Visiting the Groomer

Not Every Dog Loves a Long Shower and Pampering

Following on from our more general discussions on helping puppies and dogs be more comfortable in new situations we look at making your dog's life much easier by getting them used to visiting the groomer. Your groomer (and vet) will love you for putting in the time and effort with this. Always have a think about what are all the things about this new experience that my dog might not be ok with and work on those until your dog is happy with them.

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Groomer Visit

New things to consider:

  • Smells of cleaning products
  • Being washed (if you don't have that sorted already)
  • Hair being brushed
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Nail clipping
  • New people
  • Being handled a lot by new people
  • Hair dryers
  • Scissors
  • High tables
  • Crates (for waiting for appointments or pick up)
A lot of dogs struggle with visiting the groomer. A big part of the issue is not being used to being handled by new people along with the noisy equipment that is sometimes used to get a nice hair cut and blow dry.

One of the biggest things to prepare for this is to do lots of handling work. That is, firstly amongst family, to spend time every night going over your dog's whole body and getting them used to having those body parts fiddled with. So lightly run your finger along your dog's nose and give a treat. Have a look into an eye, and give a treat. Lift the flews up to look at the teeth, and give a treat. Do this along the whole body. Each day spend a little longer on each body part, examine it a little more closely, moving the hair back and forth, lightly pulling and tugging on the area (as if lightly pulled by a brush). This is not only good for your groomer but also your vet. Work in towel drying, teeth cleaning and nail clipping in the same manner.

Washing is something to get your dog used to early on. There will be times on a long walk late on a bank holiday Friday night where there won't be a groomer available for days and your dog will decide to roll in fox poo. There is no alternative other than to wash them or move house after the weekend. To get started use your bath or shower. Put a little luke warm water in the base and smear some healthy peanut butter on the wall/bath side. Slowly lower your dog into place and let them munch on the peanut butter. Take them out and towel them off (build up the towel with the handling work above). The next time lightly splash some water up onto the lower legs to get them used to that. Each time get the water a little higher up on the body and slowly add your lotions and potions. Any time your dog gets nervous, make it easier again. 

Things like hair dryers can be very scary given the sudden loud noise and moving air. They are, from a dog's point of view very unpredictable. If your hairdryer has a low setting, run it at this setting in the distance (another room) while your dog eats their breakfast. Then move up to being in the same room, gradually move to lightly blowing on your dogs feet and then through the rest of the hair. Remember that this will take several sessions to build up to. Now you may be luck and have one of those dogs that just loves to be pampered from the get go, but most of us aren't that lucky.