-to bond with your groomer
Pet grooming is a visible expression of your love for your pet. Starting early and establishing a lifelong routine will contribute to the future health and welfare of your puppy.
Start ASAP! It’s never too early to get your puppy ready for the grooming experience. Bring her to the groomer as often as you can to get her used to the place and environment.
Groom at home: Practice in small sessions at home by putting your puppy on a table to get her used to holding still and combing with a steel comb. Your puppy should be able to trust you and let you maneuver her body without a lot of struggle. Teaching your puppy good manners will help her and her groomer have a pleasant grooming experience.
Train: Teach your puppy “bite inhibition,” meaning that she can nibble but must learn not to bite hard and to stop when the playtime is over. Puppies need to learn they are not always the ones in control and how to trust others who are.
Follow good mannerisms at your groomer’s place: As natural pack animals, dogs will look to their pet parents as pack leaders for cues about new situations. It is important to know that they watch every move of yours and can detect your hints of fear, anxiety and nervousness. Walk tall, smile, and be friendly. Say “Follow me, Sarah!” Don’t feel bad for your dog! Realise that grooming is not a punishment, but can be more like an indulgent trip to the spa. If you feel clean and happy after a refreshing shower, your dog will most likely feel that way too. Say “My dog is going to love this.” Avoid negative phrases like, “I’m so sorry you have to go to the groomer, baby, but you’ll feel better and you’ll get lots of treats when you’re done.” Think calm, happy thoughts when stepping into the grooming shop to let your pet know that you’ve arrived at a welcoming place. “You are going to look great.”
Let the groomer get comfortable with your pooch: Most groomers pet down a new dog before admission to check the condition of the coat. Let the groomer know if your dog doesn’t like her head scratched or if she prefers to sniff first. “Sarah, this is Shweta. Shweta, Sarah prefers to sniff and lick your hand first.”
In safe hands: Lastly, when it’s time for you to leave, firmly hand the leash over and walk away calmly. Don’t try to sneak out or stay on because it can give your dog an impression that something bad is going to happen to her. Do remember that most groomers are also pet parents and dog lovers who will treat your dog like their own. Saying this last phrase out loud as you hand off the leash will boost your dog’s confidence: “I know you’ll be fine”.
(Shweta Munjal is professional pet groomer at Prince of Tails – pet grooming salon, Bengaluru).