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What can I do at home to prepare my dog for professional grooming?

Training your dog at home before a grooming session can make the experience more pleasant and stress-free for both you and your pet. Here are some steps and tips to help you prepare your dog for grooming:

1. Get Your Dog Used to Being Touched

  • Paws and Nails: Frequently touch and handle your dog's paws and nails to get them accustomed to the sensation.

  • Ears: Gently handle and inspect your dog's ears.

  • Muzzle and Face: Regularly touch your dog's face, including around the eyes and mouth.

  • Body: Pet and gently squeeze different parts of your dog's body to get them used to being handled.

2. Introduce Grooming Tools Gradually

  • Brush: Start by showing your dog the brush and letting them sniff it. Gradually begin to brush them for short periods, praising and rewarding them with treats.

  • Nail Clippers: Let your dog see and sniff the nail clippers. Clip just the very tip of one nail at a time, gradually increasing the number of nails you clip as your dog gets more comfortable.

  • Ear Cleaner: Let your dog sniff the ear cleaner and gently clean their ears, using treats to reward them for staying calm.

  • Clippers and Scissors: If you plan to trim your dog's fur, let them get used to the sound and sight of the clippers or scissors.

3. Positive Reinforcement

  • Use treats, praise, and petting to reward your dog for calm behavior during grooming.

  • Keep training sessions short and positive, gradually increasing the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.

4. Desensitize to the Environment

  • Bathing: Introduce your dog to the bathtub or grooming area without water initially. Gradually add water, starting with a small amount.

  • Blow Dryer: If you use a blow dryer, start with the lowest setting and let your dog get used to the noise from a distance before moving closer.

5. Create a Routine

  • Establish a regular grooming routine so your dog knows what to expect.

  • Be consistent with the time and place for grooming sessions.

6. Stay Calm and Patient

  • Your dog can pick up on your emotions, so stay calm and patient.

  • Take breaks if your dog becomes stressed or agitated, and try again later.

7. Professional Help

  • If your dog is particularly anxious or difficult to handle, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for additional support.

Tips for Specific Grooming Tasks:


  • Use the appropriate brush for your dog's coat type.

  • Brush in the direction of hair growth.

  • Be gentle to avoid causing pain or discomfort.

Nail Trimming:

  • Only trim the tip of the nail to avoid cutting into the quick, which can cause bleeding and pain.

  • Use dog-specific nail clippers for a clean cut.

Ear Cleaning:

  • Use a vet-recommended ear cleaner.

  • Avoid inserting anything deep into the ear canal.


  • Use dog-specific shampoo.

  • Ensure the water temperature is lukewarm.

  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.

By following these steps and tips, you can help your dog become more comfortable with grooming at home and make the process smoother and more enjoyable for both of you.

-By Unicorn Pet Grooming Salon

We're a Japanese Asian fusion style dog grooming salon based in Huntington Beach, serving Fountain Valley, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Westminster, and Garden Grove.

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