DIY Home Grooming Guide, Part 1a: Getting Started

This article is Part 1a of Stress-Free Pet’s Do-It-Yourself Home Grooming Guide.

Our approach to in-home grooming is not going to modify your pet’s behavior in a day, a week or even a month. However, most pets will respond positively to small steps relatively quickly. Expect delays in progress, backsliding, and sessions that just don’t go well. Remember that since you live with your pet, you’re the one person who can take the time they need.

This cat is getting a "smelltroduction" to their clippers.

This cat’s getting a “smelltroduction” to their clippers.

Set aside time to accustom your pet to grooming tools. Don’t expect to get a lot of grooming done.  Every encounter with grooming tools must be positive. This might mean that you lay your nail clipper on the floor and lure your pet with food to accustom it to the clippers as a non-threatening object. Gradually, the goal is to associate grooming tools with positive experiences to the point where your pet will accept being touched, its nails being clipped and various parts of its body being handled.

To reduce stress, avoid or eliminate any grooming tools that emit sharp or vibrating noise. You may find that scissors and combs will serve to keep your pet’s coat neat once you get used to handling them with greater skill and experience. There are also great silent grooming solutions like FURminator (for removing the undercoat) and Scaredy Cut, the Silent Clipper. You may never need to go back to vibrating clippers and, if so, you have just removed a stressor from your pet’s life.

  • Recognize that reconciling a pet to in-home grooming requires time and patience – don’t hold your pet down to groom them in one session
  • Every pet is different; one pet may progress faster or slower than another
  • Make time to work with your pet. Even ten minutes a day can make a huge difference.
  • Remove grooming tools that stress your pet.

Julie MacTire is a writer devoted to the world of dogs. She also writes a blog (shibainus.ca) about her adventures with her Shiba Inu, Tierce, and is a supporter of many pet welfare organizations.

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