Calm your pet during grooming sessions

If Fido makes a mad dash for the doggy door when he spots a comb or brush, you might need a lesson in easing pet grooming.

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Keeping your pet well groomed is an important step in proper pet hygiene. Brushing a cat or dog keeps the coat shiny, removes dead hair, resulting in fewer furballs, and reduces painful mats.

But if Fido makes a mad dash for the doggy door when he spots a comb or brush, you might need a lesson in easing pet grooming. Elizabeth Woodhouse, author of No Bad Dogs: Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way; Distican Inc., uses a mixed of approach when dealing with nervous dogs. She recommends using a calm, soothing voice, a gentle hand and stresses that getting the dog's confidence is key. Here are some tips to keep your grooming sessions stress-free.

Set the right ambiance
Try to keep the atmosphere calm. Find time to groom your pet when there are no unwelcome distractions: screaming kids, loud music. Also, make sure you're at ease so your pet won't be spooked by your nervous energy. Try to make the experience as soothing as possible by talking to your pet in a calm, gentle voice.

Keep your cool
Keep a gentle hand and don't shout at your pet if he doesn't cooperate. Pets have a way of remembering rough and unpleasant experiences so don't give in to frustration. If you're on edge your pet will probably be too, so keep emotions curbed while you're brushing and combing his mane.

Use distractions effectively
If grooming your pet is a challenge, distract him as you brush his coat. Rubber toys, and doggy treats can be lifesavers as you brush through mats in his fur. Sit by a window with your cat as he's enthralled with what's going on outside.

Know when to throw in the towel
Know when to give up and don't resort to a pet/person wrestling match. Struggling with your pet for hours makes for tense grooming sessions in the future. Take a break and try again later when both you and your pet are not riled up. Most pets will accept grooming if you start when they're young, by the time they grow into mature dogs and cats, they will be used to being handled and many enjoy being combed.

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