Home Grooming

  • By admin
  • August 16, 2014
  • Comments Off on Home Grooming

My dog won’t allow me to handle it in this way …
If your dog is unaccustomed to being handled for grooming out or wellness inspection, begin
with ‘gentling’ – firm but calm & persistent gentle handling, massaging & palpating. Start with short
sessions – as little as 5 minutes for the first few days – everyday.
During handling & grooming positively reinforce every desirable behaviour with a small but highly
desirable titbit & calm praise without over fussing. Ignore all undesirable behaviors, correcting
your dog’s position if necessary & persist with the gentling session. Next, introduce grooming tools
by gently touching & stroking your pet with them, all over the body. Positively reinforce every
desirable behaviour.
You are teaching your dog The Grooming Game – one which you manage & lead. Your dog will
learn to tolerate being handled for grooming or veterinary examination.
With handling control you are teaching your dog to sit & stand appropriately during the game. To
aid learning, confine grooming to a designated quiet area to allow it to concentrate without
distraction. A leash attached to a wall hook or a door handle will safely restrain it & keep it
Better still, confine your dog to a table top for grooming. Ensure that restraint is safe, controlled &
supervised at all times. Table training may take patience, time & practice. Positive reinforcement
will help to accelerate learning.
Your dog should begin to enjoy being handled this way within a few days & look forward to
playing the game. As your dog’s enjoyment of the game increases, progress to brushing out every
part of its coat.
Pay particular attention to brushing out the following often neglected areas where the coat is
prone to matting:

  • Behind the ears
  • Collar area
  • Ruff & furnishings
  • Sides of the body
  • ‘Armpits’
  • Rear inner thighs & groin
  • Undercarriage, Sanitary/genital area, Base of tail & length of tail
  • Legs – if necessary ‘anchor’ each leg by holding it firmly with your free hand above the elbow or top of thigh while brushing it out with your working hand.
  • Feet – lift then firmly but gently hold the ‘wrist’ or ‘ankle’ area to properly brush out the tops of the feet before combing out coat between the toes & then underneath, between the pads.

Nails – even if you don’t trim them yourself, gently handle & inspect each one, including any
dew claws. Neglected nail overgrowth causes extreme discomfort or pain & can have
detrimental consequences to a dog’s quality of life. Nails need to be trimmed regularly if they are
not naturally ground down through exercise on rough, abrasive surfaces like tarmac or paving.
Eyes & ears – Wipe around eyes to keep them clear them of discharge, which can become
infected. If necessary, gently wipe clean the insides of ears with a piece of cotton wool
dampened with witch hazel (a mild, natural astringent) or an ear cleaning solution.
Mouth & teeth – Inspect teeth & the inside the mouth by gently massaging & lifting the flews.
Sanitary & Genital areas – inspect & if necessary wipe clean regularly to maintain hygiene.
As the coat grows & the ends of the hair dry out or split you may find it more difficult to keep
tangles & knots at bay. Leave-in conditioner or detangling solution spritzed through the coat &
left to dry before brushing out can help to smooth the cuticles of the hair until your dog’s coat
can be professionally trimmed to a more manageable length.

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