Learning how to groom a dog by yourself isn’t an easy task. It gets even more challenging if your doggy has never been groomed before.

But hey! It’s not impossible.

We’ll share our top home grooming tips with you, and only after a few sessions, you’ll feel as if you’ve spent your whole life doing it.

Grooming your pup is important for its health. It prevents the coat from matting, the skin from developing infections, and the teeth from deteriorating. 

From brushing to bathing and clipping hair, read on to learn everything you need to know:

Why It’s Important to Groom Your Dog

Grooming is an essential part of dog maintenance. A clean and well-maintained coat lowers the chances of your puppy developing a skin disease. Brushing also ventilates your dog’s coat and allows healthy hair to grow. What’s more, regular baths and cleaning of the teeth and ears are all necessary for raising a healthy and well-behaved pup.

How to Groom a Dog — The Basics

Grooming a dog can be tiresome and stressful, especially if your pooch hasn’t been taught how to behave during bathing and brushing or is afraid of the clipper.

But can you master the art of grooming a pup at home? Yes, you can.

By following a few simple steps, you’ll achieve great results from the comfort of your own bathroom. Additionally, you and your puppy will spend some quality time together.

How Often to Groom a Dog

It largely depends on the dog’s age and lifestyle. A young puppy needs washing every few days to remove dirt and pee until it learns to keep itself clean(er). 

In contrast, an outdoors dog needs less washing, as it won’t dirty your home. But daily brushing and care are still important. 

How Much Is It to Groom a Dog in a Professional Salon?

Owning a dog doesn’t come cheap. While insurance and healthcare costs are among the highest, they’re only required a few times a year.

In contrast, we recommend you to groom your dog every month. It will cost you $40–$75. Multiply this by 12, and you’ll get a pretty high price.

The Best Place for Home Grooming

To learn to groom your dog at home, you’ll need to figure out where to do it. Expect puddles after you wash your pup and hairs everywhere for at least a week after the clipping.

So you need either a garden, a spacious bathroom, or a small empty room.

If you live in a tiny apartment and you have a big dog, prepare for suffering. It was a true nightmare when I decided to groom my hyperactive water-fearing Golden Retriever in our minuscule shower cabin. 

How Long Does It Take to Groom a Dog?

Depending on how dirty and hairy your pup is, professional groomers will take up to three hours to get the job done.

But you’re not a professional. So it’s best to set aside four to five hours just in case. The first time you groom your pup will take the longest, as you’ll both learn in the process.

What You’ll Need to Start

Grooming your dog at home requires lots of patience. But you’ll also have to obtain some basic grooming tools.  

Brushing Equipment

First of all, you need a good quality brush suitable for your dog’s coat. Brushing your pup daily, or at least three times a week, is essential for its overall health.

Brushing removes dead skin and hairs, which can otherwise get stuck and create an environment for bacterial growth. And we don’t want our doggies to develop skin conditions.

Different dog breeds have unique brushing requirements. So, how do you choose the best brush for your hairy friend?

How to Groom a Wirehaired Dog 

The coats of wirehaired dogs are rough to the touch. These dog breeds were bred for hunting small animals, and the coarse hair protected them from sharp roots underground. Slicker or pin brushes are perfect for wirehaired breeds as they gently remove any loose hairs without causing discomfort.

How to Groom a Dog With Long Hair 

Long-haired breeds’ coats are high maintenance. You’ll need to brush them every day to prevent tangling and matting. For this purpose, you’ll need a whole assembly of brushes — from the simple slicker and pin brush to deshedders, dematters, and combs.

How to Groom a Dog With a Curly Coat 

Curly breeds shed minimally. But they also need regular brushing to stay healthy. A slicker brush, a deshedder, a comb, and even a clipper will become your new best friends if you’re a curly dog owner. Learning how to use dog clippers on your curly pup can be challenging, so read on to find out how to do it. 

One of the best doggy brush sets on the market is the Pet Magasin’s professional grooming set, which includes a double-sided pin and bristle brush, a long tooth undercoat rake, and a dematting comb. You can use these brushing tools safely on all your furry pets — dogs, rabbits, or cats. They’re also one-size-fits-all. So no matter your pup’s coat type, you’ll be okay with this set.

Bathing Equipment

Before learning how to shave a dog, you’ll need to know a proper bathing technique. And before you get to that, you’ll need some equipment.

  • Dog shampoo

Never use human cleaning products on your dog as a puppy’s skin is more sensitive than ours. The human shampoo will irritate it and might even cause dangerous allergic reactions. Choose a shampoo specifically designed for dogs and avoid artificial colorings and scents.

  • Dog conditioner

It can make your puppy’s hair softer and shinier. Also, conditioners are helpful if you’re dealing with matted hair. Saturate the mat well in the conditioner, and then try to comb through it carefully.

  • Bathing gloves

Gloves make shampoo laddering and ease distribution. Plus, they massage your pup and make washing a peaceful experience. Before you learn how to cut a dog’s hair, you should first be able to bathe your pooch thoroughly. The pet bathing and grooming gloves by HandsOn are a great choice as they’re lightweight, non-abrasive, and come in several colors and sizes.

Drying Equipment

So, do you bathe a dog before grooming? Your puppy should be entirely dry before you start clipping their hair, or it might catch a cold. 

  • Towels 

Designate several old towels for your pup and pat dry your pup after a bath. You can also use them to clean your dog’s paws after a daily walk.

  • Hairdryer

Invest in a powerful dryer, especially if you have a double-coated breed. A normal one is also fine, but it’ll take you a lot of time to fully dry your puppy’s hair.

Clipping Equipment

If you want to learn how to clip a dog, you’ll have to get some sharp dog clippers. Before you start, consider also preparing the following:

  • Scissors

They’ll help you shape your puppy’s tail and chest hair. If appropriately used, scissors can also make the haircut look more neat and professional.

  • Raised grooming tables

While not essential, it’ll make grooming much more manageable. You could elevate your dog to a comfortable height and won’t need to bend over it. 

  • Patience 

Sadly, you can’t buy that online. It’s essential to be very patient with your dog during grooming sessions. Turn it into a happy bonding experience and enjoy the hairy chaos together. 

A small breed black dog being groomed with scissors, standing in a pile of hair.

How to Groom a Dog — Health & Safety Tips

Before starting your dog-grooming journey, you should know how to prevent accidents. You’ll be working with sharp clippers and scissors, so it’s essential to keep your pup still.

Besides, you should know what products you can and cannot use when grooming your pup.

Here are the six crucial health and safety tips for dog grooming at home:

Keep Your Dog Still

One of the main dog grooming techniques you should learn is how to keep your puppy still.

  • Make sure to exercise your dog before grooming. This way, your pet will have less energy to turn around, bark, and cause problems during the process.
  • Create a peaceful and safe environment. Avoid accidents by making your pup feel at ease.
  • Take frequent breaks and allow your puppy to calm down before you proceed.
  • Reward your puppy for good behavior.

Never Use Human Toothpaste for Your Pet’s Teeth

One of the essential dog grooming basics is never to use human products on your dogs. Our toothpaste usually contains sweeteners and mint flavorings. These two ingredients alone can cause your puppy vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness

Avoid Applying Human Shampoos on Your Pet

Just like with human toothpaste, they can be irritating to your dog. Your puppy’s skin is much more sensitive than ours, and ingredients in human shampoos can cause allergic reactions and dermatitis.

Never Use Hot Water

How to groom a dog in winter? No matter how cool the temperature outside is, you should never use hot water when grooming your dog. It can burn the skin and make it dry and flaky. Always test the water on your hand before bathing your pup.

Don’t Overdo Bathing

If you’re grooming your dog at home, it might be tempting to do it every day. Even more so during the rainy season, when our dogs come home muddy and smelly after every walk.

But don’t overdo bathing. Once every month or a month and a half is perfectly enough for a dog. You can always keep it clean by brushing regularly and removing the mud with a wet towel. 

Don’t Express Your Dog’s Anal Sacs Yourself

Many articles online mention expressing your pup’s anal sacks as one of their essential dog grooming steps. But doing this without knowing the proper technique can hurt your doggy. 

Dogs’ anal sacs contain a smelly fluid, which is essentially your dog’s signature in nature. That’s why your pup loves smelling other dogs’ poop. It’s a way of getting to know who was there before them.

Sadly, these sacs can get clogged. When the fluid can’t get out, it creates a warm and moist environment — perfect for bacterial growth.

If you spot your puppy licking their anus or dragging their butt on the ground, don’t do anything by yourself and quickly take your dog to the vet.  

A brown dog in a tub being washed with shampoo by its family.

How to Bathe a Dog at Home

Do you bathe a dog before grooming? Yes, otherwise, you’ll have to cut through dirty hairs and mats. And if you somehow injure your dog while clipping its hair (accidents happen), the wound can get infected quickly because of the bacteria in the dirty hair.

There are several steps to bathing your dog correctly.

Combing

Before you start bathing, brush your puppy thoroughly and carefully. This way, you’ll remove any tangles, mats, and dirt stored in your pup’s coat. Also, brushing takes off a substantial amount of hairs that would otherwise go down into the drain and possibly block it.

So how to groom a dog with matted hair? 

Take your slick brush and comb the non-matted hair away from the mat. Now, use some detangling conditioner and rub it in carefully. Try not to pull the hair as this might cause your doggy pain. Detangle using the brush and cut the mat with clippers if combing seems impossible.

One of the ways to reduce dog shedding is through regular brushing. So don’t forget to do it every day and keep your puppy’s hair and skin shiny and healthy.

Bathing Your Dog

Bathing your pup inside your own house is a nightmare for most owners, especially if you have wooden flooring.

But if you follow these dog grooming tips at home, you can turn bathing into a pleasant experience for both your dog and you.

  • Remove all unnecessary objects from the bathroom before you start. That would be anything you don’t want to be ruined by water and hair.
  • Use lukewarm water to saturate your puppy’s coat thoroughly. Avoid the head — you’ll wash it separately to avoid water and shampoo going into the eyes and ears.
  • Get the dog shampoo and ladder it well into the coat. Take your time. It’s important to shampoo every part of your pet’s coat. A bathing glove is of great use here.
  • Follow our dog grooming instructions and wait for a few moments after you shampoo your puppy. This way, you’ll allow the ingredients to start working. But don’t wait too long, as that might dry out your puppy’s skin.
  • Wash out the shampoo thoroughly and put on the conditioner. Don’t use too much of it, as it can make your dog’s coat look greasy. Wait for a few minutes again and wash it out.

Washing the Head

Before you learn how to trim your dog’s hair, don’t forget to finish the bathing. Wash your doggy’s head carefully, trying not to let any water go inside the ears as it might cause an ear infection. 

One of the many helpful dog bathing techniques is to wash the head with a damp towel. Then, shampoo and rinse out carefully.

Drying

Before learning how to cut dog hair with clippers, you should dry your dog. 

Don’t clip the hair while wet. Instead, use a hairdryer and dry it entirely. This way, you’re minimizing the chances of your puppy getting a cold and ensuring the hair is ready for clipping.

Cleaning the Ears

One of the essential steps of grooming your pup is taking care of its ears. Wipe the inside of the ears weekly with a towel. But you don’t need to remove everything. Some wax should be left after cleaning to protect your puppy’s ears.

If your puppy’s ears smell “yeasty,” contact the vet as Pooch might have an ear infection.

Washing the Teeth

One of the critical dog grooming tips for beginners is not to overlook teeth hygiene. Just like you clean your teeth regularly to avoid buildup, you should also brush your puppy’s teeth daily.

Buy a special dog toothpaste and toothbrush. After dinner, give your puppy a good brush.  

If you notice yellow or brownish staining in the base of your dog’s teeth, get a veterinary cleaning. Such buildup can degrade your dog’s teeth gradually.

Learn to Groom Your Dog at Home

Some dogs love bathing, but most seem to hate it, and the same goes for clipping their hair and nails and cleaning their ears.

Here are a few tips on making grooming a pleasant experience while still getting the job done.

Clipping the Nails

Taking care of your pup’s nails is essential. Overgrown nails will start curling under the paws and can cause pain while walking.

Cutting the nails of your dog isn’t as easy as it sounds. Dogs have a gray gummy substance inside their hollow nails, called a quick. If you cut the quick, your pup’s nails will start bleeding, and you’ll cause a lot of pain. 

So, for best results, follow these dog nail grooming instructions:

  • Look at your pup’s nails and locate the quick inside the nail (gray gummy substance).
  • Take your dog nail clipper (it’s best if it has a stopper), and trim only the hollow part before the quick.
  • Reward your pup for good behavior.
  • Clean the paws and moisturize them so they don’t become dry and cracked.
An extremely fluffy dog with hair covering its eyes.

How to Groom a Dog’s Face

Chances are your puppy will be scared when you first try to clip the hair on its face. It’s essential to go slow and be patient.

  • Sit your doggy in front of you on a table or the floor and prepare your clipper. Plan what you’ll do. Ideally, you’ll already know what your puppy breed should look like.
  • Hold your pooch’s head and start clipping from the muzzle. If your puppy gets scared or starts whining, stop and give it a minute. If it’s calm, give your dog a treat and praise it.
  • Next, the dog grooming steps include clipping the cheeks, chin, and around the eyes and ears. Remember always to move the clipper in the direction of the hair growth to avoid irregular cutting.

How to Groom a Dog at Home With Scissors

If you feel more comfortable working with scissors instead of clippers, that’s fine. You’ll still get the job done. 

  • Start by brushing your pup so its hair isn’t tangled.
  • Proceed to cut the hair on the face. Comb the hair and hold it, then cut it as short as you want. Work in small sections, and try to keep the same length throughout.
  • Follow the same steps for combing and cutting the ears, neck, chest, legs, sides, and tail.
  • Brush again, and trim any hairs you might have missed.

How to Groom a Dog That Bites

If your pup gets bitey when afraid or stressed, you might want to put its leash on and tie it to a stable object (like a table) so that your pet doesn’t have access to you. Give your pup frequent rests and try to keep it peaceful.

Dog calming treats with CBD oil might be helpful.    

How to Groom a Dog With Clippers

When it comes to using clippers for grooming your dog, make sure they’re sharp. A blunt clipper would pull on your pup’s hair, causing it pain.

Next, you should always go in the direction of hair growth. This way, you’ll avoid tangling and irregular cutting.

Lastly, ensure you’re not working with hot clippers. If you’ve been grooming your pup for some time without a rest, the clippers might become too warm and burn your puppy’s skin. Take a break and allow the metal to cool down before proceeding.

Scent

There’s no one best way to cut your dog’s hair, but there are wrong ways of handling your dog after grooming.

Spraying a dog with non-vet-approved scents, like human perfume, can be harmful to your pooch’s skin, especially if you’ve just shaved it.

It will make your pup smell nice, but it might cause irritation and allergic reactions. Instead, use one of the many dog-friendly scents on the market, like Pawfume’s premium grooming spray. It’s safe for all dog breeds, alcohol-free, decreases static, and conditions your pup’s hair. 

Always Use Positive Reinforcement

How to groom a scared dog, a bitey dog, or just a difficult one? Use positive reinforcement.

Always reward your pup for behaving correctly and never punish it for whining, being restless, or acting up. Give frequent breaks, pet it, and use a reassuring voice to calm your puppy. Once it’s calm, praise it and give it a treat. 

Conclusion

Grooming your puppy is essential for their health, as it prevents mats and skin irritations. Plus, brushing ventilates the coat and allows for new hair to grow. Bathing keeps your puppy clean and parasite-free.

Using the right puppy-approved products is vital. Combine them with proper bathing and clipping techniques, and you’ll have a happy and healthy puppy. Learning how to groom a dog by yourself at home provides lots of bonding time, making your relationship even stronger. For this to happen, you should always use positive reinforcement. Reward your puppy for good behavior, and don’t punish it for whining or being scared.

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Miglena loves spending time with friends and talking about science over a glass of wine. Born and raised in a small town, she’s always been surrounded by animals. Cats, dogs, chickens, cows, and goats have all been her companions from an early age. Her passion for the animal kingdom became even stronger after she went to study microbiology in Scotland. Miglena’s love for writing, combined with her curiosity, makes her a valuable member of the pawsome advice team.