How to Groom a Dog at Home

By Bethney Foster

You can keep your dog looking spiffy and smelling sweet by grooming her at home. The key to success is getting your dog used to having you touch her ears, feet and tail before the grooming session begins. It's also important to choose a time and a place for grooming that helps your dog feel safe and relaxed. "Bath day" can actually become a time that both you and your dog enjoy, and that increases the bond you have with your pet.

Trimming and Brushing

Loosen or remove tangles, mats or burrs from your dog's coat using the slicker brush.

Place scissors at the base of any mats, tangles or burrs that remain and cut them from your dog's coat. Be very careful to avoid cutting your dog's skin.

Trim long hairs around feet, ears and eyes with the scissors, again using caution to ensure you don't cut your dog's skin.

Brush your dog's entire coat, including her tail, using the bristle brush to remove loose and dead hair.

Give your dog a treat and lots of praise.

Bathing

Place the rubber mat in the bottom of the bathtub and place a couple of folded towels on the bathroom floor outside the tub. The mat will keep your dog from slipping in the tub and make her feel much safer during her bath. The towels are to cushion your knees as you kneel beside the tub.

Lift your dog into the tub and immediately kneel beside her. This can be one of the scariest moments for your dog if this is her first bath or if she gets anxious during bath time. Reassure her with your voice, touch and a treat.

Fill the large plastic cup with warm water from the bathtub faucet. Be careful about turning on the water full blast if your dog is likely to be frightened by the sound. Gently pour the cup of water on your dog's coat to begin saturating her for a shampoo. Repeat this until her coat is thoroughly saturated.

Squirt a quarter-sized circle of shampoo into your palm and begin massaging it into your dog's coat. Start with less shampoo than you think you need and add more as necessary.

Rinse the shampoo from your dog's coat using cups full of warm water.

Wash your dog's face and ears using a warm, damp washcloth.

Wrap a warm towel around your dog and lift her from the tub.

Towel-dry her and allow her to shake the water from her coat.

Give your dog a treat, lots of praise and a warm spot to dry.

Nails

Place your dog's paw in your hand and gently spread her toes.

Look at your dog's nails and locate the quick, the vein that runs into the nail.

Place your dog's nail inside the guillotine clippers and remove the tip, cutting where the nail starts to curve but using extreme caution to avoid cutting into the quick. Cover the end of the nail in styptic powder to stop the bleeding if you do accidentally cut into the quick.

Repeat this process until each nail is trimmed, then give your dogs praise and a treat.