Taking your dog to the groomer is an important and necessary part of being a responsible pet parent. Groomers handle the yucky stuff like stinky coats, nail trims, ear wax build-up, and draining anal glands. To prepare your pup for a grooming experience, specific habits need to start at home so your dog will know what to expect when seeing a groomer. Alyx, a professional groomer at Rose Water Dog Spa stated, “training a puppy to enjoy the grooming process is key to a comfortable experience that ends in success. Grooming isn’t just about looks. From skin health to nail trims and preventing matting, grooming will be a big part of your dog’s life.” If you want your pup’s experience to go smoothly, here is what you need to do to make their visit as positive as possible:
Handle Your Dog Regularly
Handle your dog regularly so they become used to feeling touched all over their body. Handling your dog also helps promote trust and teaches confidence. Groomer Alyx also recommends getting your pup accustomed to being touched all over. “Use frequent, short sessions to avoid causing frustration early on. Rub their paws, in between the eyes, check the inside of their ears, lift their tails, and look at their teeth. For long-haired dogs, pay special attention to face desensitization.”
Use high-value treats to help make this process fun and rewarding. Pair being touched with something yummy so that your pup learns being touched is a positive experience. Gradually start increasing the amount of time you touch before you give the treat, so Fido learns to tolerate (and even enjoy) being touched for longer periods.
Desensitize Your Dog to Sounds, Movements, and Tools
Grab a pair of clippers (or hairdryer, brush, or Dremel), turn them on and pair with a treat and praise so they become familiar with the noise. Using treats and praise will help make it a more positive experience. Encourage your fur baby to smell the items (turned off of course). While supervised, place them on something elevated to help replicate the elevation of a grooming table. Lift their legs and put light pressure in between their paws.
Find a Trusted Groomer and Ask Questions
Ask family and friends who they use and do your research. It’s important to find a groomer you can trust and one your dog can trust. One who is patient and caring who will treat your pup like their own. Will they tell you if your dog had a behavior issue? Identify a skin or ear infection? Find a lump you were unaware of? Choose a groomer that will allow you to set up an introductory session so you can see how your dog responds. Once you find the groomer that is the perfect fit, create an individualized care plan with them to meet your dog’s grooming needs.
Finding the perfect groomer can seem like a daunting task in the beginning, but well worth the time and effort. A skilled and professional groomer will help keep your dog looking and feeling its best, so invest in a groomer that has a genuine interest in your dog’s overall wellbeing.
The author of this article, Rachelle Yates, is the owner and founder of K9Revolution, where she specializes in obedience, behavior modification, and training service dogs. Rachelle lives in McKinney with her family, which includes 3 precious pups. Rachelle comes highly recommended by several TDPS clients. Rachelle can be reached at [email protected].