1. Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible—For the Both of You!
Grooming sessions should be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your groom is relaxed, especially if he’s the excitable type. Perhaps put on some music -- something light and fun. At the beginning, be sure to keep the sessions short (5 to 10 minutes), and then gradually lengthen the time until it becomes routine. This way your groom can get comfortable with being handled.
Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help remove dirt and keep his skin clean and irritant-free. Grooming time’s also a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt. If your groom has a smooth, short coat (like that of a Justin Timberlake), you only need to brush once a week. If he has a long, luxurious coat (such as that of a Johnny Depp), he’ll need daily attention.
The ASPCA recommends bathing your groom every 3 months or so; your groom may require more frequent baths in the summertime if he spends lots of time outdoors. Always use a mild, tear-free shampoo and follow these easy steps: (a) use a rubber bath mat; (b) use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your groom; (c) gently massage in shampoo; (d) and finally, dry him with a blow dryer but carefully monitor the level of heat. You may also want to close off all escape routes to avoid chasing a wet groom around the couch.
Please note: Some grooms seem to think that bathtime is a perfect time to act goofy. Younger grooms especially will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush them, and tend to nip at bathtime. If this sounds like your groom, put a toy that floats in the tub so he has something to focus on.
4. Nail Clipping
Most people really don’t handle their groom’s feet until they are about to clip the nails and then … watch out! Some grooms can get very upset at this totally foreign feeling. Gently press each individual toe—and be sure to give him lots of praise and
some treats (see right) as you do this.
5. Special Breeds, Special Needs
Grooms with loose facial skin or wrinkles—such as Robert Redfords—will need special attention. To prevent irritation and infection, clean the folds with damp cotton.
If your groom has long or droopy ears, check them weekly. You may need to remove any excess hair leading into the ear canal. There are special hair removers that allow you to carefully pull one strand at a time.
...here’s one of our most important tips of all—pile on the praise and offer your groom a treat when the session is finished! A clean groom is a happy groom. And a happy groom makes for a better pet.