat again before having her roll over so can reach her belly, legs, and paws.
Step
5
Trim those claws
Rather than let her toe nails (yes, they look like giant curved claws) get any longer, use nail cutters to cut her nails back. You should clip just short of the quick and file or grind the edges smooth. This way she won't scratch the furniture, the floor, or someone in your family.
Step
6
A little oral hygiene
Using a doggy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste, brush your dog's teeth (don't forget her molars way in the back) and then give her a those tasty dental treats to finish up.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If your dog won't settle down at first, you can always take her for a walk before grooming. Tiring her out will help her be more relaxed.
  • Give your dog all the time she needs to "look" at the tools and get used to them before trying to use them. This will make things go much easier for both of you.
  • Brush her coat in the direction of growth, this will make it easier for both of you.
  • Never use products such as soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste made for humans. They may contain ingredients known to be toxic to dogs.
  • If you must trim her hair, be sure the shears and clippers are sharp. Dull blades tend to rip hair out rather than cut it. This is very painful.
  • Take your time, let your dog set the pace, and make everything fun. 

Conclusion

One of the best ways to help your alert dog get used to being groomed is to introduce each step slowly. Keep the pace slow and your voice low, make it an enjoyable and relaxing experience for both of you. In time, your dog will look forward to your weekly grooming sessions and think of it as a great time for the two of you to bond. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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