All three dogs were in need of a thorough grooming. Therapy Dogs need to be kept clean because they are visiting in healthcare and educational facilities. But, that aside, we like the dogs to be clean and well-groomed at all times. The dogs seem to enjoy looking good, as well. Thorough grooming includes: brushing – first, followed by a bath, then trimming – including nails. I work at making grooming fun for them so they’ll enjoy it and won’t run the other way when they see me bringing out the large gallon jugs of shampoo and creme rinse. I always have the pocket of my grooming smock full of luscious treats that I liberally offer them throughout the process.
Grooming is a regular routine at our house. The dogs are brushed every afternoon at 5:00 p.m. – just prior to their dinner. Their reward is to be promptly fed…. and they all LOVE their food! When grooming is done daily, it’s very quick – just brushing through their feathers and polishing with the grooming glove. Each dog… five minutes – and we’re done. Truly, they look forward to this time, just like their routine walk in the morning. Sometimes James and Lily jump simultaneously onto the grooming table to be the first one done! Annie is always willing to wait and be third.
Because they are used to being on the grooming table every day, doing a complete and thorough job isn’t such a big deal to them. Lily actually jumps right into the dog tub to retrieve the biscuit I throw in there for her. When I’m doing a thorough job of all three dogs, I split it up between two days – so this Saturday, I brushed and bathed and on Sunday, I brushed (again) and trimmed. To preserve the life of my clipper blade, I always trim on clean fur.
When all three are finished, we head out to the back field together for a romp. This is their reward – and mine, too. I love watching my Setters romping through the field – such an elegant scene. Yesterday, the unseasonable temperature was at 60 degrees (November 20th in Western Massachusetts!) – they all seemed to be smiling as they leapt like gazelles through the high grasses in the meadow out back.
Grooming is never a chore for me and never disliked by the dogs. We love spending time together.