How to help your dog enjoy grooming
Most doggies will need to pay a visit to a professional groomer at some point in their lives and for many breeds this will become a regular experience.
I've been a dog groomer for over 10 years and I'm going to let you into a secret, no dog in the world loves being groomed!
They are away from you, their beloved humans, they are subjected to unusual and loud noises and asked to stand on a table for a couple of hours so there's little wonder it's not their favourite way to spend an afternoon.
That doesn't mean that they have to hate the experience. Here are some top tips from 3 London dog groomers so you can help make a visit to the groomers more enjoyable for your pooch.
#1. Start Them Young
A visit to the groomers should be part of your pup's early socialisation. Even if your dog isn't ready for a haircut, the sooner they are introduced to the people, sights and sounds of a grooming salon, the better.
"We have a 3 step introduction to grooming for pups up to 9 months old"
Peter, D-O-G Grooming Studio, Wandsworth
This is an excellent idea where your pup spends some time on their 1st visit just hanging around in the salon. On the 2nd visit, they are bathed and dried and on the 3rd they receive a full groom.
For older dogs, you can apply a similar approach yourself. Just ask your groomer for advice. Trust me, they will be as keen as you are to make the process smoother!
#2. Maintain their coats in between visits
If left un-brushed, your dog's coat can become knotted or matted. They will then be subjected to the lengthy and sometimes painful process of de-matting and if that is something they associate with the groomers, then you can understand why they will be reluctant to return!
This can easily be avoided if you make brushing part of their daily routine.
In extreme circumstances, your groomer will have no option but to shave your dog short and that may not be your preference. So, if you want a fluffy dog then regular brushing is an absolute MUST!
You can also get your dog used to be being bathed at home and noises like the hairdryer and hoover before going to a salon.
"Your dog will be much happier at the salon if he's not terrified of the hairdryer"
Anna, Dog and Groom, Wandsworth
#3. Touch their legs and feet
This is something that most dog owners don't ever consider. We stroke our dog's head, tickle their bellies, rub their backs but don't think about their legs and feet.
Often, the first person to touch your dogs feet for any length of time will be their groomer. Understandably, this new sensation coming from a stranger can be hard for a dog to cope with.
"One of the best things an owner can do for their dog is spend time touching their legs and holding their feet so this is not so much of a shock"
Louanne, The Hound Hut, Oval
Your groomer will be using clippers and sharp scissors on and around your dog's feet so it really helps if your dog doesn't react by jumping or pulling away.
Spend some time stroking their legs and feet when they are relaxing next to you on the sofa. It's also a good idea to regularly check your dog's feet for anything stuck in between their pads which can become painful or even infected if left unnoticed.
#4. Don't take a tired dog to the groomers
Unlike a visit to the beauty salon for us, this is not a relaxing experience for dogs.
Your dog will be at the grooming salon for at least 2 hours, most of which will be standing. They will be less happy about this if they have just been on a long walk and all they want to do is curl up in their bed and sleep!
An over-tired dog is very much like an over-tired toddler, they can become extremely irritable and uncooperative. Sometimes, even aggressive!
Your groomer will definitely appreciate that your dog has been to the toilet before arriving but that is all that is necessary. Why not take them for their walk afterwards as a special treat.
#5. Finding the right groomer for you (and your dog)
It is most owner's instinct to go to the groomers nearest to where they live. Though we understand the convenience of this, it is worth doing some research when looking for a groomer. If you find one who understands you and your dog, they are worth travelling for!
One of the best ways is to ask your dog owning friends about their experiences and if they recommend a groomer.
A good groomer will always put the health and welfare of your dog first, they will also want to meet your requirements as much as possible so that you become a loyal and long-standing customer.
Before you decide, go and meet them and introduce them to your dog. Most professional groomers will be more than happy to do this and if they're not, then they are probably not the right place for you.
Archie has checked out the following London salons and can personally recommend them all: