Dog Grooming Instructions :
The Natural Way
Motivated to learn dog grooming instructions to save you money and time?
Listen up, courageous dog owner. We have prepared in-depth step-by-step instructions, tips, precautions and pictures that will have you grooming with the best of 'em in no time...
- The benefits of at-home dog grooming
- Health benefits of maintaining a well-groomed dog
- Required tools
- 9-step grooming instructions
- Alternatives to at-home grooming
- Dog nail trimming (separate page)
- Dog ear cleaning (separate page)
Despite the savings to your wallet and schedule, you may still feel that the hassle of learning dog grooming instructions outweighs the benefits.
Grooming your dog at home requires much time, preparation, patience and commitment, but if you're willing to give it a shot it can absolutely be worth it:
- Save Money & Time - Groomers seem to be getting more and more expensive, and for those of us with high-maintenance dogs, we’re looking at a trip to the groomer every five weeks! And how long does it take you to get in your car, drive to the groomer, explain what you want, drive home, drive back, pay for the service then drive home again? Just do the math and see what you could save if you decide to do it on your own.
- Happier Dogs - Many dogs aren’t wagging their tails through the door to the groomer. If you could eliminate that unpleasant trip from your dog’s life just by taking the time to learn dog grooming instructions, isn’t it worth it?
- Better Care - No one will ever treat your dog as well as you do!
- Better Dog Training & More Quality Time - Grooming your dog at home will likely become a source of quality time for you both. It allows you to work on obedience training and to spend more one-on-one time with your dog.
Even if you decide to continue using a professional groomer, you will still need to groom your dog at home from time to time. Cleanliness leads to healthiness...
Although many of us love to let our pooch's hair grow nice and long, it is often times impractical, not to mention dirty! The longer your dog's hair, the more frequently you will need to groom them.
The main health benefit is dog parasite control. When your dog's coat is well groomed, it is much easier to check what's going on underneath the fur. Fleas and other creepy crawlers like to make their homes on our pets, and the sooner you spot them the easier they are to control.
Keeping your dog's face well-groomed is also an important task. Having long hair hanging in your dog's eyes can bring unwanted bacteria and dirt which can lead to dog eye infections.
And for all of those furry and fluffy dogs out there, consistent grooming will prevent excessive matting. This is obviously a good thing, unless you're a fan of buzz cuts!
The tools required to groom your dog vary according to the type of dog and the look you are trying to achieve.
The first step to at-home grooming is to reflect on the temperament of your dog. If you have a dog that is very high strung and tends to freak out at the mere sight of clippers, it may be beneficial to talk with your holistic veterinarian about prescribing a sedative. This will calm your overactive dog enough so that you can get the job done.
Next, you will want to pick up some supplies:
- High quality dog grooming clippers - You do not go cheap when purchasing clippers for your dog’s hair. And do not buy clippers made for human hair. While the initial cost of quality animal clippers may be high, they can last you a few years, eliminating the need to re-purchase anytime soon.
- Dog brush - Opinions on which type of brush works best to learn dog grooming styles differ among professionals. Generally the size of the dog will be a good factor when choosing an appropriate brush, along with the type of fur the dog has. You want a brush with fine, bent bristles that will easily make their way though a tangled mess. We've had a lot of success with the Wood GripSoft Double-Sided Brush.
- Dog Comb - A sturdy metal comb is a great tool. The comb follows the brush and does a quick check for missed matted areas.
dog shampoo - A
clean dog is the
easiest dog to groom, so
the first step will be to bathe your dog with an organic dog
shampoo. NEVER use a shampoo formulated for human hair on
your dog. It is way too concentrated and could cause a dog skin
We're a fan of Castor & Pollux's Head to Tail Aloe Oatmeal Shampoo, which is especially great for dogs prone to skin rashes. The oatmeal keeps their coat healthy while the aloe heals the skin as explained above.
Once you have all of your essential tools, it is now time for the fun part…actually grooming your dog!
By the way, if you're a "learn by watching, listening and doing" kind of person, check out our Dog Grooming Video Reviews.
As long as you follow this 9-step process and keep your dog (and yourself!) calm, grooming your dog could become as routine as chow time (use the following links to jump ahead)...
- Choose the right spot
- Bathe your dog
- Brushing and combing
- Get the mats out
- Trimming/cutting prep
- Get your dog comfortable with the clippers
- Trimming the body, legs and head
- Trimming the face
- Bathe away the leftover hair
- Before any actual grooming begins, it is smart to pick an appropriate area of your home that will give you some space to work and is forgiving of a hairy mess! Many people choose to groom their dog outside, some prefer to place their dog on a table, and others are more comfortable sitting on the ground where they have more control over their dog’s movements. Do what makes you most comfortable.
- A clean dog is always much easier to groom. Not only is it easier on you but it will extend the life of your dog grooming clippers. If your dog has become extremely matted it may be difficult to give him a bath – in this case, it may be time for a good old- fashioned shave down! Even if your dog’s hair is in good shape, give them a thorough shampoo bath as well and allow them to dry before moving onto the next step.
- Once you and your clean dog are situated in your special grooming spot, take out your metal, heavy duty comb and your fine-wired brush. Start by combing out the areas that are not matted. Next it’s time to conquer the matted areas. These areas are often found behind the ears, under the tail, inside the thighs and on the backs of the rear legs. If you find a matted area, move onto the next step. If not, way to go, and move on to step 5!
- Getting out a tough matted section of hair can be tedious and occasionally painful for your dog. Keep this in mind and work slowly. First, take your comb and start at the edge of the mat, using the teeth of the comb to slowly pull the mat away from the skin. Once you have raised the mat as far away from the skin as possible, then take your scissors and begin to clip right under the mat. Though this clipping technique will probably not leave you with the look you intended when you set out to learn dog grooming styles, it is the best way to remove matted hair from your dog.
- Now you have finally gotten to the step where you can let your artistic juices flow - your dog is your canvas! Learn dog grooming styles that you prefer for your dog and practice, practice, practice!
- Please, don’t get overzealous with the clippers. Keep in mind that the noise clippers make is not one favored by our dog’s sensitive little ears. Turn the clippers on and allow your dog to become accustomed to the sound. Place the side of the clippers on the dog's skin and let them feel the vibrations. Once your dog seems accepting of them, you can begin using them on your dog's hair.
I hate the sound of the clippers almost as much as the vacuum cleaner. If my owner lays a few of my favorite treats in front of me and feeds me one periodically throughout my grooming session, I tend to not mind it quite as much.
- Finally the clipping begins by starting at the
back of the ears. The position that you hold the clippers is
very important in order to prevent a skin rash or
Lay them flat against the dog's body and make slow, long strokes following the way the dog's hair naturally lays. Refrain from making any type of scooping motion with the clippers. Use the same long slow strokes around the entire body of the dog until you reach the point where you began.
Proceed to the legs, using the same method and remembering to follow the lay of the hair. The top of the head can be trimmed using the clippers, but use caution when you get close to the eyes.
- Once you have finished with the clippers, your dog should be dying to get free and your arm will be aching. Are we having fun yet? Press on – you’re almost done! Now is time for your dog’s face. You will want to use your scissors VERY slowly around the eyes and nose. Many people like to use the scissors to trim the ears to a desired length. If you are very talented with the scissors then feel free to be creative when styling the adorable face of your dog.
- Lastly, you may find it necessary to bathe your dog after the grooming is complete. This depends on the type of hair the dog has and whether or not the trimmed hair is clinging on for dear life. It’s also a good way to get all of the loose hair out.
Congratulations! You made it - hopefully unscathed - through all nine steps. Give your dog a treat and pat yourself on the back. And remember, the more you do this with your dog, the easier it will get for both of you.
If at this point in the process you are feeling that this is all just too overwhelming, or if you have tried to learn and it did not work out as well as planned, there's no need to fret.
There are many wonderful groomers that can be found all over the country and finding the right one for you can be made easier with a few recommendations...
Find a Dog Groomer in Your Area
Check out findagroomer.com to search for a dog groomer in your area. Their site includes the three types listed below...
Home-based groomers bring the dogs into their own homes for grooming sessions. In addition to often being a more comfortable setting for your dog, home-based groomers are also more likely to groom your dog while you wait. Not only will this save you time, but you can also learn how to do it yourself by watching a pro in action.
The average cost for these sessions is $50 to $70.
Mobile groomers have put their shop on wheels. They usually have a good-sized van that they have transformed into a mini-shop just perfect for home visits.
Other benefits include:
- Relief of stress from travel and noisy grooming shops
- Animals are not caged and are not forced to sit and wait for other dogs
- No dog separation anxiety
- No contact with other animals
- Accommodates busy schedules
- Reasonable rates ($60 - $75, depending on business)
- As with home based groomers, mobile groomers allow you to learn dog grooming styles by observing
Whether you learn dog grooming at home or hire a professional, make sure that all natural and organic supplies are used. Many groomers who have "gone green" or choose natural products will advertise this. If not, simply ask the groomer. They are required to tell you each and every tool/wash that they will use on your dog.
Also, any time you bring your dog to a new groomer, ask what their health code policy is. You don't want your dog to come in contact with other dogs carrying an illness or disease.
Lastly, make sure that the groomer you have selected does not over book dogs. You want to make sure your dog gets all of the groomer's focus and attention during their individual grooming session.
The average cost for a trip to the grooming salon is between $50 and $80.
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