Sunday, November 17, 2013

DIY Grooming Your Dog

Ever since we got Rufio, I've been too lazy to take on home-grooming, until earlier this year when our favorite groomer moved away, and the new one nicked his sack (it was empty, because he's neutered, but it still got infected). He never liked going to the groomer's anyways, so after the injury, I decided it was time to learn to groom. 

In March of this year, I took my budgeted grooming money and bought this Wahl grooming kit from Target. I watched a few youtube videos and went to it. 

Rufio in desperate need of grooming. Where are his eyes? 

That first groom was an experience in learning to trust each other. Rufio and I have a very close, trusting relationship, but the electric clipper took it to a whole new level. He's very compliant when I'm grooming him, and I think he prefers my amateur grooming to the scary professional groomers. 

Yesterday I did my fourth groom, and I finally feel like I've got the hang of it. This post is not a tutorial. It's a "You can do it too!" encouragement post. 

Here's my the method:

1. Wash. I wash Rufio on a Friday night after we've done our evening walk. That gives him the entire night to dry, because I don't blow-dry him. 

2. Comb. I comb Rufio on Saturday morning after he's fully dry. I work out any mats and basically prep his fur for the clippers. 

3. Groom Station. I groom him on the back patio on Saturday mornings, because Zane can watch Daisy, and it's usually still cool enough to work outside. I would never recommend grooming indoors, because fur gets everywhere. My first groom was in the garage, and even that was a beast to clean up. 

I sit on newspaper and keep the things I need right next to me: scissors, comb, clippers, oil and clipper brush. The rest of my supplies is on the chair away from the fur. 

Sorry for the blur. I need to clean my iPhone lens.

4. Grooming the Fur. I start without a guard and shave the genital area and around his anus. I start there because the clippers aren't hot, and they're the most delicate areas. Then I slap the shortest guard on and go to town on his back, legs, and belly. Lastly, I use the scissors to shape his face, feet, and tail. I also use scissors to trim the hair between the pads of his feet. 


5. Ears, Nails, Anal Glands. After his body is in order, I gently pull out the hair from his ear canals. This takes a lot of patience for both of us. He dislikes this, but with lots of "Good boy"'s and breaks for petting, he endures to the end. I try to tell him that it's to prevent ear infections, but he doesn't get it. 

I bought nail clippers in March, but only used them once. I'm too afraid of cutting his quick, so I usually just file them when necessary. So far it hasn't been a problem, but I'm dreading the day that I have to really work on his nails. He's not as patient about his nails. 

I have never expressed his anal glands, but I've heard the vet will do it for you. 


Clean up. I always end up covered with fur. I wash my grooming clothes with the towel we used to dry him after his bath. I always do a rinse cycle first, regular wash cycle, then put them in the dryer. By the end of the drying the hair is mostly out, but I reserve these clothes for grooming, because there are usually rogue hairs that linger.  

I clean the clippers as the instructions say, then wipe off my scissors, clipper guards, and comb with my shirt. I sweep all the fur into our yard because it's bio-degradable!


Time. Not including his bath the night before, the Saturday morning grooming process takes me about two hours. It's not my favorite thing to do, and I would never groom anyone else's dog, but it saves me money and anxiety about Rufio's well-being, so it's worth it!

Freshly groomed Rufio. 

I'm not a perfectionist, so Rufio often looks "rugged" after a groom, but it's not about looking perfect. I'm a low-maintenance groomer, very non-professional. I like having the ability and confidence to do this myself, and I'm saving $50 a quarter (that's $200/year!). 

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