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Doggie Spa Day - How to get your dog to love getting pampered.

All grooming interactions should be positive experiences for both the groomer and the one being groomed. Any time you are thinking that training for a good grooming experience is a chore is not a good time to practice. Wait until you are in the right frame of mind so that the training time is positive for both you and your dog.

Short training sessions are always the most productive. If you notice your dog is reluctant to participate, then you are probably going faster than the dog would like. Slow down and use a higher-value treat or reward to make the time more comfortable for your dog. There is no rule that says you have to trim every toenail every session.

Many people are afraid of trimming their dogs’ toenails. They are worried that if they trim the nails too short, the nails will bleed or it will hurt the dog. This is an especially common fear if a dog’s nails are black, since then it is more difficult to locate the blood supply to the nail, called “the quick.” The blood supply is more visible with clear nails than with black nails. But, if a dog is trained to hold still when the nails are trimmed, then the risk of cutting the nails too short is decreased.

If your dog does not like taking a bath, it can be a nightmare to give one! Once again, make the process enjoyable when the pup is little. Many times clients will tell me, "He's ok with a bath—he just stands there." My question is, will the dog take a treat (or favorite toy) when you are bathing him? If the answer is no, then your pup is not too happy with bath time. There are a lot of really good dogs out there who "put up" with taking a bath. But, I want the time I spend with my pets to be enjoyable for both of us. Taking time to make a bath a positive experience pays large dividends for the future.

If your dog does love baths, that is great. If you have a dog that runs the other way and hides or is so scared he shakes the whole time, then this part of the article is for you! Once again you need to change the dog’s perception. If you are starting out with a new pup, follow these simple guidelines and bathing should always be a breeze!

Keep in mind that if your dog is older and/or has always hated being groomed, any of these training goals will take a little longer to achieve, and will require a lot more patience.

Ultimately the goal is to change everyone's perception of grooming. Ideally, both pet and owner come to look forward to the grooming time as time together. The common denominators for successful nail trimming, grooming, and bathing are taking your time and going slow—your dog should always set the pace.
If you keep this in mind, you set yourself and your dog up for success.

When your dog is comfortable with all aspects of grooming, that type of care becomes a treat—a true spa day for the dog that you love. And, when your dog looks forward to a spa day, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to one, too!