Grooming for the Wire Fox Terrier, should start very early in life. He will need to accept someone working on his coat all of his life. For the Smooth Fox Terrier, it will be much easier, but they still need to learn to hold still for a bath and toenails done. Most owners don’t realize how important it is to start very early with a puppy. A good breeder will have been working on that puppy long before he is ready to go to his new home. He will at the least been bathed and brushed and his nails done. Hopefully he will have had some coat work done too.
When you get that new baby, you must start with the brushing and combing right away. Take him to a good groomer by the time he is 3 months old. Many of the problem dogs that a groomer sees are the ones that are never taken to a groomer before they are 6 mos or even a year. Even if you think that you want to do some of the grooming yourself, take him to a professional shop to begin with. Unless you have the training to do this right, you can cause more trouble than you are trying to prevent. He also needs to learn to have someone outside of the family handle him.
Make sure that you carefully choose the groomer that you will be working with. Be sure that they have the time and patience to work with puppies. They should not have to do much the first few times he goes in. Better to have him go every couple of weeks just to learn to like it and what it’s all about. As for many of us, it’s the fear of the unknown that is the worse fear.
It’s also very important that the owner keep the puppy mat free, by combing and brushing all the time. If the first time your puppy goes to the groomer and she has to demat him and hurt him, of course he’s not going to want to go back. That’s not fair to either the groomer or the puppy. That’s what creates “grooming phobia”. So start your puppy out right.
Another reason that a dog can become grooming phobic is if he is handled roughly or hurt. I suggest staying away from very busy shops with many groomers. The groomers may be fine, but many of these shops hire kids to do the bathing and drying and they can certainly hurt your dog during this seemingly simple procedure. Ask to talk to the groomer that will be working on your puppy….and to the bather if the groomer is not doing his or her own bathing. A smaller shop with one or two groomers is far better if they are not too busy.
Don’t put pressure on the groomer to hurry, either. That’s not in the puppy’s best interest. See if the groomer has a pen that the puppy can be in to sit and watch and learn. He is actually better off if he stays for a while before being groomed just to get used to the place and smells and the other dogs. Yes, he will be tired when he gets home, but that’s not always a bad thing.
Be sure to tell the groomer that it’s more important to you that the puppy have a good time and wants to come back than to get the grooming job perfect. If the groomer seems more concerned about the puppy behaving so that she can get it perfect, try another groomer. You want someone that will play with him and make him feel safe and comfortable.
When you bring your dog to the groomers do NOT make a big deal of leaving him there. You are sending a very bad message to him if you do. You are telling him that something bad is going to happen and you are sorry that you have to do it, but you won’t even be staying to protect him. Bad message. That’s not what’s happening if you have checked out the groomer. He’s going to have a great time and look fabulous when you come to get him. So bring him into the groomers, check him in, say “bye, see you in a while” and leave.
When you come to pick him up, don’t say a word until he is out of the cage and on the floor and coming to you. Jumping out of the cage because he is trying to get to you, he could be hurt and it would be no one’s fault but yours. Bring him a treat if you wish, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t take it.
This is also not time to try and show everyone the trick that you just taught him. He’s not going to listen. Never make a big deal out of going to the groomers, just do it. That sends the right message that it’s no big deal.
If you adopt an older dog that has not been groomed in a long time, don’t expect the groomer to take a long time dematting him and trying to make him beautiful. It’s not fair to him or to the groomer. He will only not want to come back and you can’t blame him. Let the groomer take his coat down and brush out what can come out easily. Hair grows back. Don’t make him suffer to look good for you.
Building a good relationship with a professional groomer will make all the difference in the world. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. When you start with a new groomer, tell them if there are problems with your dog. Be sure that if you think he might try and bite that you tell them ahead of time. If the groomer understands the dog’s problems, she can work around them.
Be sure you have a groomer that wants to work with you. That wants your dog to look forward to coming to see them. Also set up a regular schedule of appointments. That way your groomer knows that you are serious about caring for your dogs coat. Tell them that you want to know what you need to do at home in between grooming’s.
No dog should be “grooming phobic”. They learn this at the hands of a bad groomer or unthinking owner. Have an open dialog with your groomer and never hesitate to ask if you have questions. You’ll be happy and you’ll never have to worry about your Wire Fox Terrier being upset about seeing a groomer.
We will be adding much more about grooming the Wire Fox Terrier in the future with more photos and links to great grooming websites.