How to Groom a Dog at Home

If you have a dog then dog grooming is part of your job as a loving owner. Even if it’s not part of your top priority list, grooming has to get done. Forget all the shampoos, dog grooming clippers and combs for a minute and consider the underlying benefits. Grooming promotes much more than a healthy happy dog. The bonding moments that you share with your dog are priceless.

I agree, dog grooming is not fun, But it’s your responsibility as a dog owner to make sure you pet’s health and well being are cared for. If you’re not particularly fond of grooming, then maybe you shouldn’t have purchased a dog in the first place.

One of the good things about dog grooming is that it can be outsourced. The bad news is that professional grooming will cost you money and will do absolutely nothing to improve your connection with your dog. I will discuss grooming salons and their pricing in my next post. If you have a strong bond with your dog, congratulations! You’ve done a wonderful job as a pet owner. Dog grooming will be a snap and will only further develop your friendly relationship.

If you don’t have a strong bond with your dog, don’t panic and call it all off. Anything is possible. Roll up your sleeves because you will have much more work ahead of you. Grooming will be extra challenging but with time and practice it will become a routine and will greatly improve your relationship.

Again grooming is challenging. For you newbies, remember that it will get very difficult and aggravating before it gets any easier. You will want to quit, give up, curse, maybe throw things, loose your cool, yell and possibly say “The hell with this!” Don’t give up. Let me explain.

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There are a few things you need to take into consideration before jumping right in. You have to create a dog grooming master plan. Once you have everything in check, then you are ready to go. Grooming is physically and mentally challenging, it takes time and elbow grease and requires specific dog grooming tools so you have to come prepared.

Dog Grooming Pre-Production

Allocate a grooming session once a week or as necessary, depending on your pet. Before you get started I recommend that you prep all your dog grooming tools. Make sure that your rotary tool is charged and that you have clean dog towels and so on. Dress accordingly. Wear something that you don’t mind getting wet, soiled and torn. This will be your grooming apparel. We store ours in the same closet with our dog grooming equipment for convenience.

Don’t forget to clean as needed. Sometimes you will need a partner – an assistant to help you with certain grooming tasks. In this case, me and my husband Vish are a duo when it comes to caring for our lovely weim, Halle. Keep in mind that not all dogs like to be groomed. Approach your dog’s grooming session in a positive, kind, patient, loving, state of mind. You will be much more successful and the experience will be a positive one for all parties. You know your dog best, so tailor your session to your dog’s character and needs.

One key thing to keep in mind is to never rush through a dog grooming session no matter what. You will ruin the experience for your dog and yourself. The job won’t get done and your dog will sense it and not cooperate. So don’t start a session if you don’t feel like it, are too tired, hurried, hungry, angry or upset. Just don’t do it, it’s not worth it! Reschedule the entire thing for a time where the energy is much better.

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Take baby steps with your grooming. Don’t just throw your dog in the tub for a bath or wrestle him to the ground to clean his ears. Nobody wins. This type of ridiculous behavior might terrify the poor dog and create permanent negative behaviors or phobias that will be counter productive to your dog grooming attempts. It will cause you additional problems that you won’t want to deal with. Baby steps are key. It might take more time but the payoff is worth it.

Priceless One-on-One

Grooming is an excellent opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with your beloved dog and strengthen your bond through peaceful communication and touch. For example, when we trim Halle’s nails, we take the time to gently talk to her and ease her into it – always in a fun, calm and positive voice. We always double up for this task so one person is peacefully massaging her coat while the other is getting the nails done.

My husband gently cocoons her upper body massaging her head and neck and within 2 minutes flat she’s heavily breathing, looking at us with her lazy eyes. She gets so comfortable that she could almost fall asleep. Ultimate cuteness! Sometimes she even digs her snout under his arm for extra comfort. Mind you, it took practice and lotsa patience and high value snacks to get her to this point. We are thrilled to be able to peacefully trim her nails every week. Could you imagine if we just threw her into the ground, turned the Dremel on and forcefully trimmed her nails? Utter horror!

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Quick Checklist

Here’s my quick checklist that will make sure your dog is running at 100% and has a regular grooming tune-up. With every grooming job, highly praise your dog through it in a fun soft positive voice and use high value treats as necessary. You know your dog best so customize each dog grooming job to your specific needs. You’re going to have to purchase some dog grooming supplies so do your research according to your dog’s breed.

In my next post, I’ll give you a thorough dog grooming checklist with all the kinks and tricks we’ve discovered. 😉 The key here is to create a grooming master plan and schedule so that it will fit into your busy lifestyle. Again don’t procrastinate. The sooner you have a plan going you’re on your way. Stick to it! Being close to your dog during grooming time will cultivate your awareness of his physical and emotional wellness. You get to do regular checkups to make sure that everything is ok. Routine grooming improves your dogs overall health, well-being and appearance and prevents diseases before they escalate. Ultimately you save money and trips to the vet.

There are as many dog grooming horror stories as there are fun dog grooming tricks. What are yours? Do you have any special tactics that you prefer? Do you outsource or have you conquered your grooming master plan? Share with us!

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