When you become a dog owner, you take on the responsibility of keeping your pup healthy, happy and clean — part of that includes grooming them and clipping their nails. Failing to keep your dog’s nails trimmed and coat cleaned could result in pain, illness and, in some cases, injury.

However, if your pup is like most canines, grooming time isn’t their favorite part of the day. To teach your dog to tolerate, or even enjoy, getting groomed and having their nails trimmed, try out some of these tips.

  1. Make Sure You’re Doing It Right

Before you can expect your dog to behave while they’re being groomed or having their nails clipped, you need to verify you’re doing everything right. This mostly applies to clipping your pup’s nails. If you do this wrong, it could be extremely painful. Follow these steps:

  1. Hold your dog’s paw steady, but lightly. If you grip too tight, it could scare or hurt your furry baby.
  2. Clip off a small portion of the end of the nail. If it feels squishy or spongey while you’re trying to cut it, stop immediately. You’re cutting the quick, which is the blood vessel that runs through the nail. If you puncture this part of your dog’s nail, it will bleed, be extremely painful and they’ll probably remember it for a long time.
  3. If you do cut the quick, make sure to stop the bleeding as fast as you can. We recommend purchasing a nail cauterizer, which is a tool that stops the bleeding by applying heat. You could also buy styptic powder that you apply with a cotton ball or Q-tip.
  4. Consider Using a Muzzle

While this might not seem like it’ll be your dog’s favorite thing to wear, you can turn it around to make them truly enjoy wearing their muzzle. Two words: peanut butter. Smear a little bit on the inside of the muzzle, and they’ll love putting on their restrictive gear. You can even find one that has an opening at the end so you can feed them treats as you groom them and clip their nails without having to take it off.

  1. Take Them to a Fun Pet-Washing Facility

We all know how much dogs love car rides, so why not incorporate one into your pet’s grooming experience? Try finding a pet-washing facility near you and take your pup there to groom them. Make the groomer’s an exciting and happy place for your dog to visit. Take lots of treats with you and be ready to praise your four-legged friend for behaving in the shop.

If your dog is more motivated by playtime or exercise than food, you could also make it a routine to take them on a walk or to the dog park after they’ve been groomed. They’ll eventually associate going to the pet-washing facility with the super awesome walk they get to go on afterward. You didn’t think your pup would stay squeaky clean forever, did you?

  1. Offer Rewards for Good Behavior

Just like with training your dog to do anything else — go to the bathroom outside, not jump all over your visitors and actually drop the ball when you’re playing fetch, to name a few — dog treats are going to be your new best friend — right after your pup, of course.

Use cookies to reward your pet for good behavior while you’re grooming them or clipping their nails. After a while, they’ll relate grooming time with getting treats and will come running when they see the brush and nail clippers.

Dogs have an incredible ability to learn commands and activity patterns — that’s part of what makes them man’s best friend. Tap into that, and you’ll have no problem training your dog to enjoy grooming time. Remember to take the time to learn the proper way to clip your dog’s nails as well. Clipping the quick of your dog’s nail is a great way to make them dread watching you break out the grooming tools.

Shower your four-legged friend with treats, kisses and maybe even a walk or trip to the dog park if they’re well-behaved. Or, make grooming a fun trip to a pet-washing facility near you that your dog will love. You have the tools to make your dog love being groomed — and they’ll come out of the experience looking as beautiful as ever.

 

Bio:

Emily is an avid dog lover and conservation writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. To read more of her work, check out her blog Conservation Folks and go follow her on Twitter!

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