If you can turn dog grooming from a chore into a positive experience, both you and your puppy will reap the rewards.
Groom your puppy for improvement
Regular grooming is a healthy habit for your dog. And it can be a fun one too, if you start early and give your puppy plenty of positive things on which to focus.
It all starts with your attitude. Make grooming seem exciting and give your dog plenty of praise when he sits still for you. If you treat grooming activities like a chore and are gruff with your dog, he’ll pick up on that. You may also want to give a food reward – ideally a piece of your dog’s normal food – for good behaviour. And if you start grooming when your dog is a puppy, those positive reinforcements will make the process so much easier when he gets older.
Learn how to use grooming tools properly, otherwise they can be ineffective or even hurt your puppy.
Dog grooming checklist
Here’s a basic grooming routine, as well as things to look out for while grooming your puppy. If you notice any of these, see your vet.
- Brushing – For many dogs, brushing is an enjoyable experience. It feels good for them, and it gives you a chance to look for unusual lumps under the skin, rashes, bald spots, sores or dull or flaky skin. Ask your vet about anything you find that's unusual.
- Brushing teeth – Make it more enjoyable by using special flavoured dog toothpaste and be sure to dole out plenty of praise. Warning signs to look out for include strong breath odour, red or bright-pink and swollen gums, and excessive tartar, which turns teeth yellow or brown.
- Bathing – Many dogs enjoy the water. Bring toys and make it fun. Also, use special dog shampoo. Remember not to bathe too often. To read more about bathing, click here.
- Checking eyes, ears, paws and skin – This should be an integral part of the grooming routine. Make it fun and worthwhile for your dog by rewarding him for sitting still while you make sure his eyes are clear and free of discharge, his ears don’t have a strong smell or any signs of infection, his paws don’t have cuts or material packed in them and his skin is free of rashes or lumps.
With rewards, praise and a good attitude, you can make grooming something your dog looks forward to – and that makes it easier for puppy and owner alike.