Creating Great Expectations For Home Grooming

Creating expectations in a pet is easy. Take time to discover what kind of motivators get your pet really excited.

Creating expectations in a pet is easy.  They know that they are walked or fed at certain times in the day.  They may know that if pizza arrives at the house, they stand to get a crust or two if they hover around the living room. Take time to discover what kind of motivators get your pet really excited and enthusiastic. If it's catnip, start making catnip toys the reward for any sort of positive interaction with grooming and grooming tools.  If it's cheese, let cheese be the extra special reward. The most natural reward to associate with grooming is snuggling and petting. 

You've already won if your pet sees the combs and tools come out and they expect nothing but a loving snuggle session. Whatever you use, remove it from your pet's life except as it relates to grooming and grooming equipment.  This will make the reward even higher in value for your pet. 

You can create 'great expectations' in your pet when it comes to grooming.  Make grooming and grooming tools a part of your pet's 'happy' routine.  Before your pet gets fed, walked, played with, lay out its grooming tools.  Make them the trigger that means 'fun times ahead!'.   Every experience with grooming is now going to be associated with treats, praise, playtime and positive attention. 

At this point, the tools are not going to be used in any way that stresses your pet; they are just going to be there. You are waiting for the time when your pet reacts positively to the appearance of the grooming tools.  When there are little or no signs of stress is when you may proceed to the next steps.

  • Discover what reward is highest-value for the pet and use it only when around grooming tools
  • Make grooming tools like Scaredy Cut a part of your pet's positive daily events - walks, food, etc.
  • Wait until your pet is showing little or no stress before proceeding with further steps

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Julie MacTire is a writer and educator devoted to the world of dogs. She also writes a blog ( about her adventures with her Shiba Inu, Tierce, and is a supporter of many pet welfare organizations.

References & Resources

Grooming, Stress-Free

Scaredy Cut is the gentle clipper designed for grooming sensitive pets.
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