Without a doubt, there’s a lot of work that goes into being a good dog owner. Staying on top of vet visits, getting the right food, and leash training is only a tiny part of what is required for a happy, healthy dog. One aspect of dog ownership that often gets overlooked is grooming. All breeds will generally require regular nail-clipping and teeth-brushing as the basics. If you have a new puppy that’s a high-maintenance breed and will require a lot of grooming, it’s best to start preparing him early. It’s ideal to practice handling every day from the first day the pup comes home in order to get him used to it. Here are a few tips to raise your dog to enjoy being groomed.
Why You Need to Groom
Grooming is more than just making sure your dog looks his best. If left ungroomed, your dog’s health and safety are at risk. Dogs that aren’t regularly washed and brushed could suffer from matted fur, fleas, and more. Bad oral hygiene could lead to tooth loss, and overgrown nails could cause your dog pain. Essentially, grooming is crucial for your dog’s health. Here’s how to help him learn to be ok with it.
1. Get Your Tools
While you may need a professional groomer for seasonal cuts, you should have a few tools at home to fill in the gaps between appointments. Doing some “touch-ups” at home will also keep your dog used to the grooming process. You should have a few basic grooming supplies: a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste, nail clippers, and a brush.
Try This: While standard nail clippers are a good tool, depending on your dog, you may want to try a nail file or a Dremel/rotary tool.
During a grooming session, your dog will be handled a lot, whether it’s for nail-clipping or fur-clipping. While your pup may be ok with touch on his back or head, he may not like his ears, mouth, or feed being touched. Handling these areas more often when the puppy is very young will help him adjust to the feeling and be more receptive to the groomer’s handling.
Try This: Prepare your puppy for nail clipping by putting gentle pressure on his paws. Hold the toe pads or squeeze them gently. As your dog adjusts, touch the nails, slowly increasing pressure.
3. Go Slow
Now that your pup is more comfortable with being handled in sensitive areas, you can begin the task. Always start slowly. In fact, it’s best to simply introduce the tool to your dog first. Place it near the body part that it will be used on and praise the dog. Then, slowly begin using the tool, backing off if your dog gets agitated. It’s ok not to get the whole task done at once.
Try This: Give treats liberally to your dog as you introduce the tool and the grooming. Make sure it’s a high-value treat that will keep your dog’s interest for the training/grooming session.
Contact Argos Dog Training
Helping your dog adjust to new experiences that may be uncomfortable at first is a significant part of the training process. If you need assistance with addressing your dog’s specific behaviors, and you live in the Boston area, the expert dog trainers at Argos Dog Training can help give us a call today!