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Divide your dog grooming time into four areas: brushing. combing, nail clipping and shampooing.
* Brushing: Begin brushing at the head, working toward the tail and down the legs. Always brush in the direction of hair growth. Regular brushing will help distribute the natural oils from the skin, producing a healthy, shiny coat.
* Combing: Like brushing, always comb in the direction of hair growth. Do small sections at a time, until the coat is tangle free. For troublesome tangles, use an anti-tangle comb. If the coat has a particularly stubborn tangle, trim it with scissors. A de-matting comb can be used to remove mats.
* Nail clipping: Many dog owners wait for the vet to trim nails. But you can trim your own dog's nails with special dog nail trimmers. Do not ever use regular scissors to trim your dog's nails. Hold the paw firmly and cut off the tip of the nail with a single stroke. Make sure you do not cut too far down the nail to avoid cutting the blood vessel inside the nail. You can follow up with a nail file to make the nails round and even. If you don't feel comfortable here, or if your dog is skittish, you're probably better off leaving it up to the vet.
* Shampooing: Make sure the dog has been thoroughly brushed and combed with no snarls or tangles before shampooing. If the dog is smaller, you can use the tub. Bigger dogs will have to be done outside. Dress in clothes that are OK to get wet. If your dog is skittish about baths, make sure the door is shut or the dog is tied up to avoid flight. Do not use human shampoo, make sure to use a dog shampoo. Some prefer to use natural dog shampoo, like Espree. Ask your vet or breeder for a dog shampoo recommendation. You can protect your dog's eyes with a little Vaseline or mineral oil around the eye.
Make sure the water is warm, but not hot. Get your dog used to the water by spraying his back and shoulders. After he relaxes, wash his head with a cloth or sponge. You can use a rubber brush to work the shampoo into the coat. After thoroughly lathering, rinse with warm water. Make sure to give him treats during and after the bath to reward good behavior.