Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Training a Pet to Love Being Groomed

Dog Grooming
"Dog Being Groomed"
(C) Cleaner Paws
For some dog owners reading the title of this article, your initial reaction may simply be - impossible! We understand, we get it, some dogs, no matter how hard you’ve tried so far just thoroughly dislike being groomed.

Whether this is done by a professional groomer or at home, your dog’s resistance to being groomed often means you stop enjoying the process of having them cleaned and thus the cycle begins with this displeasure multiplying.

The most common piece of advice often handed out is simply start grooming your dog when they are young. If you wash them regularly as a puppy, they should in theory just get used to the practice and accept it over time even if they don’t necessarily enjoy it. However, this isn’t always possible for some owners, what about if you have only recently adopted your pet? Or if you did as everyone seems to advise and frequently groom your puppy only for them to grow up and still not take a liking to it?

If either of these scenarios sounds familiar then this post may be for you. We don't for a second claim to have the one size fits all solution for all pets, we wish we did have but quite frankly I don’t think it exists. Instead we will offer three tips that if followed can make the process of grooming your pet far more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

As we’ve mentioned, none of these tips will be necessarily ground breaking. In fact to some they may be pieces of advice that you’ve already heard elsewhere, or may even seem like plain old common sense. However using our 40+ years of combined professional pet grooming experience (Both me and my Mom) we believe these three easy to follow tips are the best place to start for owners looking to make the whole grooming experience a more pleasurable one.

Improve Your Dog’s Attention Span
Now bear with us for a second here. We know you’re probably thinking to yourself that this is far easier said than done. Especially when you are confronted with a boisterous young puppy who doesn’t want to sit still for longer than 30 seconds. At this stage in their development dogs are easily distracted, and as we all know it doesn’t take much for them to be disturbed and attracted by virtually anything that moves.

"Dog Being Groomed"
(C) Cleaner Paws
This is obviously a groomers worst nightmare (we can confirm this 100%!) and will lead to issues both if you decide to professionally groom your pet or if you carry out the process at home.

The problem with this tip is that it really does take time to see results but when your pet does start to learn this new behavior, boy will you see an improvement in how much easier it is to groom them!

The best way to and improve your dog’s attention span is to work on commands from an early age, once they have a good understanding of these and what it is you want them to do you can then start introducing distractions.

This should hopefully improve their concentration and by getting them to focus on one thing at a time you should find it easier to train them in other areas as well.

Introduce Your Dog to Noisy and Crowded Environments Slowly
This tip relates specifically to having your dog professional groomed. It is not uncommon for a grooming salon to be both noisy and crowded at times and ensuring your pet is comfortable in this type of environment will have a huge impact on their overall enjoyment of the process.

By introducing them to these types of environment slowly you will ensure they avoid experiences that will leave a negative impression and potentially lead to them thinking of these surroundings unfavorably. Although great for grooming, this technique will also help to make your dog more sociable around large groups and show them they have nothing to be afraid of when meeting strangers.

A professional groomer can be just this, a stranger that not only is your pet wary of but also wants them to sit for long periods at a time while they groom them with unusual tools and products.

Familiarizing your pet with surroundings such as these will only help when taking them to be groomed and just by introducing them slowly to shops of this kind and crowded places you will be met with far less resistance when you try to do so in the future.

Use Practice Objects
Although this might sound a little strange at first this is actually our favorite tip to give to pet owners looking to calm the nerves of their anxious dogs before grooming them.

It is quite simple in practice and works along the same lines of familiarizing your pet with a process they aren’t too sure about. Grooming your pet will obviously involve a number of different items being used, from nail clippers to hair dryers.

Not only can these foreign objects frighten your pet if caught off guard but they also come into very close contact with their skin, face and eyes.

You can train your dog to become used to these objects by practicing with ‘safe’ items first. To do this you can literally use anything you have nearby and should begin by running the object around your pet’s face and paws to see how they react.

In most cases it should be absolutely fine, in which case you can progress to using the real thing but if your dog does start to act anxiously you know to slow things down slightly. Not only is this a great way to familiarize your pet with the process but it also means if you do catch or motion too close to them you won’t do any harm at all.

We hope you can take at least one of these tips and implement it effectively to help change your dog’s attitude towards being groomed. As with any pet training practice, patience really is key but the results are definitely worth it.

Just remember to reward your pet when they have done well and rather than having to drag your pet to be groomed they may even start to remind you.

About the Author:

As well as being a full time pet groomer, Jenny Nolan enjoys splitting her time between looking after her lovable dogs and a little too much time shopping online for pet supplies! As well as that she contributes to family run blog Cleaner Paws along with Mom Sue.
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