Easy Home Grooming is Rewarding for You and Your Dog
Author: Ralph the Mini Cockapoo
We are proud to announce that today’s post is sponsored by Wahl Animal, the premier choice of pet owners, professional groomers, and veterinarians around the world for all of their animal grooming needs. The opinions expressed in this post solely represent my views and no one else’s.
For Ralph, regular grooming is not just a luxury, it is a necessity. However, in the past we have found that the professional shop grooming experience has been stressful for both Ralph and us. Are there any dogs who enjoy being dropped off at the groomers? If so, Ralph certainly is not one of them. When we go to the “Groomers” Ralph’s separation anxiety is in full swing! Resulting in a pup who is antsy, shaky, and upset. I then end up spending the whole day worrying (like a typical Dog Mom) and when I pick him up he cannot run into my arms fast enough!
I am not sharing this blog post with the intent to say that all grooming experiences are bad. In fact, we now have a local Groomer that I trust in the event that I need to take Ralph to a professional. However, I believe that nobody can give your dog the same love, patience, and tenderness they receive from you, their Pet Parent! Which is why I love at home grooming and feel that it can be rewarding for both you and your dog.
First, I want to clarify that I am by no means a professional. I truly understand the value of taking your pet to an experienced groomer, and believe that grooming is truly an art form. It is a skill that is mastered over time. I am not saying that I will never take Ralph to a qualified Groomer. However, I have been grooming Ralph in home since April and we love it! I utilize the Wahl Animal clippers that make it easy, even for someone with no formal grooming training (which is most pet parents) to get a simple haircut at home. Since we started grooming Ralph at home we have discovered so many advantages that outweigh taking him to a shop.
What happened to Ralph’s fur?
My initial motivation for grooming at home with Ralph came from an unfortunate grooming experience that we had in December of 2017. As a result, Ralph now has a noticeably darker rough patch of fur on his left torso. Apparently, razor burn or clipper burn is not uncommon with dogs. This ailment is caused as a result of clipping or shaving the dog very closely, which is what this particular Groomer did to Ralph. If your dog ever experiences clipper burn consult your vet right away for their recommendations on how to treat it.
Damage to hair follicles from clipper burn may cause coat color changes in dogs, like in Ralph’s case. He has a long patch of fur that will never grow back the same and has a significantly darker coarse texture due to his clipper burn. According to the book, “The Everything Dog Grooming Book,” in areas of previous trauma the hair may grow darker in color because cells containing melanin, rush to the trauma site as a part of the inflammatory process, which can turn the skin and hair at this location a darker color.
This situation is what motivated me to begin learning about grooming and taking care of Ralph on my own. If you are intrigued as well, I know that the advantages I cover below will help you on your journey to starting Home Grooming with your pup!
Advantages to Home Grooming
If your dog is anything like Ralph (i.e.separation anxiety issues) then I believe that at home grooming could be the Pawfect solution for you!
Foremost, raise your paw if you know how expensive grooming sessions can be! Even for small pups, in the Charlotte area each grooming session can cost on average $50 to $55 dollars. At this price point, if you are taking your dog to a professional every 4 weeks, that equates to over $770 a year! For you budget conscious Pet Parents, saving money may be all the incentive you need to start grooming at home. The funds that we save from grooming Ralph at home are better utilized and invested into our fun Agility Training hobby.
However, the benefits of grooming at home are so much more than just financial. Ralph is increasingly becoming very comfortable to touch on his paws, ears, and other sensitive areas that most dogs typically do not like being touched. He trusts me not to hurt him or handle him roughly. My haircuts may not be the most elegant, but they are certainly very gentle and filled with lots of treats.
Another key benefit of grooming at home is that you become very familiar with your dog’s body and anatomy. I think it is so important to be observant and my grooming sessions with Ralph give me the opportunity to see if anything could be wrong or abnormal on his body, like a bump or a scratch. I believe that familiarity goes a long way in making a grooming experience the best it can be for your beloved pet. The more you practice, over time you will get to know your pet on a deeper level and understand his/her likes or dislikes while grooming. Additionally, grooming at home enables you to tailor your dog’s cut to fit your style preferences and their unique personality.
Additional Advantages to Grooming at Home also include:
- Convenience: there is no need to transport or travel with your dog, although Ralph does love car rides!
- Peaceful: your dog is in a quiet environment, there are no other loud barking dogs, hair dryers, phones ringing, etc.
- Comfort: in other words, your dog does not spend time in a cage waiting to be bathed or groomed.
- Safety: there is no contact with other pets which means no risk of anxiety, injury, or illness.
- Minimize Stress: we don’t have to go through separation anxiety and deal with the stress associated with it. A large part of the anxiety a dog feels is having to leave their home to be groomed. As I explained, in many cases this is not a pleasurable experience. However, with at home grooming all the anxiety and stress a dog feels is eliminated since there is no getting in the car or leaving home.
In home grooming, is also great for dogs with special needs or health issue that can be better managed at home, such as car sickness, mobile disabilities, needing extra potty breaks, etc.
Utilize the Right Tools
I hope that these advantages I have described inspire you to consider grooming at home. My recommendation is to start with the right tools for the job at hand, whether this is for a full at home grooming or something as simple as nail trimming. Wahl Animal offers a full line of accessories and tools for you to customize a complete solution for your pet’s needs.
Our grooming sessions consist of the following steps:
- nail clipping
- paw pad trimming
- full bath with shampoo and conditioner
- blow dry with brushing
- trimming with clippers and shears
We learned from Wahl Animal to always groom on a clean dog coat. This will prevent your clippers from snagging or getting clogged and allows the clippers to guide smoothly through your dog’s fur.
Practice makes Pawfect and Stay Positive
With patience and practice you can easily groom your pet in the safety and comfort of your own home. DIY grooming at home has increased the trust and love that Ralph has for me. Overtime he has become more tolerant and patient with me during our grooming sessions. Of course, I make sure to have lots of treats on hand to help keep Ralph motivated and patient with me. I know that with continued practice my at home haircuts will become more efficient and professional looking.
When we groom at home we have a positive experience with Ralph from start to finish. Keep your own grooming sessions positive and show your dog lots of love. Positivity and delicious treats help to keep Ralph engaged and know that it is ok for you to take breaks from grooming as necessary.
Ultimately, at home grooming has increased the bond, love, and trust that I have with my dog, and it can do the same for your relationship with your pup. Be sure to follow Ralph’s adventures on Instagram and let me know if you can see an improvement in his haircuts!
Lastly, I wanted to reiterate the philosophy of Wahl Animal, which is that with the right tools in hand, the possibilities are endless. The Wahl Animal tools have certainly enabled us to transform grooming into a positive experience for Ralph within the comfort of our own home! Have any questions about grooming or want more information about Wahl Animal tools? Let us know in the comments below! Also be sure to follow @WahlAnimal on Instagram and you can see our adventures @PawfectDogsBlog!