Dog Grooming at Home: Tips to Make It Easier

Grooming your dog at home can save you significant time and money in the long run. But grooming a dog at home can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience for both dogs and humans alike, leading many pet parents to take their dogs to professional groomers instead. If you’ve been outsourcing your dog grooming to others, here are tips for getting both yourself and your dog comfortable with brushing, bathing, and nail trimming at home (with the help of lots of praise and treats for dogs).

General Tips for Grooming Dogs at Home

There are many different aspects to grooming your dog at home, including brushing, trimming their coat, giving them a bath, and trimming their nails. Most people are able to at least brush their dogs and bathe them at home, which can save you money and stressful trips to the groomer. Some dog owners prefer to leave coat and nail trimming to the professionals, while others master doing this at home as well.

If neither you nor your dog is used to grooming at home yet, brushing is usually the easiest activity to get started with since it doesn’t involve water, scissors, or clippers. You can then work your way through bathing, then clipping their nails, and finally trimming their coat if necessary (not all dog breeds have coats that need trimming).

Whenever you try out a new grooming activity at home, keep the sessions short to start out with. The point isn’t necessarily to get all the grooming done at first, it’s to get both you and your dog comfortable with the grooming process and tools. If your dog is very nervous and hates being groomed, you might need to begin with them sniffing the grooming tools or just running the water in the tub until they calm down enough for you to actually start grooming them.

build positive associations dog bones

Shower your dog with praise throughout the grooming process and periodically reward them with long-lasting dog bones. You want to show them that grooming isn’t a scary experience and that it involves lots of compliments and treats. The praise and treats will help them build positive associations between getting groomed and receiving rewards, which will help to address any nervousness they feel about grooming.

It can sometimes help to have a friend or family member help you bathe your dog, especially if they are on the larger side or very nervous and prone to bolting. That way, one of you can hold the dog steady while the other one uses the brush or gives them a bath. Your helper should be someone the dog knows and loves since introducing a stranger into the equation will likely stress them out further.

Always go slow and don’t rush the grooming process. Expect things to take longer in the beginning since you are still learning the grooming processes. You will also be periodically stopping to praise and treat your dog, which will add time to the process. If you rush things, you will stress both yourself and your dog out — not to mention that you will be more prone to accidental mistakes like getting soap in their eyes or nicking them with the trimmers.



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