Many owners prefer to leave the dirty work of dog ownership to someone else. That's why they turn to a groomer when their pooch is in need of a nail trim or anal gland expressing, and most assume that their grooming responsibilities come to an end once they have dropped their dog off at the groomer's door.
After all, it's the groomer's job to worry about all the mats and your dog's unruly tabletop behavior...right?
As it turns out, most dog groomers would love it if dog owners pitched in a little bit more. Not only would it make the groomer's job easier, it would also help their dogs get more effective results.
No matter how big or small your dog is, grooming them is definitely a hard job. From the bathing to the blow drying to the brushing, detailing, and ear cleaning, there are countless aspects that need to be considered in order to keep your dog looking their best.
Many dogs are uncomfortable being handled, especially by a stranger, and that can make for a stressful time. Add to the yelps and whimpers the consideration that your dog may injure themselves (or others) wiggling around, and any responsible dog owner would quickly realize that they need to pick up some slack.
Following these six dog grooming tips will help you and your pooch feel much more comfortable next time you pull up next to the groomer's door.
Tip #1 Start Grooming Early
It doesn't matter what breed your dog is. Grooming is an absolute necessity because the job of a groomer goes far beyond trimming a long coat or even bathing them to keep them smelling fresh. Your dog needs their nails trimmed, their ears cleaned, their eyes rinsed, and their whole body looked at and pampered every so often in order to keep them healthy and thriving.
That means, as soon as you bring your puppy home, you should go ahead and get them used to the standard manipulation they'll endure at the groomer's as they grow older. Lift their paws, inspect their ears, and move their tail around to prepare them for a positive grooming experience.
Begin bathing them at home from a young age, involving plenty of treats in the process and taking things slowly. Let them check out the bathtub and brushes beforehand to get them acclimated rather than just throwing them right into it.
This low-pressure setting allows them to get used to all the soon to be ordinary duties a groomer will be putting them through. It's also helpful to do a meet and greet with their groomer before an official session just so that they can alleviate any fears once they are left with them for the first time.
Tip #2 Put Your Dog Through The Paces
A bath at the groomer's is much more than the average bath at home. Acclimating your dog to the extra steps will make sure their first real grooming experiences goes well.
When bathing your dog at home, use a simply scrub brush and a conditioner. The scrub brush will help remove stuck-on dirt and exfoliate their skin. It also helps remove dead fur, which will prevent mats. A conditioner will be good even for short-haired breeds because the conditioner is made to close the pores and protect the hair shaft. It will also prevent tangles for long haired breeds.
Tip #3 Brush Between Every Trim
Ongoing maintenance is important, whether your dog sees the groomer once a week or once a month. Daily brushing, for instance, will not only help your dog feel more comfortable at their next grooming session, it will also prevent mats and tangles from forming to begin with. That means a quicker pickup next time you drop your dog off.
Plus, daily brushing will give your groomer the opportunity to leave some length in your dog's fur next time you drop them off rather than them having to trim down short due to mats and tangles.
Tangled fur is also unpleasant for your dog to experience. A slicker brush will help you begin the process. Once you have thoroughly brushed your dog with that, move on to a fine-tooth comb to ensure their hair stays nice and smooth. It really only takes a few minutes and, the more often you do it, the quicker the process it will be.
Tip #4 Take Them On A Potty Break First
Your pet is likely to be a bit anxious as they head to the groomers. This feeling is likely to be multiplied if they haven't had the chance to go to the bathroom in a little while. Take them to the bathroom both before you leave the house and once you arrive at the groomer's, before taking them inside.
Most of the time, salons have back-to-back appointments and they probably won't have time to stop and take your dog out to the bathroom for you. For that reason, they should relieve themselves before arriving at the salon.
Tip #5 Don't Stick Around
Unless your groomer specifically requests that you stay present and help them handle your dog, you should not stick around. In fact, most salons have a policy that the owner cannot stay or watch during a groom.
That's because, while you may think that your presence will be calming, it can actually make your dog more anxious. They will likely move around trying to get to you and that makes it more dangerous for your dog and the groomer.
You should trust your groomer and leave your dog with them. That will also help your dog bond with the groomer. Oftentimes, a sitting room is available out of sight but closely enough that you can be called in immediately if your assistance is needed for some reason.
Tip #6 Keep Things Light
Oftentimes, pet owners will walk in and instantly start apologizing for their dog's anxiety. They'll often tell staff how much their dog hates grooming, thus projecting very negative emotions that dogs can sense.
If you want your grooming sessions to be as enjoyable as possible for your dog, you need to keep things light. Keep the mood upbeat. Talk to your dog and pet them. Tell them how much fun they'll have. Even though they can't understand you, they can hear the tone of your voice.
Make grooming a relaxing experience for everyone. Be laidback, calm, and happy when you leave your pooch and they will behave so much better.