Preparing to visit the groomer

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Grooming is an essential aspect of your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. However, it can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for them, especially if they’re not used to it. If you have a dog that will need grooming, there are five things you should do to prepare them for those visits. If you aren’t sure if your dog will need regular grooming, click here for a list of dog breeds that will.

  1. Find a groomer you trust

Finding a trustworthy groomer will make your first appointment less stressful for you and your dog. Look for referrals from friends, family, or fellow dog owners. Visit the salon to see if it meets your needs and ask questions about their experience grooming, how many dogs they take at a time, and how long they kennel dogs for. Ensure their salon is clean, transparent about their processes and their prices are within your budget.

  1. Crate train your dog

Crate training your dog ahead of time will make their experience at the groomer’s much more enjoyable. Often, groomers will crate dogs to keep them separate from each other in the salon and dry them using large dryers inside their crates. Crate training your dog takes time and consistency, so starting when you first get your dog will help that transition. If you are looking for resources on how to do that process, our video series on crate training will walk you through it step by step – get started here. Ask your groomer about crate-free grooming as well.

  1. Get them used to the sounds of grooming tools

Introducing each sound paired with treats and your calm and happy voice will teach your dog that the sounds predict good times and happy emotions. Start by turning on your hair dryer or bath for a few seconds while feeding your puppy treats and speaking in a happy voice. This will help desensitize your puppy to the sound and make it a rewarding and positive experience.

  1. Get them used to the physical sensations of being groomed

Your dog will experience many new physical sensations at the groomers, such as brushing, hair clipping, nail trimming, and bathing. Use your hands to get them used to having their body touched all over while simultaneously giving them treats. Once they are comfortable with that, start using a regular hairbrush or buy a hardpin or slicker brush, use a hair dryer, scissors, and dog nail clippers to practice the different sensations. Take it step by step, using rewards, and breaking it down into small steps.

  1. Take them for a visit before their appointment

Take your dog to the salon to meet the groomer and have a positive experience in the space. Give them lots of encouragement, praise, and treats but don’t force them to do something they are uncomfortable with. If your dog is reluctant to go into the shop, spend some time outside, letting them explore while dropping treats on the ground for them to pick up.

By following these five steps, your dog should be ready and prepared to go to the groomer and have a successful experience! If you have any questions or feel unprepared, speak to your groomer about what else they suggest or contact a positive reinforcement trainer to help guide you through the process even further. Remember, grooming is an essential part of your dog’s health and wellbeing, and by preparing them for the experience, you are ensuring they will have a positive and enjoyable grooming experience for years to come.

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