Does a trip to the groomer's stress both you and the 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 him at home could be the answer.
Indeed, home coat care is also gentler on your pocket book! Depending on your dog's breed you will need to purchase certain basic grooming tools. However, the good news is that the cost is quickly recouped in terms of the money saved at the parlor.
The secret to successful home grooming lies in proper preparation. Here are Vetary's three top tips on how to groom a dog at home.
#1: Take Time to Train
Don't jump in all guns blazing, but give your dog a chance to get used to the grooming tools. For the highly nervous dog, this could mean leaving their brush by their food bowl and praising them when they approach it.
Then build up to touching the dog with the brush whilst 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 he is.
Keep those early sessions short and sweet so that they always end on a positive note.
Now consider clippers. Again, slow but steady is the way. First get the dog used to the sight of the clippers (switched off). Then while the dog is eating supper, with the clippers on the far side of the room, switch them on. Let the dog get used to the buzz at a safe distance.
As the days pass, step closer, gradually building up the dog's tolerance to this peculiar buzzing beast. Consider a similar approach to actually clipping the dog. Don't expect to clip the whole dog on Day One. Be prepared to target one small area, reward the dog, stop, and then revisit another patch later.
#2: Commit to Combing
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, combing and brushing, to keep the coat in good order.
Committing to daily or twice weekly brushing (depending on the breed) 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.
#3: Essential Equipment
Equip yourself with the best grooming equipment you can afford. Most especially, do your research into a good pair of clippers. Balance that initial expenditure against the money saved at the groomers.
So called 'silent' clippers are a boon, as these are less scary to the dog. Likewise, if you are inexperienced then cordless clippers help eliminate getting in a tangle with the cable. Read reviews for the product and pay attention to how well the clippers coped with your dog's coat type.
A useful resource to learn about breed appropriate styles is to seek out the breed society online. These often give you useful hints and tips about the prefered styles, what's practical, and what's not.
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.
Also, be prepared to put in the groundwork in order to reap the rewards. Take time to get the dog used to the tools, groom him regularly, and invest in the best equipment you can afford... and you'll soon become a home grooming guru.