Taking your dog to a professional groomer from a young age can introduce your pooch to social skills and behaviors while maintaining his health and appearance. Groomers typically provide a range of services including bathing, clipping, nail cutting, fur dematting and styling, as well as anal gland expression and tooth brushing.
Sit, Stay, Behave
Groomers appreciate it when a dog customer has gone through obedience training and can follow basic commands, including "sit," "stay" and "lie down." Not only does basic obedience make a grooming visit easier for both your pooch and the groomer, it’s also important to your pup’s safety. For example, a wiggling pooch who won’t listen runs the risk of getting accidentally cut by grooming shears or clippers. While professional groomers are usually very cautious, good pet behavior helps the overall process.
Your pooch will come in contact with a number of other dogs while at the grooming salon. Dogs are usually kenneled side-by-side while waiting their turn, and while being dried after grooming. Groomers typically work in open grooming stations where dogs can see and hear each other throughout their grooming sessions. If your dog hasn't been socialized and isn’t used to being around other pups, he may growl, bark, lurch and otherwise show bad doggy manners that can throw the whole grooming salon into a chaotic environment.
Practice Makes Perfect
Prepare your pooch for his first groomer visit by making sure he’s comfortable having his face, ears, feet and rear touched without becoming agitated or snapping. When you brush your dog at home, hold and massage his feet, gently clean his ears, hold his chin and open his mouth. Going through these steps from an early age, and prior to a first groomer visit, will help ensure your dog will be comfortable with this type of routine handling.
Get your dog accustomed to grooming tools like clippers, brushes and scissors in advance of his first groomer visit. Allow him to look at and smell these tools at home, and turn on the clippers to get him accustomed to the sound. You might even gently run the clippers over his body, even if you don't do any actual trimming with the blade, to get him comfortable with the vibration and feel.
Go for a Visit
Ask your groomer if it's alright to bring your dog in for a visit before his actual grooming appointment. This gives your pooch the opportunity to see and smell the surroundings and possibly even meet the groomer who will be working on him. You can also ask your groomer for tips on specific advance preparation. For example, some groomers prefer you feed and walk your dog an hour or two before his grooming visit to ensure there are no accidents on the grooming table.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.