Caring for a dog that needs regular grooming is a big long term commitment financially if you don’t do it yourself. Over the years we have taken Molly & Ebb to different dog groomers, for the first 7 years of their lives I was able to do the dog grooming before my hand injury restricted me.
Born eighteen months apart, their Dad’s name was Bob, a cream coloured miniature poodle who by all accounts was very charming. Their mother was also called Molly, a red cocker spaniel with the sweetest, gentlest nature. Oh she was just a darling, watching her in the welping box with her litter of pups I knew straight away that both our dogs would have lovely temperaments. The parent dogs were family pets, the love and attention to them really showed and in turn how the dogs treated their carer’s with love and fondness really showed.
When Lil was 3 years old we started looking for a new furry family member, I did lots of research to see what kind of dog would suit our family best and factored in all the grooming time, plus possible financial costs and care a dog would need. After answering an advertisement, we followed the winding road out of town, travelling through the picturesque Gippsland hills and went to see Molly the cocker spaniel and her pups. Weeks later Molly the Spoodle pup came home with us. Such a beautiful family memory.
~ Grooming the dogs myself ~
Ebb has just had his twelth birthday, Molly is no longer with us but lived to the ripe old age of twelve. Both dogs being of a gentle nature really helped when I groomed the dogs myself. I knew that they wouldn’t snap or bite me or growl for that matter.
Even though they were brother and sister, their litter’s were eighteen months apart, their coats were very different. Molly’s coat was soft, heavy & wavy, the wave straightening as it grew longer. Ebb’s coat is softer, curly not wavy and grows to a certain length then the curls flatten and if left and not brushed or clipped the heaviness of the coat causes it to matt easily, very important not to let it get too long.
~ Trust & Timing ~
Trust in me is a huge factor, I was the one with the scissors. So is planning when to groom the dogs, timing is everything.
Before I started grooming Ebb and Molly I thought a lot about what time of day they were the calmest, least energetic and watched their sleeping/snoozing patterns. A calm relaxed dog is easier to groom. I read recently the sign of a good farmer is one that knows where their livestock will be and can rightly predict what they will be doing at any given time. After our lunch is when both Molly and Ebb were the most passive, that early afternoon sleepy rest time. This is the time I always tried to groom them. I would also try and make this the time if booking a professional grooming session for them. The other time they are most relaxed is around 9pm, the end of the day.
~ Groom one dog at a time ~
When they were younger the Spoodles had so much energy and didn’t like to sit still for long but treats were a great incentive for them!
I almost always groomed the dogs outside, it makes for an easy clean up and for them to go to the toilet or get a drink if they needed to. I would tap the scissors where I wanted them to sit, they’d come over and sit down, get the treat and we proceeded. Gently and slowly we proceeded, methodically clipping away, they would let me know when they needed a toilet break and when they returned to me I would calmly fuss over them, patting them and giving them a hug and a treat before starting clipping again.
I stopped grooming both dogs on the same day. They were young, fed off each others excitement, both liked the idea of endless treats, playing and me sitting on the ground being in the centre of it all. It wasn’t working as well as it could be, instead of taking 90 minutes tops to groom each dog it was taking all afternoon with neither dog completely clipped!. I changed things around, only one dog to be groomed on the day. The dog that wan’t being groomed either stayed inside or was in another part of the garden to where the grooming happened. It just stopped the dog not being groomed wanting to play or after they got used to the routine stopped them for asking for treats as well. They aren’t silly!
If I did have to give the dogs a hair cut inside it was when Michael was home to help me and we would clip the dog just before our bedtime about 9pm. I know it is late but it was based on when the dog would be the calmest/sleepiest in the evening since Michael is at work during the day or renovating and gardening on the weekends. I would have the vacuum plugged in next to me and a bag to collect the hair in. When I clipped the hair I put it straight into the bag and do a quick vacuum every 10 minutes or so picking up those loose bits of hair that would otherwise catch on our socks and be walked through the rest of the house. Vacuuming and keeping the work space clean giving the dog a break as well.
If Ebb or Molly wasn’t settled when grooming, I just stopped, no use trying to force a situation, I just let them get up, shake, go for a little walk, start patting them, brushing them or talking to them softly, letting them refocus. It is a great bonding process based on trust.
~ Some Dog Grooming Tips ~
Love. Get in the loving adoring, you are such a darling pup zone, if you are pre occupied the dog senses it & won’t be as trusting.
Routine, routine, routine. Our dogs are most settled during grooming sessions when everything stays predictable for them.
I noticed if I started to get too hot or started rushing the dogs would quickly pick up on this and become nervous making it harder to give them a hair cut.
Keeping the dog calm is just as important as the actual clipping.
Sit in the shade so neither of us over heat. Alternatively if it was a cooler day I would make sure that their head was in the shade and their body stretched out in the sunshine.
Buy an organic dog shampoo that isn’t heavily perfumed. The heavy perfumed shampoos, conditioner and dog spray perfume can give everyone a headache plus the furniture and you start to smell of it.
If your towels are too good to downgrade and use as dog towels buy cheap towels all the same colour, a different colour to your bath towels. It saves confusion in the wash, nobody wants their bath towel washed with the dog towels!
Make sure the towels are thin and dry easily. The towels are only needed for one use at a time then washed. Line dry the towels and air them well to prevent dog smell build up. Sometimes I put a drop of tea tree in the washing machine when washing the towels (tea tree oil is proven to be antibacterial). Keep the towels in the cupboard near your dog supplies storage crate.
We have a small storage crate in the laundry cupboard for dog shampoo, the dog grooming brush, spare dog collars & leashes.
Wear old clothes, loose dog fur is like velcro on clothes or socks and only give a dog a hair cut when it isn’t windy, you don’t want the dog fur being blown about! Getting dog fur in your mouth is off putting to say the least! I know!!!
Feel free to send this to someone you know who is considering caring for a dog that needs regular grooming there is a lot to take into account.
Sending Light & Love,
Grooming our Pups. Part I.
September 26, 2019