Quick Tips for Grooming your Dog at Home
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Book three in our blog series ‘A Life with Dogs’ is all about Grooming.
We’ve talked about bathing your new puppy for the very first time; products you should be looking for (and those you shouldn’t), and tips on how often you should be bathing your dog.
Discussing tips and tricks for grooming your dog at home is next, having touched on the implements you’ll need in your grooming kit in Chapter twenty.
When bringing home a new puppy, an owner may realise that the expenses can add up quickly: there are costs associated with supplies, veterinary appointments, cleaning solutions, and obedience training, not to mention the costs associated with spoiling your pup rotten. Now we’re not suggesting you buy yourself some clippers and give Fluffy a buzz-cut… but learning to bath your dog successfully, can actually be an enjoyable exercise. Really!”
Video & Photos courtesy of Frankie and Finn @frankiethelabradoodle
For puppy parents that are feeling the pinch on their budget, there are numerous areas where costs can be cut so that the money goes towards what really matters: like buying squeaky toys that seem like a good idea at the time.
One such budget-saving area is grooming.
Listed below are tips for giving your pup the full spa treatment at home.
Create Positive Association ASAP
Not all dogs enjoy baths, but if you start the bathing process early, you can turn bath time into a semi-enjoyable experience as opposed to a hellacious event that makes you wonder if giving the groomer a large portion of your week’s salary is, indeed, worth the cost.
Socialise your pet to bath time by practicing elements of the bathing routine often.
For instance, place your puppy in the tub and then give her a treat.
On another day, pick up her paws or touch her ears, all the while providing positive praise and rewards.
If you continually desensitise your pet to the bath experience, she/he will be much easier to handle.
Gather All your Tools in Advance
This may sound obvious, but until you are holding a wet, squirrely pup in the tub and realize you forgot to set out absorbent towels, you do not realize just how important this step truly is.
Making a check list of all the items you require during bath time and keeping it handy is a good way to start, and gathering each and every item beforehand, in order to ensure the grooming process goes smoothly is essential.
Keep your Pet Restrained
Even though it may be relaxing for humans to sit back and relax while the hair dresser pampers us with a shampoo and conditioning treatment, not all dogs have the same appreciation for this routine.
Many dogs try to escape the bathtub which not only makes grooming difficult, but can make bath time dangerous if your dog takes a leap of faith from the tub onto the slippery floor.
Ask a friend/family member/innocent bystander to help you restrain your pet, or set up a leash-and-collar restraint system that helps keep your puppy safely in place.
Hint: Don’t let this one take you by surprise!
Exercise your Dog Beforehand
As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog, but more importantly, a tired dog is less likely to fight off bath time (plus, a cooling bath may feel great after a long walk or run!)
If your dog becomes agitated during grooming, consider incorporating bath time into a day that your dog will already be tired out from a visit to the dog park or other form of exercise.
Use Proper Brushes
If you want your dog to have that Brazilian blow-out flair after her bath, be sure to use the proper brushes for the job.
Before you get your dog’s fur wet you should brush your pup from head to toe, using this helpful guide from smalldogplace.com to determine which brush or comb is best for your dog’s coat.
Brushing beforehand loosens dead skin, dirt, dander, and loose fur, and helps you get the most out of the bath.
Remember to comb through your conditioner (especially on long-haired dogs) before rinsing, and afterwards, comb or brush your dog’s fur once more to remove hairs that have been loosened during the bathing process.
Dogs thrive on routine and knowing what to expect.
Help keep grooming a positive experience by always following the same pattern each time when your dog receives a bath.
For many pups, even small changes can signal distress, leading to anxiety during bath-time.
Hint: Never use the ‘B-word’ in jest… and note, that some will do a runner just on hearing the water run!
Overall, bath time anxiety can be avoided by properly socialising your dog to the experience.
If your pet does decide that she/he prefers not to get wet, the process can be made easier by properly restraining your pet, providing exercise beforehand, using the proper brushes, and following the same routine each time.
If you’re just starting out OR feel like a refresher course, here’s the link to our Top Ten Tips for Bathing your New Puppy.’ Chapter Seventeen in our ‘A Life with Dogs blog series.
Pup-Update – 1-2 Years
We’ve had lots of socialisation in the past year, mainly our Insta friends, related cocker pups and of course our local doggo’s from the neighbourhood. But it’s time to fess up… Jerry has a girlfriend. It’s official. Since Ebony the Spoodle entered our lives, Jerry has been like a teenager on prom night. Yes, she’s special, but I’m not quite sure what it is… Jerry is smitten. He fluffs and struts and cannot get enough of her and we’re loving this part of the journey. So nice to know he has matured enough to treat his special lady with the respect she deserves (ok…a little rough and tumble… no, a lot of rough and tumble) – thank goodness Ebony can hold her own… Of course, their play is all in good fun and brings us such joy. So enjoying my little man.
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
Now that you’re up to speed with a few quick tips for grooming at home, next we’ll discuss how to clip your puppy’s nails after the bath.
Watch this space – Chapter Twenty-two – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Frankie & Finn Lily @lilylashes_cavoodle, Lewis @lewis_cavoodle, Benji @benji_the_cockerspaniel, Coco @coco_the_peekapoo, Boris, Summer, Milo, Bear @littlebrownbearlab, Jerry @jerrythe cockerspan