When you’re learning to groom your dog, be patient, and use lots of treats. Start slowly and add more as your dog accepts what you’re doing. If you start getting frustrated, stop, and come back to it later. Remember to keep it positive and fun, and take your dog to a professional groomer if needed.
If your dog does react negatively to touch on any area, have it investigated by a vet for any issues. As with all other stages, if the dog is reacting aggressively or finding this anything other than a calming, relaxing bonding session, you should seek professional assistance.
Grooming sessions should be short but frequent for dogs. If you decide to send your dog to a professional groomer they must go as soon as possible, so they can get used to the person and the place. Most groomers are happy to have short initial sessions for dogs to get them used to grooming. They will also be able to counter-condition to the dryers and clippers they use. Otherwise, you can follow these fantastic tips when grooming your dogs at home:
- Very gently hold your dog still until he/she relaxes, but ensure you allow no more than a small amount of stress. It is helpful if you are sitting next to the puppy, or it is on your lap. This must be a very gentle hold that is close to not holding at all.
- Make sure to use a shampoo that’s made for dogs. Human shampoo can be too harsh for your puppy’s skin and coat. Put a non-slip surface, such as a bath mat or towel, in the bottom of your tub (or sink, kiddie pool, or wherever you are doing your bathing). Lather up the coat, and then rinse thoroughly. Be sure to rinse completely or the shampoo will leave a dull residue on your puppy’s fur. Avoid getting shampoo and water directly in the eyes, mouth, and inside the ears.
- If your dog has a build-up of discharge around its eyes, do not try and trim anywhere around their eyes. Instead, a small, moist piece of cotton wool can be carefully wiped from the corner of your dog’s eyes in a gentle downwards motion. This should remove or loosen any discharge surrounding the eye. Done daily, this can help prevent any build-up from occurring.
- You may need to start by getting your dog used to brushing by rubbing his gums with your finger and then moving on to a brushing tool. Use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger, a finger cap scrubber made for pet teeth cleaning, or a toothbrush designed for dogs. Use toothpaste formulated for dogs, baking soda, or just water. Do not use human toothpaste because it foams too much and can upset your dog’s stomach. You only need to clean the outside surface of the teeth. Your dog’s tongue will keep the top and inside surfaces clean.
- Lastly, Don’t forget the feet, moving each nail and examining between the pads and toes. Reward regularly while doing this; however, by this stage, the dog should be finding the touch rewarding.
Follow these tips and your dog will surely be accustomed to being groomed at the comfort of your own home!