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How to Brush & Groom Your Puppy

Learn how to brush and groom your puppy from dog trainer Robert Haussmann of Dogboy, Inc. in this Howcast video.


The most important part about grooming and brushing your puppy is getting your dog used to being brushed and groomed. Okay. Sometimes you just bring your dog to the groomer. It can be a little intimidating to a dog. There's a stranger, and he's doing a lot of really intense handling, and he's got all these devices and things that are coming at him. And the dog can get really creeped out. So even just being up high on a table for some dogs can be a really scary experience.

So try and go out of your way to get a couple of times a week, the dog's just coming up on the table. And you can just start by doing some of these, kind of pulling on the hair a little bit, squeezing the tail, moving it around. Same thing with the feet. But you notice, I'm giving him cookies all the while. All right. I want him to think that being up here is just where the party starts. All right. And squeezing his feet is just part of his day. It's not a big deal. He's comfortable with it. He enjoys it. We can squeeze his toenails a little bit. Now if you have an older dog and you're watching this, you might have to take a little bit more caution so that if the dog is already uncomfortable with it, that he doesn't bite at you or really get freaked out.

So with Darwin here, he's young enough where he's just going to make a positive association with all this stuff. So I'm going to start doing all this before I even take the brushes and the scissors out. Now I'm making sure I'm rubbing his inside of his ears. All right. All the stuff that we're going to need to do, the groomer's going to need to do. This is also a great way to de-sensitize a dog to a vet visit, too. Sometimes they can get real freaked out by the brush. So I'm going to offer him a cookie, and I'm going to use the back side of the brush. I'm not going to go right in where the bristles are pulling the hair, and I'm not going to right in where it's making that spooky sound, the sound of the bristles against his fur. So I'm just doing this so he gets used to it. And I'm going to continue to offer him some high-value rewards. There you go, buddy. Atta-boy, Darwin.

And then maybe I'll turn it around, and I start the brushing. There we go. Good boy. He is a cool customer. He doesn't mind. He does not mind. And even a dog who is slightly fearful of this, if he gets the notion that this is just something that goes on while he gets cookies, he's not going to mind at all. The cookies are a temporary thing in any training that we do. You don't want it to become contingent on cookies, but cookies sure are an easy way to get a dog comfortable with doing something. All right. Same thing goes for the scissors. Now scissors, for a dog who has long hair over his eyes or something, just getting him used to the sound safely, of the sound of scissors and the appearance of scissors. Okay.

You can do the same thing with buzzers, beard trimmers, hair dryers. Turn them on. Turn them off. The dog is having a positive experience with these things. And it will much easier when he actually goes to the groomer. In addition to this, I would also take the dog to the groomer that you choose to get them on the table and get them accustomed to the grooming room, the smells, the sounds, and the individual who's going to be doing the grooming. So it's just a less scary experience for the dog. Using these tips and going forward with this will just make it much easier for any future visits. That would be my suggestions for getting your dog ready on how to brush and groom your dog.

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