Brush without Fuss: How to Groom a Dog at Home

Does a trip to the groomer's cause stress for both you and your dog?

No one knows your dog quite like you! For the dog that gets anxious, upset, or even aggressive when faced with a visit to the parlor, then grooming them at home could be the answer.

Grooming sessions are also good times to bond with your dog. Depending on their breed, the procedure may vary a bit. You will need to purchase certain basic grooming tools that can be used every time your furry buddy needs a brushing or nail trim. One secret to successful home grooming lies in proper preparation and the other is owning the best tools for the job.

Take Time to Train Your Dog

Give your dog a chance to get used to the grooming tools before starting your first grooming session. For the highly nervous dog, this could mean leaving their brush by their food bowl and praising them when they approach it.

Build up to touching your dog with the brush while distracting them with a treat. Praise them enthusiastically when they react calmly. Gradually, build up to a couple of strokes of the brush, each time telling the dog how clever they are. Keep those early sessions short and sweet so that they always end on a positive note. Remember, when your dog knows you are pleased with their behavior, they are happy to repeat it.

Commit to Combing Your Dog

A common mistake is to adopt a hands-off approach, and then attempt to remedy a tangled coat by clipping. Instead, it's better to undertake a little regular care, by combing and brushing often, to keep the coat in good order.

Committing to daily or twice weekly brushing (depending on the breed, length and thickness of coat, and shedding season) helps in so many ways:

  • Eliminate knots and tangles: Identifying knots as soon as they form makes them so much easier to deal with

  • Skin check: Regular grooming helps you check for ticks, grass awns, and skin lumps

  • Coat condition: It spreads the natural oils which condition the coat

  • Bond over brushing: When done regularly, most dogs look forward to their daily pampering session and it is a bonding experience

Know Your Essential Equipment

Having the proper brush with which to groom your dog is key to a positive experience:

  • A slicker brush has short wire bristles and is useful for removing mats and tangles. Good for all coat types, it can scratch the skin if you press too hard. Brush firmly, but gently.

  • The pin brush has wires that are flexible, providing a light release of fur. The pin brush is good for silky coats.

  • An undercoat rake has long pins that help to remove deeply embedded fur. This works well on medium to long coats.

The wide-toothed comb is helpful when removing tangles and the grooming mitt, a glove that almost massages the skin, helps to lift dirt and dust. Use these items along with the brushes for a thorough de-matting.

Brush up on Grooming

And finally….grooming should always be fun. Never lose your temper if your dog wriggles, but ask yourself what you could do differently. Something as simple as enlisting a friend to distract the dog with a favorite toy is sometimes all it takes. Be prepared to put in the groundwork in order to reap the rewards. Take time to get your furry companion used to the tools, groom them regularly, and invest in the best equipment you can afford... and you'll soon become a home grooming guru.

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