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How to Groom your Dog at Home like a Pro

If you’re a dog-owner, you for sure have tried to groom your pooch at home. For some it might work perfectly fine, but, for others, dog grooming time often means chaos and struggle for both owner and doggie! 

So, many of us rely on professional groomers to meet the grooming needs of our dogs. While letting somebody else groom your dog can be convenient and time-saving, it very quickly comes at a significant cost. Dog grooming services typically cost $40 and up, and can even reach $100 or more!

You're not alone if you've avoided grooming your dog at home. We get that it can be intimidating to begin if you don’t know the basics! 

At FluffyFriendShop we want to create a community where we can all learn from each other. That’s why in this week’s blogpost we want to encourage you and help you out on your DIY Dog Grooming Journey! You’ll learn about:

Hair trimming
Nail Trimming

But first, let me give you a few general rules that you should consider when grooming your dog at home!

General Guidelines

To make the experience enjoyable for both you and your Fluffy Friend, you should try keeping it simple, positive and stress-free.

  • Praise and Reward Often

Always keep some very small pieces of what your dog considers a high-value reward on hand. These include small amounts of their favorite foods, such as cooked chicken, cheese, or their favorite commercial dog treats.

For example, when your doggie is behaving particularly well during the grooming session, such as laying down nicely and relaxed, it’s time to praise and reward. This way, you’re teaching them that grooming is a pleasurable experience in which they receive extra treats. This will not only make them look forward to the next grooming session, but it will also help them overcome the fear they might have.

  • Do Not Correct Your Dog When Grooming

Along the same lines as reward and praise, refraining from harsh verbal corrections during your sessions will help to keep the tone positive. Correcting your dog while they’re already stressed out only adds to the stress and terror. Simply ignore bad behavior and focus on rewarding good behavior. The undesirable moves will eventually be replaced by the behavior you have rewarded.

  • Bring Calm and Patience to the Table

Your dog is aware of your emotional state. When you become frustrated, whether you show it or not, they will sense it. If you notice yourself becoming frustrated, it is better to end the session than to continue.

The frequency with which you bathe your dog will be determined by a few factors, like the length of their fur, how dirty they get (city dogs require fewer baths than country dogs who spend more time rolling around in the dirt), and your tolerance for "dog odor", for example.

Your dog's skin contains natural oils that protect both the skin and the hair from drying out. It takes 2-3 days for these oils to be restored throughout the coat after they have been stripped by a bath, meaning, it’s possible to over-bathe your dog! Bathing your pet too frequently can harm his or her skin and promote shedding. Bathe once a month at most.

Many dogs are allergic to certain chemicals used in shampoo to make it smell nice or to act as stronger detergents. Try to use shampoos specifically designed for dogs, made with natural ingredients that are gentle and moisturizing for your dog's skin. Human shampoos have a different pH and can further dry out your pet's skin. They may also contain dyes and perfumes that may irritate sensitive pets.

Using high-quality products will ensure that your dog receives a thorough cleaning as well as a luxurious bathing experience. If you use a shampoo that is too harsh for the coat, your dog may develop dry skin and shed.

Lots of dogs won’t like taking a bath. We recommend starting gradually. Don’t put your Fluffy Friend in the bathtub and start washing them right away if they’re not used to it. Start by introducing them to the bathtub with lots of treats so that they identify it as a good place. You can for example smear some peanut butter or cream cheese onto the bathtub’s wall, so he keeps licking it while you bathe them. 

A Word on Puppies
Bathe puppies under the age of 12 weeks only if instructed by your veterinarian. Young puppies can't efficiently maintain their body heat, making them prone to catching a chill after a bath, which can lead to other illnesses. Also, their skin is very sensitive, so allowing their natural oils to do their job of protecting their skin is advised.

Bathe a puppy once a month until they are six months old, and then increase the number of baths to twice a month. Of course, you can give your dog an extra bath if they are particularly stinky or dirty.

You should know that there are two types of dog hair. Short growth hair is fur that grows to a certain length before dying and being regrown. This type of fur is found in the majority of breeds. Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, and German Shepherds are a few examples. If your dog maintains a certain fur length without needing a haircut, they have short growth hair.

It’s important to understand that if you have a short-haired breed of dog, you should never cut or shave their hair unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

Many people believe that shaving a dog, such as a German Shepherd, will help it stay cool in the summer. In fact, by removing their fur, you’re removing their protection from the sun's heat and UV rays. Rather than trimming their fur to keep them cool, try some cooling gear, such as a dog cooling mat.

Long growth is the second type of dog hair. Long growth breeds, such as Poodles and Shih Tzus, will have their hair grow indefinitely until it is cut. 

Haircuts are a necessary grooming practice for dogs with long growth hair. You may need to give your dog a trim every 4-8 weeks, depending on the style of cut you prefer and the rate at which her hair grows.

You can save a lot of money if you learn how to clip your dog's hair at home. The most important factor in achieving success is to begin with high-quality, professional-grade dog clippers. Cheap equipment is a recipe for disappointment. They will require more blade changes, can overheat and burn your dog, and the motors will quickly burn out. Investing in high-quality clippers from the start saves money in the long run.

Begin with simple cuts, such as a puppy cut. This style employs only a few different blade changes and keeps the process as simple as possible. You can progress to fancier styles once you've mastered the use of your clippers.

To do the delicate areas around the eyes and ears, use dog safety shears. The blades are razor sharp to cut hair cleanly, but they have a rounded tip to avoid accidentally harming your dog with the pointy tip found on most scissors.

Brushing serves three critical purposes. For starters, it aids in the removal of dead hairs, which can significantly reduce shedding in your home. Second, it aids in the movement of your dog's natural oils throughout the fur, keeping it glossy and healthy. Third, it prevents small tangles from becoming mats that require clippers to remove.

Brushing on a regular basis allows you to look for signs that something is wrong with their coat, such as matted or tangled fur, or if you notice anything concerning on their skin, such as lumps, ticks, fleas, and cuts. Brush your dog's coat on a regular basis with a dependable dog comb or brush.
Most medium to long-haired dogs will benefit from a weekly brushing, preferably outside. Pitbulls and other short-haired breeds don't need to be brushed at all. Longer silky breeds, such as the Bearded Collie, may require daily brushing to prevent tangles.

Brushes and combs designed specifically for dogs are essential for brushing your dog as effectively as possible. Brushes for dogs that are well-designed allow you to reach through both the topcoat and the downy undercoat without scratching their skin.

During the winter, many double-coated breeds, such as Huskies and German Shepherds, develop a thick downy undercoat. When the weather warms up in the spring, these breeds will typically shed heavily. When they begin to shed this undercoat, brush them up to twice a day for a week or two until the undercoat is gone.

While these seasonal transitions aren't fun for anyone, they are a natural and healthy part of your pet's skin and coat health. Even though it's important to keep up with your pet's grooming during shedding seasons, they shed all year. Grooming on a regular basis keeps their skin and coat healthier and prevents matting, tangles, and breakage.

Depending on your dog’s breed, you can also take a look at deshedding tools that will remove loosely attached dead hair. Deshedding should be performed less frequently than regular brushing. Many pets are afraid of deshedding tools, especially if they are groomed infrequently, so it is best to gradually introduce your dog to the deshedding process while rewarding with treats, toys, and lots of love.

Nail Trimming
Overgrown nails can affect your dog's gait and posture, and if they grow too long, they can cause long-term issues such as lameness and joint degeneration.

Different dogs' nails grow at different rates and with varying degrees of hardness. Also, dogs who regularly walk on concrete require fewer trims than those who run on softer terrain such as grass.

Keep an eye on your dog's toenails to see what frequency will keep them in good shape. Nail trimming can be stressful for both you and your pet, so proceed with caution and perseverance. You will become more comfortable handling the tools as you learn which ones work best for your pet.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable grooming your pet at home, you should take them to a professional groomer who has the best tools and experience. If your Fluffy Friend doesn’t like to be groomed, try to find small ways to fit in some small grooming-sessions in between professional groomer visits. 

Now, I’m curious: Does your doggie have long or short hair? What do you do to keep them groomed and in-style? Tell me everything about your Fluffy Friend’s grooming journey! 

Until then, thank you for reading, stay Fluffy!

Your FluffyFriendShop Team


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Words from our author

Hey! I’m Stivi, thank you for joining our FluffyFriendShop Blog!

As a pet owner, I often found myself in a very frustrating situation: going to the internet and finding multiple unhelpful and redundant articles about the care and training of pets. My mission is to create a community blog where you can find all types of information, training tipps and tricks, focusing on natural and organic ways of pet-owning and training. Understanding your pet is like understanding a whole new world - and I want us to discover it together!

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