This ONE thing makes all the difference in successfully grooming your dog at home.
I got into an important piece about brushing and combing your dog at home. It was all about WHERE you do it. When my clients ask me for grooming advice one of my first questions is……”where are you doing your brushing and combing?”
I can say that not once, not ever, has a client responded with the award winning answer. The place that will earn them the golden brush award. None of them have ever considered, drum roll please…….A FLAT RAISED LEVEL SURFACE. And I don’t know why.
So let’s get into this and peel it all back so everyone can look in and say….”of course! This makes perfect sense, now that she has explained it.”
Where are you doing your Brushing and Combing?
People typically choose the couch, the lazy boy chair, the bed or the floor as their go to places to get this very important work done. This will work IF you are at it every single day, you take your time, you are thorough and you have a willing partner. If you are missing any of these, brushing and combing is generally a train wreck.
Challenges of Grooming on the Floor
The floor being one of the worst spots to try and get this done. Aside from aching knees and back. Aesthetically, the dog is too low for a clear line of sight into the troublesome areas. That being the feet, legs, tail, arm pits, back of the ears, neck and chest. So the back is brushed out nicely but everything on the dog below the shoulders, from nose to tail doesn’t see the brush or comb. If they happen to graze over these areas, they typically are not done very thoroughly.
The floor is also a challenge because the dog can just walk away from you. You have to take ahold of them in some way to keep them still. Before you know it you’re swiftering the floors in your yoga pants. You’re out of breath, frustrated, and the dog hasn’t really listened to you all that much. He thinks it’s a game and does more rolling over and showing his belly than anything else. Round and round it goes, you give up, save it for next time. Then the duration between next time gets longer and longer until it just doesn’t get done anymore. Because it’s such a literal pain in back, butt and neck.
Grooming in Family Areas
Another challenge is family members just living and being “the Fam” in different areas of the house. There you are all set up on the kitchen floor and the kids come racing through the house. Groom time is now over because the dog will respond to what they are excited about. He walks or runs off to investigate further, can’t blame him. There’s something more interesting over there, or sounds interfere with what you’re trying to do with him. Even if you go fetch him and bring him back to where you were. You still have to get him settled, get his focus back on you and start again. Hopefully. Another sound, movement within the domicile and the process will repeat again.
This is all avoided by getting your small dog up off the floor and onto a flat, level, raised surface. Like the kitchen table, the top of the washer or dryer, a counter top even. Anything that is level and up off the floor. Boom! Focus is now on you and everything now shifts from play time to training time. That’s a very good thing.
The same holds true for the couch, the chair, or the bed. The dog can walk off at any given opportunity. It’s more of a snuggle place, a shut down, relax and unwind time. Not to say that a brush and comb out in these spots should never be done. Just don’t make it your primary go to spot. Flat raised level surface is primary, all the others are secondary, and good for you for doing THAT MUCH home grooming!
Flat Raised Surface
Your flat raised surface should also be non slip. Nothing is worse for a dog up off the ground than a wobbly slippery thing. Avoid the slipping by putting down a rubber backed mat. Bath mats work lovely but not the kind with the fluffy tops for our feet. Just a plain old dollar store rubber mat for the shower or bath. Perfect!
Add in these two important things and you’ll really be off to the races in feeling more accomplished with grooming your dog at home.
Two More Pro Tips
1. Make it a Routine
Whether it is once a day, a week or 3 times a week. You want your dog to be content with having their grooming needs taken care of by you at home. By bringing it into your routine you are creating training opportunities. That is always a beautiful thing. The routine brings clarity and understanding and before you know it. Dogs are willing to do just about anything we ask of them. Consistency and routines are one of the best ways to joyfully achieve what we are asking of them.
2. After Exercise
I’m a firm believer that most things in a dog’s life go well when their exercise requirements are being met. We get out the ya ya’s. They get their runs, their plays, the business …all the important things are cleared off the list. THEN come inside and start the grooming process. If they know that they will be brushed and combed after walks and plays. We set them up for success by bringing in that grooming routine when they have a calm and settled mind.
Make it a beautiful day folks.