Dog Grooming

How You Can Help Getting Your Dog Ready For a Groom

For most people, going to the salon and getting our hair and nails done is fun and relaxing. For inexperienced dogs, it can be scary. What should be a calming, five-star experience can quickly turn into a nightmare if your dog hasn’t been prepared for what to expect. Good habits start at home. By adding a couple of extra steps to your dog’s home grooming routine, you can make a world of difference when it is time for a professional spa day.

Even if your dog has minimal hair and you do all the grooming care yourself, teaching your pup what to expect and how to enjoy it will make it easier on both of you. For those dogs that require professional grooming on a regular basis, teaching them how to enjoy the process will have your Groomer and your wallet thanking you. To help you help your dog, we have outlined what you can expect from a doggy spa and how you can get them ready for their professional grooming experience.


What to expect: A professional salon will do everything possible to keep a calm spa-like atmosphere. However, they have the potential to get noisy, busy, and filled with other dogs. Your dog’s groomer should go out of their way to make sure your dog is well taken care of. At most salons, your dog may be crated when not actively being groomed.

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How you can help: Crate training and socializing is a necessity for dogs of all shapes and sizes. For a dog who has never been crated at home, being put into one in a new environment can be scary. By starting the process at home, you can avoid a traumatic experience of your pup crying, barking, trying to escape, or eliminating in the crate at the salon. When it comes to socializing, letting your dog experience lots of new places, people, and other dogs in a positive manner will improve many aspects of your life together, including your trip to the groomer.

Bath Time

What to expect: Most likely, your dog will be put in a tub with running water out of a spray nozzle. They will be soaked down, soaped up, and possibly have his or her anal glands expressed if requested. Water and shampoo will be massaged into every inch of your dog, including their face.

How you can help:

You can help your dog get used to running water just by exposing them to it at an early age, or as soon as you can with older/adopted dogs. Go at a pace your dog is comfortable with. If you go too fast and spray your dog in the face, you could make them afraid of future bath times. Build up to actually bathing them and be sure to reward them every step of the way. Remember though, if your dog gets wet, you will need to brush them as they dry and after or they will mat up. Mats can be painful for your dog and lead to other health concerns such as infections, hot spots, and hematomas.

Here’s a guide to bathing your dog.

Drying & Brushing

What to expect: After your dog has been bathed, it is time to be brushed and dried. A professional groomer will have multiple tools at their disposal for drying and brushing your dog based on their hair type. When it comes to long-haired dogs, matting can be a huge issue. If brought into the grooming salon with large mats, it can be a painful and nearly impossible task to de-mat the fur, leaving the groomer with no choice but to shave the mats off.

How you can help: Start by brushing your dog for five minutes a day. A good starter brush that can be used on a majority of coats is called a slicker brush. You don’t have to brush hard, just get your dog used to the feeling. Once your dog is used to the brush, you can introduce them to the blow dryer. You can use a human hair dryer, but be sure to use it in the coolest setting and keep it at a safe distance. Dog blow dryers heat up, but not to the extent human ones do, and a dog cannot as easily tell you that it’s too hot. As with other routines, start slow. Let them get used to the noise first, then slowly introduce them to the airflow.

Talking to Your Groomer

What to expect: A professional groomer will be very knowledgeable and should be able to guide you
through the entire process if you are not 100% sure of what your dog’s needs are. They should also be open about their methods for your peace of mind, and your dog’s safety

How you can help: It is important to discuss with your groomer the things you have been working on,
commands you use, and most importantly, areas your dog is still having some trouble with. It is also important to be as clear as possible when discussing your dog’s grooming wants and needs.

Extra Tips to Help Your Groomer

Often during a groom, your dog’s instinct is to sit. While technically the dog is being good, it can make things like washing and rinsing very difficult for the groomer. Work on a “stand up” command to teach your dog to be still while you work. Practice lifting their paws, tail, and rubbing their face. Be sure to reward when they don’t pull away! No groomer is going to expect a puppy or new rescue to be perfect right away, but standing still for the entire groom is a groomer’s ultimate dream.

A little bit of research and practice with your dog can make their experience at the groomer smooth and enjoyable. Taking the time to acclimate your pup to water, loud noises and being handled will pay off, preventing stress for you, the groomer and most importantly, your dog. Remember, this is a doggy spa and your dog should look forward to a revitalizing experience at the salon!

Written By: Rachelle Biever CPDT-KA


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