Dog grooming training is best if started from the day when you first bring your dog home. Start by getting the whole family involved with handling the puppy all over, including playing with the paws, looking in the mouth and also in the ears. Then get any visitors to do the same. This handling will go a long way to training your dog when it is time for his first clipping and grooming session. Even if you get a pup who doesn’t need regular grooming and clipping, handling his paws will help down the track if the nails need clipping. Help your dog get accustomed to handling by as many people as possible from a young age and you will find he/she will be a lot less stressed, especially for those dogs who are going to need grooming on a regular basis. Your dog will need regular checkups at the vet so by training him /her for grooming all over will make things much easier when it comes to vet checks.
This book is directed towards teaching both owner and groomer how to use the clicker methods in order to make grooming and enjoyable process for both dog and caregiver alike. As a professional groomer and dog trainer, Karen has been able to combine both roles to show how all dogs can enjoy the process, and remove the stress often associated with handling. Small or big, young or old every dog that Karen has groomed loves the outcome. They prance and run around with a renewed sense of invigorated freedom. It’s not only the dog’s that love it, the owners too are always pleased, their dog looks good, feels good and smells great – a combination that inspires happiness all round.
Start training your dog for grooming by getting an appropriate size and type of brush for his/her type of coat. Gently brush the puppy for very short periods of time but on a regular basis. Rub your hands down his/her back, around the stomach area, down the legs – get him/her used to being handled. Particularly, start getting the puppy used to grooming in the areas where matting tends to occur, i.e. around the ears, the tail, under the belly area and under the shoulders. Part of your dog’s training should be with strangers. Give the puppy treats as you handle him so he associates the grooming and handling as a pleasant experience.
Another important aspect of grooming is to start training your dog for nail clipping. Start playing with the paws every day so the dog gets used to paws being touched. Young puppies have very sharp nails so you might want to get the dog training for this part of grooming happening from the beginning. If you acquire a small pair of nail clippers and start trimming the nails from an early age you will find that there isn’t a problem later as he/she gets older. Have someone hold a treat (see dog treat recipes for some tasty treats) to distract the dog if he/she is wriggling. Your dog’s mind should be focussed on obtaining the treat rather than the grooming.
Be kind and use treats to reward the dog for the training he is doing and correct grooming behaviour. When he stands still while you brush, treat him/her. When he/she allows you to play with the paws, treat again. Make puppy training for grooming and clipping a pleasant experience. From a young age get your puppy used to the sounds of clippers and vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc. so that it won’t be such a frightening experience when you finally come to clipping him. Commencing from an early age will teach him that nothing bad is happening to him/her and he/she will start to enjoy these dog grooming training sessions.
TRAINING FOR PAW AND NAIL TRIMMING
A dog or puppy who has been trained to stay calm while his paws are being touched or nails clipped will be a lot easier to work on than a dog who is fidgety. It is so much easier to train the dog from puppyhood than to wait until it has become an adult and then decide that some training is required to get the dog to put up with his paws being touched. An older dog may take considerable more patience and time to gradually get him accustomed to this procedure.
Start by handling the puppy’s (or dog’s) paws everyday as many times as possible. Give the puppy a treat as the paw is being handled so that a good association with paw handling is being created. Once the puppy is happy to have anyone touching, massaging and examining the paws all over then introduce him or her to the scissors or nail clippers. Without scissoring or clipping nails place the equipment against the puppy’s paw and allow him or her to feel it, remembering to treat the puppy at each new advancement.
Once you are certain that the puppy is comfortable with the equipment and having his paw held reasonably firmly and is still and quiet, take the scissors or nail clippers and trim one nail or scissor a little fur. If this has caused no undue concern to the puppy give him a treat. Then do the next nail or scissor a little more. (Refer to the pages on Clipping Your Dog’s Nails and How To Trim Your Dog’s Paws). For each step reward the puppy or dog for putting up with this. Keep going with this until the puppy or dog starts to get restless or agitated and then give it a rest for a while. You can go back to the job later. It may be that you only get one paw done at a time. This is absolutely fine. After a while once the dog is used to it you should be able to get to the point where you can trim the dog’s nails and paws all in one go.