Grooming is an important part of caring for your dog. Even if your dog has a rough and ready coat and it’s simply a matter of ‘wash and go’; grooming gives you a chance to thoroughly handle your dog. This not only helps when you are checking for any cuts, lumps, or sore spots, but also helps you to bond with your dog and hopefully should be a pleasant experience for you both.

Clearly, the type of coat your dog has will dictate how often, how and when you will need to thoroughly groom and brush the coat. However, all coats need brushing so it is worthwhile investing in a good brush. Some shorter coats just need a slicker brush for removing loose hairs.

Alternatively you can seek the services of a professional groomer.

Although you should not over bathe your dog, you will occasionally need to do so. It is therefore important to get your dog accustomed to doggy bath time. The best way to do this is by putting him in a dry bath a few times a day to get him used to it. Just like most training methods, it is useful to reward your dog with a treat once in the bath or shower unit. If he wants to get out, hold him there gently but firmly; you could also try talking to him in a soothing manner so he knows everything is okay. When you let him out, do not reward him. Do this a few times until he is used to staying in the bathing area, and realizes he gets rewards for being in the bath.

Once he seems happy you can gently apply some lukewarm water. It is important that you always check the temperature of the water as you do not want to scald or shock your dog. Do not pour the water directly on to him from the faucet; instead use a container or a sprayer. You can now gently wash your dog. A mild dog shampoo can be used, or if your dog has allergies, then use a shampoo as recommended by a vet. It is important to remember that what might smell nice to us and our sense of smell could be offensive to our dogs, and at worse dangerous. Do not use human shampoo on your dog; likewise even some products that are marketed as ‘natural’ may contain ingredients that are not suitable for a dog’s coat.

Do not get water into your dog’s eyes or ears when bathing and be as gentle as you can whilst being calm and in control. Be sure to rinse him thoroughly and before he gets out of the bath (and showers you with water) be sure to praise him and give him a treat.

If you train your dog to accept the bathing area before he needs to have a bath, this will hopefully avoid any unnecessary fuss and histrionics when he has rolled in something offensive and needs to be cleaned. Thus making bath time an enjoyable experience for both you and your mucky mutt.