Pet Rinse Repeat

 March 23, 2023 grooming, Pets  0

Ever wonder how to Prepare Your Dog for a trip to the groomer? At Pet Rinse Repeat, we specialize in making your fur friend look and feel their best, so you can focus on the fun stuff. Here’s how to prep them for their day at the dog spa.

Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Groomer

prepare your dog


Curious and playful, your new pup will come to the groomer with zero expectations. Make sure his first trip sets the stage for future grooms by helping them learn to accept short periods in a crate. To do this, place a favorite toy and a small blanket or item that has your scent (such as a sock or t-shirt you’ve worn briefly) inside the crate. Leave the door to the crate open and allow your puppy to explore with the freedom to come and go.

After a few hours, encourage your pup to go in the crate and shut the door for 1-2 minutes. Make sure you stay nearby and give verbal encouragement as they tolerate their new time in the crate. Over the next couple of weeks, increase their time in the crate by 2 minutes each time. Be sure to reward them when they come out.

This will decrease the chances that your new pet will feel afraid if they needed to be temporarily crated at the groomer.

prepare your dog

Don’t forget to introduce grooming actions with your puppy prior to the first grooming appointment. Make it a priority to spend at least 5-10 minutes DAILY practicing these new events and give them small rewards (dry kibble or treats) before, during, and after each short session. This will help Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Groomer.

  • Running your hands up and down their legs
  • Handling ears, mouth, and face
  • Handling the toenails
  • Gently holding the tail
  • Brushing the dog all over

While a young dog may not seem to understand what you’re doing during these sessions, you are helping them adapt to the grooming process and giving them the memory of a pleasant experience of being groomed. Don’t be surprised if they wiggle and wag. A good groomer will be tolerant of the normal behaviors of a new puppy and will help them learn to accept gentle behavior guidance during the grooming.

Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Groomer

Adult Dogs

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But you can help them adapt to grooming even if they’ve never been groomed before. It helps to prepare your dog for a trip to the groomer by exposing them to the sights, sounds, and sensations in a grooming shop beforehand.

Don’t worry if your dog adult dog seems hesitant. You can give them a great grooming experience by taking 5-10 minutes a day for at least two weeks to expose them to the new items they will experience soon. Just like with puppies, adult dogs respond well to rewards of positive verbal encouragement and treats (kibble, toys, or petting).

Here’s a list of new things your dog might encounter at the groomer:

  • Brushes
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair trimmer
  • Hair dryer
  • Water sprayer
Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Groomer

Remember, patience is key when introducing new things to your adult dog. One item per day over a couple of weeks is the goal. Too many items at once might upset your dog and make them less inclined to enjoy those things at the groomer. New sounds, like a loud blow dryer, might be upsetting to an adult dog–especially when pointed their way!

Here is a step-by-step way to Prepare Your Dog for the blow dryer:

1. Sit down with your dog in a relaxing play spot.

2. Set the dryer on the floor amongst toys–MAKING SURE IT IS NOT PLUGGED IN!

3. Let the dog sniff or paw at the dryer and reward his interactions with the dryer with a treat and praise.

4. Repeat this session over a period of 2-3 days.

5. After your dog seems comfortable with the dryer, plug it in, flip it on for a second, then turn it off again.

SLOWLY increase the time you leave the dryer on, but don’t point it at your dog. Any time the dog steps closer to the turned-on dryer, offer a treat or a reward. Give them time to gradually get used to the sound before trying to blow their fur. And remember not to use a hot setting that might burn their skin.

By making sure they are comfortable with the sound and air from a blow dryer in advance, you are setting them up for a positive experience at their first groom. This method can be used for other grooming items as well–such as electric clippers and nail trimmers. Many groomers use both manual clippers and a Dremel tool to smooth the nails after clipping. If you prepare your dog for a trip to the groomer in advance your pet will thank you and so will your groomer.

Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Groomer

Rescue Dogs

Rescue Dogs can sometimes require special prep to be able to visit a groomer. Does your rescue have behavior issues or a history of abuse? Share this information with your groomer early on so they can prepare and allot extra time during your first few visits if necessary. An experienced groomer will be extra cautious and caring with a rescue dog and can help them acclimate to the grooming process if they know in advance that your new bestie has special sensitivities.

In addition to the steps listed above, your rescue dog might benefit from a few visits to the grooming salon prior to their first official grooming appointment just to ease their anxieties. You can help them relax by setting up a few trial runs to the groomer’s office. Introduce your dog to the groomer and chat casually for a few minutes. Be sure to praise your bestie and offer them a toy or treat during these first visits. If possible, ask the groomer for a little sample of the shampoo so your pup can get used to the smell.

Does your rescue have a history of biting? It’s important to discuss whether the groomer plans to use a muzzle during the grooming. If so, practice the use of a muzzle with your dog well in advance. Apply the muzzle while offering hugs and praise so they know it’s not a punishment. Repeat this a few times a week for only a few minutes. These steps will Prepare Your Dog for a Trip to the Groomer and help you both to have an enjoyable, relaxing experience that will help your dog live a healthier, happier life.

Is it time for your pet’s first grooming? Contact us to book your pup’s day at the Dog Spa or schedule a mobile grooming visit with us here: Pet Rinse Repeat 

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