Does it take a professional to handle the dog grooming needs of your nervous pet? Do you struggle to get through a simple bath without man’s best friend becoming a demon dog? Well, grooming may not always be simple, but there are ways to make it easier. Work with your pet’s comfort levels and needs by following a few of these top ten tips during grooming sessions!
#1 Take Your Dog for a Walk
One of the best things you can do before a dog grooming session is to take your pet for a nice long walk. This will burn off some of the excess energy they may have after being cooped up inside all day. Plus, it can ease anxiety. So, your pet won’t be quite as squirmy while you groom him or her.
#2 Keep Plenty of Treats on Hand
If your dog is highly food focused, which many are, you may be able to use treats to keep him or her distracted during bath time. You may want to have a friend assist by feeding your dog while you scrub, clip, and brush. Don’t hesitate to use plenty of treats. The most important thing is that you get a nervous dog through that grooming session without him being hurt or you getting bitten. If you’re worried about overfeeding your pet, use very small amounts of a food that your dog really likes, such as tiny pieces of deli meat.
#3 Brush First, Then Wash!
Make sure your pet’s bath is as efficient as possible by brushing their hair out first. This removes loose hair that can clog up the bathtub. You’ll also have a better time sudsing up and removing dander and other unwanted debris that is close to the skin during their bath. Brushing also helps to calm your pet down and can be a pleasurable experience for you and your dog. It’s a good idea to make this a regular part of your dog grooming sessions so that Fido learns to associate something positive with taking a bath.
#4 Consider Bathing Outside
Although many pet owners choose to give their dogs a bath in the tub, it can leave the entire bathroom messy. During the warmer months, save yourself the trouble of clean up by washing pets outside. Furthermore, this saves your back from the pain of trying to lift a scared, heavy dog into the tub. Being outside may also be less stressful for your pet, who probably already associates the bathroom with negative things. Just make sure that it’s a nice warm day and keep your pet from running around in the grass until he or she is completely dry.
#5 Use a Dog Shampoo
Many people think it’s okay to use human shampoo or baby soap on their dog, but these products can actually contain irritants that are bad for a dog’s skin and that smell unpleasant to your pet. Look for a dog shampoo specifically designed to use on Fido. There are lots of brands on the market, you’ll have to pick the one that you like the best. If you are concerned about pet allergies and irritation, look for a shampoo that contains no dyes, colorants, or perfumes to help minimize any reactions.
#6 Let the Soapy Water Soak In
It’s understandable that you would want to finish a dog’s bath as quickly as possible. However, you may not be giving the soap and water enough time to really work. Some dog shampoos contain moisturizers to protect skin and emollients to loosen dander. Water is also great at softening the skin. If your dog is patient enough for it, suds up your pet’s entire coat from top to bottom and allow it to sit for a few minutes. During this time you can focus on cleaning around your dog’s eyes and ears with a cotton ball dipped in olive oil or mineral oil. When ready, rinse thoroughly to remove all of the product from your pet’s coat and skin.
#7 Brush Regularly
You can increase the length of time between involved dog grooming sessions by brushing your dog’s coat regularly. A metal pin brush works well for removing tangles and matted sections. Brushing your dog’s fur also helps distribute the natural oils to preserve a beautiful shine, and improve hair health. This is also a great bonding activity for you and your pet.
#8 Trim a Few Nails at a Time
Unless you are a professional or a veterinarian, you probably can’t trim all of your dog’s nails at once. Many dogs have sensitive paws and it can be uncomfortable for them when the webbing between toes is stretched or pinched. Plus, your dog may have had previous unpleasant experiences with nail clipping, such as someone cutting the nail down to the quick. So, wait until Fido is nice and calm and gently clip the tips of a couple of nails. If your dog remains relaxed, you may want to get a few more nails. Pay close attention to where the pink part of the nail is when clipping. This is the equivalent of the nail bed and if you cut into it, your dog won’t won’t like you very much for a while.
#9 Make Hair Clipping a Part of Dog Grooming
Without maintenance, long-haired dogs can end up looking scruffy pretty quickly after a visit from the groomer. Keep your furry friend looking good by picking up a few basic grooming implements at your local pet store. Whenever you give Fido a bath, pull out the scissors and trim the bangs, between the toes, around their tail and hindquarters, and any fur that touches the ground. You don’t have to spend a long time on this process and your dog will probably see and feel better.
#10 Use an Old Stocking on Their Paws
If you are one to apply nail polish to your dog’s toenails, there is an easy trick to help keep their fur off of their nails. Put your dog’s foot through the end of one of your old stockings. Their nails are usually sharp enough to poke through the stocking. If not, you may need to cut a few small slits in the end for their nails to come through. The stocking holds back the hair on their paws and makes it easier for you to apply a smooth layer of polish to those toesies.
Dog grooming is a much easier process when your pet is well-trained. If you are having trouble doing everyday activities with a raucous, anxious, or nippy dog, consider obedience training gain control of your life again. It’s easy to do at home with the helpful RAPT Method Training Videos created by Dog Trainer, Jim Brooks.