Dog Grooming for Beginners

Dog owners have many reasons why they prefer not to take their dog to a grooming service. Although you may decline the invite dog grooming is an important part of the dog’s health and well-being.

The following information is for people who are looking to groom their dogs and are just starting out in the process. Dog grooming basics will do a great job of teaching you what tools you need in addition to tips on how to conduct the grooming process.

How Do I Groom my Dog?

Cutting Dog Hair with Human Clippers

Calm your Dog for Grooming

There are three ways you should focus on calming the dog down before and while grooming them.

  1. Exercise
  2. Treats
  3. Massages


Taking your dog on a walk, preferable, a run before the process will start the process correctly.

Ultimate Guide to Walk a Dog

Your dog will want to relax and put it less of a fight if you take care of business on the front end.

Try a combination of running first and treadmill right after. Beginning the session in intelligent fashion will help the process and set the tone for future interaction with the grooming process.


Treats can be an excellent distraction for your dog. You can try the usual treats you can buy from the store but make sure they are interesting. If not, put a steak or piece of boneless chicken in a frying pan. That should work in getting the dog to focus on something different than grooming.

Only give the treat once the day is relaxed and never give them the treat when they are not behaving.

Dog Massages

Massages may be exactly what your dog needs. You can take them on a long walk and have some real meat treats, but it doesn’t do the trick. You should attempt to massage the dog and give them physical relaxation from their leader.

Be careful if your dog has sensitive areas that make them create noise or hurt the dog. Long as you are mindful and proceed with caution you should be able to massage while brushing, combing, or cutting for another distraction.

Do whatever works!

How to Approach Grooming

women petting dog

  1. Calmly
  2. Start and never stop
  3. Systematic


Whatever the dog does in terms of their behavior you need to block it out and continue to calmly proceed with the process. When you are walking, and the wind is pulling you back you always keep walking. Continue to move forward and show the dog you are going to finish.

A friendlier invitation to the process is to let the dog smell everything before you start using it on them.

Start and Never Stop

You want to start and never start in terms of brushing, combing, washing, towel drying, and then blow drying. Keep a rhythm and the dog will soon relax because of the exercise and how calm and persistent you are the entire time.

Starting and never stopping is providing leadership, because you know the dog needs the grooming and you must complete the process.


You can start from head to tail or tail to head. After letting a dog smell the items you will be using to make them more comfortable start from one end or the other and work your way to the other side. Working systematically will give the dog a roadmap from start to finish once they’ve been through the process on a regular basis.

Have Everything Before Getting Started 

  • Shampoo
  • Cotton balls ears
  • Leash
  • Wash cloth for face washing
  • Towel
  • Blow Dryer
  • Brush

Tools You Need

  1. Grooming Table
  2. Dog Brush
  3. Dog Comb
  4. Dog Shampoo

Grooming Table

A grooming table can help you out with grooming and most professional places will have a grooming table. The important part of the table is the short leash. This helps the dog remain standing and you can comb and wash without having to concern yourself with bad behavior

The part of the leash that attaches to the body will assist having the dog stand still with extra support. Your dog may have behavior problems and this tool will handle quick responses from your dog while offering some type of protection for the groomer. You should also check out  Dog Grooming for Dummies for additional sources.

Dog Brush

  • Shorter coats
  • Brushing to the skin
  • Dog Shedding

Brushed cost around $10-$40

You should use a dog brush with dogs who have a shorter coat. The amount of fur in the coat will determine if you need to brush or comb more often just like human hair. No matter what the length is you will still need to brush.

Brushing to the skin is an important principle to remember if you have a dog with longer hair. Dogs with short coats will automatically get their skin brushed.

Dog shedding will be removed using a solid brush. You should be able to buy an inexpensive brush made for removing shedding. Once you wash the dog and brush them you should start removing a lot of loose hair from the coat. Speeding up the process.


  • long coats
  • Combing to the skin
  • Matted or tangled hair
  • Against the grain to untangle
  • Worst case scenario

Combs cost around $5-$35

Combing will be most useful for dogs with a longer hair type. The comb will be needed in order to keep the hair from getting tangled and eventually matted. That creates a painful experience for the dog because of little to no upkeep leading up to the grooming session.

Comb the hair all the way until the skin. It can be unpleasant, but it is for a good cause. If you only maintain hair that is far away from the skin, you will have combed and uncombed hair. Don’t fall into this trap.

Dogs with straight hair should get a fine tooth but dogs with thick hair should use a wide tooth comb.

Matted hair will result in some of the most difficult sessions you will have to encounter with a grooming session. To keep the hair from getting matted and taking them to a professional you will have to comb way more often. Sometimes daily.

When the hair is matted you will have to hold the mat to prevent pulling of the skin. Start brushing parts of the hair that are not tangled and slowly work your way into the matted area. This is the least painful route you can take. At this point you should take them to a professional.

Worst case scenario is that you will have to shave or cut it all off and start over again.


  • Tub
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Wash cloth
  • Rinse
  • Conditioner
  • Repeat if needed
  • Dry off
  • Brush

Put your dog inside of the tub. The tub should be the right size for the dog. For example, for a small dog get a small tub or use the sink. For a medium size dog get a medium sized tub or medium container.

When water the dog inside use warm water. When using the water hose make sure to introduce the water on the feet and start to work your way around the body.

Use the soap of your choice and get it around the all the dirty areas of the dog. Once the dog has soap on them follow the instructions on the bottle. They may request that you let it sit for 5 minutes or less.

Use a face towel for the facial area of the dog. Don’t put soap in the dog’s face. Tear less shampoo should still never get on the dog’s face.

Rinse the dog and make sure there is no more soap remaining.

Put conditioner on the dog.

Repeat if the dog still carries a strong odor.

Dry off with a towel first and if the hair type requests it you then need to blow dry.

To make sure the dog’s hair doesn’t get tangled up the best thing to do is to brush the dog’s hair. This will help immensely.


Once you have the dog on the table and ready to go you can help the process. Exercise is going to be relaxing. After a long walk cool water will feel good.

Dog Exercise Basics for All Breeds

Make sure the dog is using their nose to smell everything you use. Let them smell it until they turn their head. This is a respectful introduction to all the product you will be using. Use the items to pet the dog as well.

Starting young

You don’t have to start young if you used the advice in the previous section. The age doesn’t matter because you can start at any age. Starting young isn’t an advantage because you still should use the same formula.

How often to bath dog?

This depends on the dog’s coat. If the coat is short you can wash them less frequently. Once to twice a month will be enough unless they are dirty from some type of activity.

Medium hair dogs will need to get washed once a week and will also need you to brush them frequently.

Long hair dogs are the highest maintenance. You will need to brush and combs their fur on the regular. Washing the dogs at least once per week.

Again, these are all general guidelines, and everyone will have a different amount. Find the best amount of times to wash, brush, and comb your dog so that they continue to look groomed at the time.

When to Hire a Professional Dog Groomer

Whenever you have an issue that is too big for you to handle. If they hair is getting too tangled and matted beyond your expertise. Nothing is wrong with finding someone to get you on the right path.

If the skin starts developing a condition get the dog to the vet right away.

There may be a time when you realize, you don’t have the time to give the coat the time it deserves. Sometimes the money is worth the piece of mind.


When you start grooming your dog make sure you get the dog some well deserved exercise to make the entire process better for you and the pup.

Use treat training, positive reinforcement, and massages to ease the process.

Your attitude and approach will be very important for setting the tone. Stay confident and firm when you start grooming and once you start never stop. Continue to form a systematic approach from tail to head or head to tail.

Bring everything you need before you get started so that there is no interruption in the process.

No matter what always consult with a professional if there will be any unknown areas that need to be addressed with dog grooming.

Excessively matting and tangled fur can cause a great deal of pain and can result in a terrible experience. Always remember to stay very active in brushing and combing those medium and long coats to protect them from these situations.

Work smarter and work harder!

Great Day!