Grooming is an important responsibility of all dog owners. Implement a grooming routine that includes cleaning, clipping, trimming and brushing while your pooch is still a pup.
Step 1. Find an area to groom.
Decide if you’ll want to groom your dog on a table or on the floor. For most, grooming your dog on a table will be the easiest on your back. Some large-breed dogs will quickly outgrow a table, however, so you may want to initialize grooming routines on the floor. Never groom a dog on your lap, even as a puppy.
When choosing a table, make sure it’s sturdy and not slick. Put the table in an area with few distractions, and your puppy will be more compliant.
Step 2. Prepare your pooch.
Place your puppy on the table, and keep a firm grip on her. Puppies are curious and will naturally wander over to the edge — a problem since they lack a sense of depth perception and may accidentally walk off the table.
Talk to your puppy the whole time she’s on the table, but never yell or discipline at this time. Pet her and conduct a general inspection, taking a peek in her mouth and ears. Pick up your puppy’s paws and gently touch the toenails — this prepares her for having her nails cut. If your puppy becomes skittish or rebels, try again later.
Step 3. Get started slowly.
Have the brush on the table before you put your puppy on it. Let her sniff and investigate the brush so she realizes it’s nothing threatening.
Gently brush your puppy and get her used to the feel of the tool. Don’t be concerned with styling, just simple brushing. You may find your dog likes her stomach brushed, and when she’s put on the table, she’ll flop over on her back.
You can prevent this by placing one hand under your pup’s chest to hold her up.
Step 4. Advance only when your dog is ready.
After brushing is comfortable and familiar, extend the session with nail trimming, ear cleaning and bathing. Proceed slowly with each new grooming activity.
Before trimming nails, ask your vet for a demonstration. Nail trimming, if done properly, is a quick and painless task. However, you risk hurting your dog if the procedure is done improperly.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask a groomer or other dog owners for advice and tips.