So I’ve been reading up on whether and how best to wash your dog in preparation for the arrival of our new rescue Vizsla. We have lots of ponds and ditches where we shall be walking and I have no doubt we will come home dirty on more than one occasion! Gone are the days when most dogs lived outside in kennels and when it didn’t really matter from an aesthetics point of view whether your dog was terribly clean or not, but when they share the same living space with us, as they do now, it’s slightly more important to keep the state of their coats under control. Now even if your dog doesn’t get dirty it will still need some attention paid to its appearance once in a while so it’s worth discovering the best techniques that will allow for easy stress-free grooming. I’ve read that some dogs get quite agitated when you try to wash them (although our German Shepherd, that we had when we were younger, actually enjoyed it) and so I’ve pulled together what seems to be a recommended routine for you to try. The trick is getting your dog to tolerate (and even enjoy!) the bathing and grooming process… PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR WASHING The first step – before you even go anywhere near some water or get dirty – is to get your dog used to you touching him or her all over – which you will need to do once you start washing. Ideally this touching should start as a puppy but if you have an adult dog (as we will) you will just have to move a little slower. What you want is your dog getting used to the sensation of being handled and rubbed – in particular in places they normally won’t be touched. So try to make an enjoyable experience of this – almost giving your dog a massage so he’ll slowly come to enjoy the all-over physical contact. By instinct dogs are social creatures and so physical affection and contact is a normal part of their lives. It shouldn’t take long therefore before he begins to trust you, and allows himself to get some pleasure out of your touch. This kind of touching routine is also really going to help with your vet visits when again your dog gets touched in places they would not naturally tolerate. So the routine is as follows: Slowly rub all over; Fondle the ears; Touch the cheeks and neck; Rub them on the back and belly; Pick up their paws and; If they’ll let you, give each paw a gentle squeeze. (Paw touching is generally a big deal for most dogs...Read More
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