Grooming is a pleasurable social activity among wild dogs carried out by mutual licking. Primates engage in intense bouts of hair care and flea picking and horses love to nibble each others manes and backs. Grooming is, therefore, an important behavioral interaction between man and dog. In return dogs will groom us by licking our hands and exposed skin.

The Zoom Groom, which I recommend which is sold in most  good pet shops, provides the ultimate massage and grooming experience for your dog. It has rubber “fingers” that reach through thick or matted hair to the underlying skin and gently pluck out dead hair and dirt. Start grooming as early as possible.

Check and handle the ears, eyes, teeth, and nails. All dogs need grooming, some more than others. Generally, the longer the hair, the more frequently the grooming will be required. Introduce the brush and comb as a pleasant experience while the dog is still a puppy for short but frequent periods. Even though not a lot of grooming will be required, this will result in a young adolescent dog not regarding the brush and comb as unpleasant and making grooming a struggle for you.

The worst thing is only to think about grooming when the dog becomes knotted and tangled, or its fur is clogged with dried mud. If you have a dog with badly knotted fur the easiest way to get him to hate being groomed is to introduce the brush and comb at this point. Badly knotted fur should only be dealt with by experts. Consult your vet or a grooming specialist.

Some breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers, Scotties, Schnauzers and Poodles need to have their fur trimmed regularly. Inquire if you are in any doubt. Bathing regularly is not a good idea as a rule. Even dog shampoo removes natural oils from the coat. This can cause skin irritations and a dull coat. Many times I heard someone remark: Whenever I bath my dog it goes straight out and rolls in the garden and makes itself all dirty again.” Take a dog for a walk after rain and it aims for a real muddy puddle and rolls in it. Why? Washing a dog washes away his identity, his smell. This can result in stress, the dog not feel good or natural. So it rolls to try to get its identity back. A similar thing applies when it rolls in dung. By nature dogs are hunters and instinct tells it that to get close to a herd to kill for food, it should smell like the herd.

Nail cutting. Never by a nail cutter and never take advice from anyone except a vet. When nails are very long, should be carried out by a vet as it is easy to cut into a vein in the nail. A vet will be able to cauterise it at once should this happen. The best way to keep your dogs nails in trim is to take lots of walks on hard surfaces. A good tip if you are unable to visit the vet is to use a nail file and do a nail a day.

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