Grooming your dog

Grooming your dog at home

Grooming your dog

Grooming your dog at home

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Grooming your dog at home can be fun, or, it can be overwhelming. Bathing is one thing, but when it comes to shaving and styling it becomes a bigger challenge. Here are some tips for keeping your furkid groomed when visiting a parlor isn’t an option.

Grooming always includes bathing

Every grooming session should include bathing. And if you are lucky, bathing is all you need to do. There is a wide selection of shampoo available for every dog hair type, ranging from detangling to hypoallergenic or anti-bacterial. Once your furry friend is bathed and completely dry, brush the coat well to remove any matted hair or knots. Should you not be using a detangling shampoo, you may want to consider using baby powder during brushing to ease matted hair.


Keeping your pet safe from injury is of utmost importance. Shaving (or clipping), for example, can be an overwhelming experience for your furkid. And when they feel overwhelmed they may express this emotion with sudden jerking, jumping around, or biting. Pet parents may want to consider a muzzle for hyperactive dogs to prevent them from biting the shaver or scissors (and injuring themselves!) Additionally, a veterinarian may recommend calming tablets for dogs which are difficult to control during grooming sessions.

Grooming your dog is a process

When shaving your dog during a grooming session, a simple beard shaver will do the job. Start grooming your dog on their back as this will allow them to get used to the feeling and sound of the shaver. 

Once the back has been shaved you can move to other areas of the body. Remember, patience is key and if you see your dog is becoming anxious or overwhelmed during the grooming process, give him a break to walk around and drink some water or play. The key is to end each session on a good note. So, if you have not yet finished, try to quickly shave a small area that you know does not cause your dog to react and then offer them a treat or play time as a reward. Your dog will learn that grooming leads to good things.

Once the shave is done you will move onto “styling” which is normally done around the face, ears and toe areas with a scissors. Most dogs prefer the scissors because it does not make a loud sound.

When styling the face, always hold the scissor on the opposite end of where you are grooming. That is, never point the scissor tips toward the face.

Most pet parents prefer to bathe their furkid after shaving so that loose hair is washed away. Others, however, prefer this the other way around. Your dog’s patience and amount of hair that must be brushed will determine which method you choose.

Shaving a dog that is very anxious

Try to make shaving fun. Never hold your dog down or force them into a position and never put a towel over their face to stop them from biting. This creates tension for both you and your dog and affects your trust relationship. If your dog can only take a few minutes of shaving at a time, then let them play in-between. Some pet parents feel that they just want to get it over with. However, if you take this approach, your dog will become more agitated over time and will eventually not want to start a grooming session at all.

Rather try:

  • Muzzle
  • Use the right brush for brushing your particular furkids’ hair, or, use the brush your furkid likes. Some dogs just hate the feeling of certain brushes
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Walking or playing before the grooming session so that they are tired and more relaxed
  • Training by introducing the sound of the clipper early in life and by getting them used to being handled. Try touching the ears, back, legs, face, paws and teeth when they are puppies so that handling later on is normal.

Aspects to consider when grooming your dog

When grooming your dog, you want to find a quiet spot away from distractions and unruly noise. Some pet parents find grooming outside to be too distracting for dogs, whereas others find it peaceful and easy to clean up. Rewarding your dog with treats for good behaviour will encourage cooperation for future grooming sessions. Additionally, have all of your equipment ready beforehand, including the nail clippers if a manicure and pedicure is due! The best tip for clipping nails is to use a nail clipper that has a safety guard to prevent the nail from being cut too high.

Grooming your dog at home encourages a good relationship between dog and human. When bathing, consider massaging your pooch so that it is a relaxing experience.

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