How to Get Your Pup a Gold Star at the Groomer
Whether your pup is a non-shedding breed that needs regular haircuts or you just noticed an odd smell coming from your pup and think it’s time for a bath, a spa visit may be needed! If this is your pup's first time going to the groomer, we have a few tips to ensure your pup is comfortable and make the day a truly positive experience for all involved.
1. The best practices start at home.
Think of how the day will be from your pup’s point of view. They will be handled and prodded by a stranger! This can be scary no matter how many times they’ve had a spa day. Make sure you handle your pup often. Pick them up, set them down, play with their ears, paws, and mouth. Groomers will be cleaning those areas and clipping their nails. It’s important for them to know this isn’t a negative process!
Introduce simple tools
Brush your dog out often. Invite them for some parent/pup bonding time with the blow dryer. Getting them used to the loud noise will be helpful. It tends to be the scariest part!
Get your pup excited for car rides
You want them to think that a car ride is a positive experience, not only for vet and grooming visits. This will also help you see if your pup gets car sick! It happens! There are ways to get around that too with suggestions from your veterinarian, so no worries. It’s just wise to know how you can make it better beforehand.
Proper crate training
If you have already initiated crate training, your pup will feel ready to be in one at the groomer. To help make sure they are going to be comfortable, slowly increase the amount of time your pup is in the crate so they get used to extended crate time. This will be so great for their big day at the spa! Ensuring they have minimal anxieties in their groomer crate, in turn, will help the environment for your groomer.
2. Do Your Research
Don’t rush the process of choosing a groomer. Find one that will suit your needs and consider what experience you would like for your pup. Maybe you want a groomer that uses all-natural products? Or one that specializes in your pup’s breed?
Ask your friends and family, your neighbors, and pet parents you trust for recommendations on the groomer they use. Ask why they love them! Also, join community social media groups to see if anyone has local suggestions.
Once you narrow down your favorite selections, you can call them and ask all of the questions you may have. Ask how their grooming process works. Is it a straight start to finish or do they keep them longer for an efficient staggering? This will help gauge how long your pup will be in the shop. Also, don’t be afraid to ask to tour the shop! It’s great to see the facility before you commit.
Picking a cut
Do a search on your breed's signature haircuts and find one you really think would look adorable on your pup. Save the photo and show it to your groomer. We are visual workers and a photo will help ensure that you’re both on the same page.
3. Set your pup up for success on the big day.
If your pup has any special needs, inform the groomer! It’s always good to be as communicative as possible.
Short positive goodbye
It may be hard for you to leave your pet with a stranger for a few hours. However, this is the most important time to let your pet know this is ok. They can sense when you are stressed, so be actor of the year and hype them up! Tell them they are a good dog and hold it in until you get to your car. It will be so much easier on your pup if they don’t see it as a sad or stressful experience for you.
Long positive “Hello”
This is the most anticipated part! You get to reunite with your friend and see how well you both did. To top it off, they will be clean and look even more adorable than when you left them. Bring a treat and congratulate them! Feel free to take them to their favorite special place to walk after and show them off. They will strut and feel good about themselves, help them embrace it!
Make sure you truly like this cut on your pup. If you didn’t care for it, let your groomer know that next time that you’d like to try something different. You might also want to pick a new reference photo. Or, you can ask your groomer for suggestions.
Keep an eye out for any skin or ear irritation. It is fairly common for pups to have a reaction to certain grooming products. Also, watch for ear infections after grooming. Due to water accidentally slipping in the ears, this can happen. If you find any of this after your visit, you may want to follow up with your veterinarian and tell your groomer. They will make notes about your pup to change products and pay more attention to the ears at your next visit.
In the end, groomers want the best for their furry guests, just like you want for your furry family member! Help your dog feel confident, stay calm, educated and be communicative with the groomer. With these tips, you are guaranteed to get your pup gold stars!