1. Get Your Pooch Sufficiently Dirty!
Jack is preferable to running in mud puddles, but other dogs might be more apt to traditional methods like running through manure piles. Be creative with this, just do what feels right! You might even want to join in the fun!
2. Pick The Right Tools!
Your dog might have skin sensitivities you’re not even aware of! It’s a good idea to stick to shampoos with soothing natural ingredients like aloe or oatmeal. And you should never use human shampoos, they contain chemicals that can be harmful for Fido! A dog’s skin is 3-5 layers thick, and Ph is 7.5; A human’s by contrast is 10-15 layers thick and Ph is 5.5. They need different treatment. Choosing the right brush is important too. You wouldn’t want to use the same brush on a Golden Retriever as you would a Jack Russell. We use a handheld thick blunt steel pronged brush for his top-coat, and a Furminator for his undercoat. You can buy a Furminator knock-off from Amazon or Walmart for $10-$30 compared to $50 from PetSmart!
3. Don’t Overgroom!
A lot of people get a little overzealous with how beautiful their dog is, but please don’t brush him or her everyday. If you groom too often you can end up with patchy, bald, or otherwise damaged skin. Most sources recommend once a weak grooming for long-haired dogs, and less often for short haired dogs, but some dogs have unique reasons to need more brushing. Check with your vet how often you should brush, because let’s face it you don’t want to turn your Smeagol into a Gollum!
4. Buy a Rubber Mat!
An inexpensive rubber mat can be a great tool! Put it down on the shower floor or tub to prevent your pooch from slip sliding around! Often this is one of the reasons dogs hate showers and bathrooms. You can find a cheap one for $2 at Dollarama.
5. Give Lots of Treats!
Provide a lot of treats, preferably ones that are low calorie but very crunchy. This way you don’t have to worry about over feeding him, but the crunchiness will keep him occupied. Sassy Jack’s beet chips are great for this! Wink wink 😉
6. Keep Styptic Powder on Hand!
clipping your dogs nails can be terrifying. Nobody wants to accidentally cut the quick (the vein in the toenail). Styptic powder will stop the bleed instantly! It’s also a good idea to start small. When I first cut Jack’s nails I would only trim little bits at a time, to get us both comfortable. You can also examine any white nails to get a good idea of how far the quick goes. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any, flour can work as a quick alternative. Follow this link, Trimming Your Dogs Nails – Do It Yourself Guide, for a great step-by-step guide to nail clipping!
7. Clip the Fur Around the Feet!
Some dogs get extremely long hair around their feet. This can make it hard to see their nails, and can cause un-comfortable snow clumping in the winter. Try to keep it at a reasonable length, and be sure to push hair out from between the toes to make sure it isn’t missed.
8. Don’t Force the Blow Dryer!
I know it can be temping to blow-dry them so their hair dries in the proper direction or you don’t get wet dog all over the house. But many dogs are afraid of the blow-dryer, and it may cause them to be more afraid the next time you groom them. We stick to towel drying. And as an added bonus when we have to gate Jack in the kitchen occasionally he charms us with the songs of his people!
9. Brush Against the Grain First!
This tip is more important for medium to long hair dogs. Brushing against the grain first will help to remove dead hair, and stimulate the skin. After you brush against the grain do a second round of brushing with the grain. I know you’ll see a difference if you haven’t done this before!
10. Don’t Bathe Your Dog Too Often!
A Dog’s scent is a very important part of their identity and their ability to smells defines how they see the world. They have 300 million olfactory receptors, where as we only have 6 million. They rely on their sense of smell more than any other sense, it isn’t fair for us to muck it up with perfumes and soap smells. And to other dogs they just smell silly, it would be like if someone forced you to wear these all the time:
11. Be Patient and Confident.
Your dog isn’t’ going to be 100% comfortable with you grooming them right off the bat. Give them time. At the same time, be sure to be confident and show that in your movements. Dogs can sense moods better than we can. You wouldn’t want the nervous barber doing your straight razor shave and your dog doesn’t want a nervous human clipping his nails.
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