Is grooming right for my dog?

Grooming isn’t just for show animals. Fur trimming, de-matting, and a good, thorough bath can be done by an experienced professional to round out the regular care ate come. Groomers do more than cut fur. They offer nail trimming, ear and teeth cleaning, anal gland expression and flea and tick checks. It’s not essential, but the health and comfort of your dog can be enhanced by visits to the groomer. Some people take their dogs to the groomer every six weeks, and others take their dog once a year for de-matting and trimming in time for the hot summer months.

Preparing Your Dog for the Groomer

Try to make sure that the grooming experience is not traumatic for your dog. Ttart visiting the groomer early in your puppy’s life, so that it becomes habitual. In puppy training classes, I encourage dog owners to touch their puppy’s ears and paws on a regular basis. Dog’s instinctively avoid paw and ear contact because these parts are quite sensitive. Even if you don’t use a groomer, it will be far easier on you and the dog to trim nails and clean ears if your dog is accustomed to contact and handling.

Make decisions in advance about the services and cut that you want. Look up images of your dog’s breed to see the range of grooming styles available. If your dog is a mix breed, then look at breeds that have similar coats to your dog. Print out the style you want to show the groomer. The last thing you want is to pay a dog groomer a lot of money only to hate the way your dog looks.

You should be prepared to show proof of rabies and Bordetella shots. You will be asked to fill out an intake form with contact information and the services you want. You will be asked to permit the groomer to shave areas where your dog’s fur is too matted. This is for the dog’s sake as well as the groomer’s. It is painful and stressful for your dog to have a matt combed out. Better to keep up with regular brushing at home, or get ready for a very tight cut to get the dog to a more comfortable state.

Picking the type of Groomer?

There are two different ways you can get dog grooming services. The traditional bricks and mortar service involves dropping of your dog at the dog groomer location. Also, there now are many mobile grooming services available as well. Each of these types come with pros and cons.

The mobile grooming service comes to your home. The cost is about the same as a drop-off location, The groomer will be paying exclusive attention to your dog, and generally finishes up more quickly. This saves on time, because the groomer can work without distractions and get the job done. Owners can either wait, or, if there is an ongoing relationship of trust, some owners will give the mobile groomer a key to let the dog back into the house. On the down side, to make money, the groomer has to make multiple stops in the day. This means that the groomer has less time to take a break if the dog is getting stressed by the grooming process.

Location groomers accept your dog at a morning drop off and either call when the dog is ready or keep the dog until the end of the day. There are the groomers that do this service exclusively. Either as a sole operation or attached to a pet food store, these places have facilities to accommodate multiple dogs and take their time to complete the grooming. This gives the groomer the ability to take a break and let the dog get comfortable if the process is causing stress. Pet stores frequently do the grooming in an open area so that the grooming process can be monitored. Other location groomers are connected to a veterinarian or a doggy day care. The vets often combine grooming with other care like shots, and doggy day care will give the dog a chance to play with other dogs after a grooming session is over.

The downside of location services should be taken into account. All of these location services will take multiple dogs. The presence of other dogs, some of whom will be barking or howling through the process, can add to the stress of the grooming experience. Location groomers often hire multiple groomers, so it is hard to be certain that the same groomer will work with your dog, and it is hard to know if a positive or negative review is about a specific groomer or the location as a whole.

Picking the Groomer that Right for Your Dog

In addition to the pros and cons of the type of groomer, there are other considerations. Do some research on the groomer. I strongly recommend looking at yelp or other reviews to decide whether to use a groomer. Your dog trainer can be a resource for picking a groomer as well. Look at the groomer’s website to review the range of services and any other description of the philosophy of the groomer. Does the groomer offer all the additional services like nail trimming? Don’t be afraid to talk to the groomer and ask to see the facilities. You don’t want to trust your dog to a groomer who refuses to allow you to see where your dog will be worked on and kept when the work is done.

Grooming is a useful, beneficial way to take care of your dog. Some common sense and some preparation will make the process a positive experience worth repeating.

About Gwen Podulka

Gwen is a certified professional dog trainer with over 20 years experience and proud owner of TRAINED.

Her journey began with the adoption of a deaf Dalmatian, launching her into the world of agility and teaching at the Humane Society in Columbus Ohio while managing bookstores across the Greater Lakes area.

Her love of the dogs and people took her cross country to train service dogs with Canine Companions for Independence for people with disabilities.

Gwen has continued her education through out the years finding a passion teaching classes, a love of DC’s incredi-bullies, and an ability to read and help people work with their reactive dogs through a multitude of issues using positive training methods.