How to begin grooming for a reluctant older German Shepherd Dog puppy

by Rob Horton
(Warrenton, MO)

We have a two year old GSD named Storm. She's been with us from around 6 weeks old and she is our first dog. We love her dearly. I admit here that we have not always been the best at staying on top of the grooming though.

Brushing her is easy and she loves that but baths and toenails have always been difficult. I fear sometimes we just weren't consistent enough with it all when she was developing.

Its one of those things that since we've learned so much we say "if we had a chance to do it over" we'd be much better at it.

So. She's not a fan of having her nails clipped. And though she's IS a huge fan of playing in the hose outside, loves water, she is not a fan of bath time.

Does anyone have any advice on how to turn these two things around? I really want to be able to groom Storm and for it to be a very positive and enjoyable experience for her.

Thanks for any advice anyone has on this!

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Aug 30, 2011
Doggie Day Spa
by: Jessica T

Hello, I have three GSDs, ages 3, 4 and 5 that I bathe at least 2 times a year. I give them a bath in the Spring and in the Fall every year. Mine barely put up with their baths for the first few year but in the last year I've turned bath time in to spa time. I used to just get them wet, scrub them down, rinse well and move on to the next one.

Now I spend more time with each dog (sometimes I only get to one a day), rub their bellies, massage in the shampoo, scratch their heads and generally pretend we are at some fancy dog spa! It works! Now I don't have to leash or coax them. My female loves her belly rubbed so we start there and work our way around. I'm sure I look silly on the front lawn but they smell so good afterwards.

Feb 25, 2010
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the comments everyone! Very helpful!

Feb 24, 2010
toe nails
by: wendy

Good advice from Jason on the bathing. As for the toenails, I find it is easiest to do them when my guys are sleeping.

First get her used to the clipper. I personally prefer the guillotine style with a guard to prevent snipping too much. I started by letting the dog sniff, mouth, bite the tool, then just leaving it next to them.

When they are used to it, start gently tapping each toenail with the clipper. Then just take a teeny piece off one nail. Wait for a few days, then do one more nail. You might want to make a chart to keep track of which nails you have done.

It might take 2 weeks to get all the nails done at first, but with time you should be able to get all 4 feet done in one sitting.

Jan 03, 2010
Bath Time
by: Jason ridler

My 2 year old male used to hate baths, and having his nails trimmed. I brush him every day, but only bathe him 2 or 3 times a year. During the warmer months Mac gets his bath outside, in the winter it is too cold so the bath tub is the only option.

Bathing Mac indoors used to be almost impossible, the bathroom would end up drenched, and I usually ended up with a back injury. Last winter Mac slipped while running in the snow, and landed in a pile of his own stuff. I had no choice but to give him a bath. Due to the cold, an outdoor bath was not an option. For obvious reasons it was imperative to get Mac through the house, and into the tub as quickly,and smoothly as possible.

Not wanting to have to fight a dog covered in stuff, I decided it would be easier to just get into the tub with him. I put on my swimming shorts, and climbed in. My wife did the shampooing while I sat in the tub, and kept Mac calm. Mac loved it, and will now jump into the tub on his own (I still have to follow).

As for the nails: My wife, and I work as a team to trim Mac's nails. We always start by petting him until he becomes relaxed. One of us will hold him firmly while the other works carefully, but quickly to trim his nails. We do one paw, and then reward him with a treat/praise before moving on to the next paw.

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