We’ve all seen videos online of happy pooches who seem to think dog grooming is the best thing ever; they’re lying peacefully in the tub or rolling on their back to get their belly brushed. Unfortunately, sometimes our own pets seem to turn into Cujo as soon as they see the grooming tools come out. Fortunately, there are many ways to help get your dog accustomed to the process, making it safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Make Safety Your First Rule of Dog Grooming!
If you have never groomed your own dog before, take some time to get used to your equipment. Practice using the grooming scissors, holding them in the air and just moving them around until you get a good feel for them. Don’t test them on paper or fabric, because it may dull the blade’s edge. You can try trimming a stuffed animal if you want some experience before you start on your own pet.
Micio Micia ball tipped safety shears are the perfect first pair of scissors for anyone interested in trying home grooming. They will add an extra layer of safety to your grooms, because you won’t have to worry about accidentally poking your pup with the tips.
Even so, it is still important to follow a few basic safety rules: never cut unless you’re sure of where and what is between the blades. Skin can get pulled up in to mats, so if you are going to be cutting a clump out, slide a flat metal comb under the mat, and then cut carefully between the comb and the mat. Always use extra caution in delicate areas, especially around the face, ears, armpits, tuck-up, privates or foot pads.
Always Stay Positive
Dog grooming should always be a gentle, relaxing, and fun process. Getting mad at your dog, giving them harsh corrections, or struggling with them will just reaffirm that grooming is scary and not enjoyable. Studies have shown that classical music is very calming to dogs, so put on some tunes, and pick an indoor area to work with your dog, where there are no distractions.
If your dog doesn’t like being handled, then desensitizing them to handling is the first step. Start gently petting and massaging your dog in spots that they don’t mind being touched. As they relax, you can move on to spots they are more sensitive about. For most dogs, this is the feet, and sometimes the face. Give them really tasty treats as you handle their paws, rub their face, hold their chin or handle any other area they are apprehensive about. Some dogs will let you touch them anywhere, while other dogs may take many sessions of massaging and treating before they are ok with it. Take your time, as this is laying the groundwork for your entire grooming relationship with your dog!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It is easier to start out with a puppy, and get them accustomed to grooming from the very beginning, but many of us don’t have that option. We have dogs who have already learned to associate the grooming process with discomfort or unpleasantness, so it will take time to teach them that it can be fun. Be patient! All dogs can be trained, if you are willing to put the time and effort in to it.
Once your dog is happy to be handled, they may be fine with you trimming them. If they are scared of the scissors, try letting the dog sniff the scissors, while you praise and treat them.
You can then progress to holding the scissors with the blades in your palm, and stroking the dog with the scissor handles, again while petting and treating. If your dog is always getting positive attention and affection when you have the scissors out, eventually they will learn to associate the scissors with good things and they will look forward to grooming time. Done properly, home dog grooming can be a great bonding experience for you and your pet.