How to Groom a Small, Tolerant Dog

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Although your little Lucy might be one of the most tolerant dogs you have ever owned, there are some things she just isn't going to be happy about. This could include her weekly grooming sessions. If you brought Lucy home when she is still a pup, there has never been a better time to start getting her used to being touched all over.

The sooner you start doing this, the more tolerant she will become when the time comes to start grooming her. If she is an older dog and still tends to balk at the idea of being groomed, chances are good there is an underlying reason for her behavior.  You can teach any dog to relax and enjoy being groomed; the more tolerant Lucy is, the easier it will be for you to groom her. 

Dog's Perspective

The last thing Lucy wants to do is make you upset by not being able to do as she is asked. But the tools of the trade, the grooming table, and just about everything about being groomed make her a bit nervous. The best thing you can do to help her get over being nervous is to take things nice and slow, giving her plenty of time to get used to the entire process. 

The Keeping Occupied Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Dremel
Nail File
Step
1
New toys required
Time to head out to the pet store and pick up a few new toys, some of your pup's favorite treats, and a large bucket of patience. The toys are to keep your dog's mind busy while you groom her, the treats are for when she behaves.
Step
2
Time to drain the dog
Time to take your pooch out for a nice long walk, one that gives her time to go pee and poop and get in plenty of good healthy exercise for both of you. This will help her to be relaxed and calm while you are working.
Step
3
Set the stage
Choose your grooming room, one that you can use every week to build consistency and trust. Set up your grooming table (be sure it has safety harnesses built into it or a way to secure her leash, so your pup can't fall off the table). Lay out the tools you plan to use, turn on some quiet music and place one of the toys on the grooming table.
Step
4
Enter stage left
Bring your dog in, set her gently on the table, keep talking to her and connect the safety harness. Give her plenty of time to get used to where she is and everything she sees. Give her a treat to let her know everything is okay.
Step
5
Face first
Start by brushing her face, head, ears, and muzzle, give her a treat and then the toy. This will give her something to focus on instead of what you are doing. Following the direction in which her hair is growing, referred to as the grain, brush her chest, back, sides, and rump. Don't forget to groom her tail and around her privates. Trim the hair in this area back just enough for good hygiene, but not enough to overexpose her. (Hey, even dogs have their pride!)
Step
6
Time to go down under
Have your dog lie on her back, so you can brush out her chest, belly, legs, and paws. This is also a good time to trim the hair between her pads and toes. Once this is done, you can trim her nails using nail clippers and a file or grinder. All done, one last treat and away you go with one pretty puppy.
Recommend grooming method?

The Stand in the Shower Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Towel
Step
1
Every journey starts with that first step
First up, take a nice long walk with your dog, visit her favorite potty spots, let her take care of "business" and play with her a little as you go. The plan is to tire her out enough that grooming won't bother her.
Step
2
Time to hit the showers
Pop your pup in the tub or, if she is small enough, the kitchen sink. Set the water temp to the same level you would use to bathe a baby and spray her down. Be careful not to get any water in the eyes or ears. Using your pup's favorite vet-approved shampoo give her a nice scrub down and then rinse her until there is no trace of the shampoo left (residue can cause skin irritation).
Step
3
A soft towel feels so nice
Using a thick, soft towel, give a nice rub down to remove most of the water. Give her a treat and let her finish drying in the air.
Step
4
An occupied pup
Put your dog on the grooming table and secure her in place using the restraints. Gently brush her face, muzzle, and ears, then give her another treat and a new toy to keep her occupied.
Step
5
And ever on
Continue brushing from front to back, paying close attention to her privates. Be very gently in this area as the skin is very sensitive. Trim the hair here back far enough for good hygiene, but no further. Roll her over, brush her belly, legs, and chest. Finish up by giving her a treat and plenty of praise. The more you groom her the easier it will become for both of you.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If yours is is a tolerant pup, use this to your advantage by working with her slowly at first.
  • Going for a walk is a great way to burn off any excess energy, making your dog easier to work with.
  • Do not overdo the walk, tired is one thing, but exhausted can be very bad for her health.
  • Be sure you take lots of treat breaks with her to help her get used to being groomed.
  • Work with your dog to set a pace that works for both of you.
  • Use the right type of brush for your pup's particular type of hair.
  • Be sure the shears you use to trim hair are sharp; dull shears tend to rip hair out painfully rather than cut.

Conclusion

Since Lucy is a very tolerant pup, the chances of her nipping at you during the grooming process are practically non-existent. But you must still be prepared to spend a fair amount of time working with her to get her to the point of being comfortable with your grooming her. In time you will both look forward to this one-on-one time together. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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