Are you trying your hand at dog grooming, and want to know the top 10 tips for dog groomers? We strive for our pets to look their best but keeping up with all of that grooming can seem impossible!
We always want our dogs to look their best, but it can be tough. How exactly do you get there?
Look at some fantastic tips we’ve gathered here below!
Top 10 Tips for Dog Groomers
Is it ok to shave that coat? How often should you bathe a dog? What happens if you fail to trim a dog’s nails, or even trim one too short?
We have some dog grooming tips to help you on your way, whether you’re a simple dog owner at home or a grooming professional!
#1. Dog’s Temperament and Individual Grooming Requirements
For most professional groomers, this probably isn’t your dog. Being touched, handled, and bathed already might be an uncomfortable situation for many dogs, but you are probably a strange human this dog may have never met before.
Not every animal you groom is going to be socialized well and gladly allow themselves to be handled. Safety is always the number one rule here, for both animal and groomer! Be sure to move cautiously and confidently.
If this is your dog you are grooming and you’re just starting out, you might need to gradually desensitize your pup to the process. Allow him to become comfortable! Always exude an air of cheerful happiness, and don’t force your pup into anything.
#2. Positive Reinforcement and Cheerful Rewards
Being groomed, handled, and bathed by a strange human creates an unsettling feeling for many dogs. A good dog groomer knows how to recognize this and will go out of his way to make a dog feel at ease!
Be sure to maintain a happy, cheerful attitude! Go out of your way to make the dog in your care feel secure and safe. Always be positive!
On the flip side, never punish or rough handle a dog. This won’t calm your furry friend, and could easily actually make the situation worse.
- Always maintain a cheerful demeanour.
- If the owner allows, use food/treat rewards to keep the dog happy.
- Shower the dog with praise and encouragement.
- If possible, incorporate play.
Handling a Difficult Dog
Imagine you’ve been asked to groom a terrified or aggressive animal. You want to go out of your way to make any dogs in your care feel safe and secure, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. In some cases, the dog has suffered past trauma, and is terrified of being handled or groomed.
I once encountered a 110lb. English Labrador rescue named Sam, one of the largest Labs I had ever seen. Sam was a sweetheart and incredibly well-behaved! He was social with everyone and everything he met. Even though he was so large, he was very healthy.
Supposedly, Sam’s breeder had simply ripped out his dewclaws when he was little. These aren’t simply loose claws and skin. There are two bones and ligaments attached to them as well. They need to be surgically removed when a dog is very young (between 3-5 days old).
Sam would become erratic and defecate himself every time someone tried to clip his nails! He was such a large and powerful dog, a simple grooming stand wouldn’t hold him. Sam needed to be anaesthetized by a veterinarian every time his nails were to be clipped.
It’s ok to ask for help! Never take on a task that puts you or the animal in danger.
- Pro tips for dog groomers: Trim dewclaws cautiously and be careful not to damage them. If left to grow too long, these can catch and tear, wounding the dog.
Check Dog’s Skin Carefully!
You always want to be sure and check your pup’s skin carefully during bath time! A detailed inspection when bathing is already convenient, and it will ensure you’re able to notice any abnormalities. Search for:
- Patches of missing fur
- Any strange lumps or bumps
- Areas of tenderness
Notify the owner of any wounds and ask how they wish them to be handled. In some cases, washing may make matters worse. For example, you never want to get bandaging wet because it creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth.
Wash small cuts with normal saline (preferable). Hold pressure until the small cut stops bleeding. It’s always important you notify an owner if a dog is accidentally injured in your care!
If you do make a mistake, chances are your dog might not have felt it or might be distracted. Overreacting might make the animal nervous, which isn’t what you want at all! Instead act natural, like everything is under control and there isn’t anything to worry about.
#4. Key Tips for Dog Groomers: Routine & Organization
Ensuring all your tools are organized in one place, clean, and ready to go will make your job a whole lot easier! You don’t want any anxious pets escaping while you’re stuck trying to find something you need.
Develop a routine that works for you! Try to use the same methods and same steps every time. Not only does this make things easier on you, but they will also be easier on the animals you work with!
#5. Ask for Help if Needed
A lot of dogs won’t want to sit for grooming or drying, and some might make bathing very difficult! If money isn’t an option, you can invest in a “Groomer’s Helper” device to help keep your pup steady.
A “Groomer’s Helper” set is a set of tools designed specifically for dog grooming.
If you can’t afford these tools or simply don’t have the time to purchase them, ask a friend or family member to help.
#6. Don’t Bathe a Dog too Frequently
Bathing a dog isn’t like bathing a human. Wolves, along with many wild dog breeds, will go their entire lives rarely bathing, other than occasional grooming. Canids with water-resistant double coats will rarely get their skin truly wet.
When we scrub out dogs, we wash away natural oils meant to protect the skin. Frequent bathing could end in dry, itchy skin and a dull coat.
#7. Never Shave a Double Coated Breed
One of the most important tips for dog groomers we have is to “Only shave a double-coated breed if medically necessary”. Sometimes there are good reasons to shave portions of that fur away, such as matting or surgery.
However, you never want to do this for cosmetic reasons, or because the handler simply likes the look.
These two coats were designed by nature to both warm a dog during the winter and cool him during the summer heat. Most dogs don’t sweat like humans and don’t cool their bodies as we do. Guard hairs also provide protection from the sun and insect bites.
Shaving those coats not only removes these protections, but they may also grow back irregularly. You literally might never get that same coat appearance again.
#8. Trim Nails Carefully but Consistently!
Regular nail trimming is a top tip for dog groomers! The darker portions of a dog’s nails are vascular, full of blood vessels and nervous tissue. Many people call these the quicks. Cutting into these will be painful and cause your dog to bleed.
However, these quicks will grow longer if you simply don’t trim the nails at all. Your dog’s nails aren’t grinding against a rough, rocky surface continuously, so they don’t naturally wear.
If allowed to grow too long, the nails can curl and lead to infections. These also create an unnatural angle for the foot to land as well as unequal toe pressure, causing nail beds to become tender and sore.
Extremely long nails can also limit your dog’s mobility.
You can purchase a product called Kwik Stop styptic powder to apply to a dog’s bleeding nails, in case you do clip the quick.
Don’t overreact if you do cut into the quick.
#9. Clean Equipment Regularly
Be sure to clean your brushes, nail clippers, comes, etc. after each dog grooming session and use! Bacteria can accumulate on these tools, even if they look perfectly clean. You could wind up giving your dog a secondary infection by exposing wounds to bacteria from these tools.
There are specific brush and tool cleaners designed for grooming tools!
Keeping your tools clean is as important as staying organized. This will also make you look more professional!
#10. Exercise Beforehand
Have you ever heard the expression “A tired dog is a good dog”? A tired dog is certainly a less active and more agreeable dog! This is certainly one of the more useful dog grooming tips you’ll see.
If you exercise your Labrador before grooming, he’s more likely to settle down for you. You probably won’t need to struggle as hard to keep him still. Your pup will also probably be calmer and more relaxed.
This means you’ll be dealing with a less anxious dog. The grooming process will become much easier for you!
If you’re trying to get your dog professionally groomed, consider exercising him or her before your grooming appointment.
Tips for Dog Groomers – Final thoughts
Our top tips for dog groomers above are a great start and base to take care of your canine friend.
But, if you want to be become serious about developing your dog grooming knowledge and abilities, even possibly make a career out of it, you should definitely follow professional courses.