Your pup may love their COVID-induced break from the groomer, but they'll likely need help when their bangs get long and coats get matted. There are tons of instructional videos and articles online on how to groom your dog. More important than the mechanics of grooming though, we have some tips for your approach to undertaking this task in the first place.
- Get the right tools for the job. Prepare for your new life as a stand-in groomer by ordering the right tools. The basics are available at pet stores or online. Invest in a dog clipper, dog shampoo, a nail trimmer, cotton balls, and find the right brush for your dog’s fur type. It's also important to avoid using human shampoo and scissors. You are now ready to go, but are they?
- Buy their compliance with treats. This is a new way to interact with your pup, so help them get used to being handled this way. Your early grooming sessions may not have any actual grooming, but should have lots of touching and love. Get your dog used to you touching their feet while you give them high value treats. Let your dog sniff your new tools and get used to the idea of being touched with them.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Grooming does not have to be done all at once. Start after a long walk to get your pup tired, and make sure both of you are feeling calm and relaxed. If you find your blood pressure rising or if they are giving you the side eye, back off and try another day. After all, time and space are infinite right now! After your pup gets used to this happening, slowly increase the length of the sessions. If there is a problem area like mats or eye discharge, it doesn't need to all be solved in one day. It will get better. You are a zen flower.
- Keep calm and carry on. Once you have fixed a problem area, keep at it to prevent more problems from arising. For example, if your pup has an issue with eye discharge, a wiping downward a few times each day with a damp cotton ball will (eventually) solve the problem. But once it's solved, a few swipes during a grooming session will prevent more build up from occuring.
- Good enough is ok. Just like all areas of our lives right now, we are finding ways to make it through. You don't need to achieve the perfect show-ready haircut for your dog. In fact, you don't even need to groom your whole dog at all. Just make sure they can see, aren't slipping on wood floors, and don't have mats. Employ any shortcuts and workarounds at your disposal to get your pup safely to their regular grooming appointment.
With this approach, your new career as a stand-in groomer will be attainable and hopefully fun. We'd love to see your dog's silly haircuts over the next few weeks, please feel free to share with us on our Facebook group or Instagram. Happy snipping!