Doggie Grooming: General

Grooming is a key part of your dog’s health. It should be started as early as possible, even if you adopt an older dog.

First step: Body handling

Start slowly with short sessions and work your way up to longer sessions.

In order to groom your dog properly it is important that your dog be very comfortable with you, and comfortable with you handing their body at any time, this is often referred to as body handling. Grooming and body handling will help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Start by kneeling on the floor with your legs crossed behind you, and your dog facing you. If you cannot get on your knees, you may do this from a chair or sofa. Next gently cup the dog’s lower jaw in your left hand (or right if you are left handed) slowly and gently stroke their head. If they resist do not pressure them, just try again later for shorter time periods. This is supposed to be fun. Do be careful when doing this, it should not develop into a fearful situation.

Once your dog is comfortable with you stroking the head, slowly move to their chest, once they are comfortable with the head and chest you may precede to other parts of the body, such as the legs, paws (even in-between the pads), and back. Remember to praise the dog in a calm voice during body handling. You may even offer treats too, but not too many.

Once you can stroke the entire body and legs of your dog in this manner, while in the sitting position, you may move on. The next step is to gently look into the dog’s eyes and ears, touching all of their toes, and gently massaging the outer surface of the gums. Now that you have your dog very comfortable doing body handling while sitting, you can guide the dog into laying down and repeating the steps until they reach the same comfort level as they did when sitting.     

Photo of Ivy in the yard looking at the camera, she has just been given a bath and has been brushed, she is dry and looking very good.