Your ultimate guide to dog care

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Whether you’re a newbie or veteran fur parent, we know you always have your dog’s best interests at heart. As a dog owner, showering your adopted puppy or fully-grown dog with love is expected—but that’s not all. Being a dog owner also involves certain responsibilities when it comes to dog care. 

These responsibilities include properly grooming your dog, ensuring regular visits to the vet, and potty training them. We know, it’s a lot! It may all seem daunting at first, but don’t worry. We’ve prepared a handy guide on how to take care of a dog, including dog grooming and dog training tips. 

Dog groomingwashing a dog

Not sure how to groom your dog? Wondering if your furbaby is ready for a new haircut? Below are quick tips and tricks when it comes to taking care of your pet. 

1. Dog grooming tools

You’re ready to dive in! If you’re already wondering what to add to your shopping list, here are some dog grooming items you’ll need to purchase: 

  • Grooming table 
  • Grooming hammock 
  • Dog grooming brushes 
  • Ear cleanser 
  • Nail trimmer 
  • Grooming scissors 
  • Dog clippers 
  • Dog toothpaste and toothbrush

The most basic step in dog grooming is giving your dog a bath. Make sure your dog is comfortable by giving him treats and showering him with compliments. Yup, you can make bath time fun! 

2. How to groom your dog at home 

Learn how to bathe your dog like a groomer

Now, how often should you wash your dog? The frequency will depend on different factors.

  • Your dog’s breed and coat: Does he have a long coat that attracts dirt? Does his skin produce more oil than usual? 
  • Your dog’s health: Does your dog have any skin conditions? 
  • Your dog’s home environment: Is he an outdoor or indoor dog? 
  • Your dog’s lifestyle: Is he fond of swimming in pools or beaches? After playing, does he have mud, sand, or garden dirt clinging to his coat? 

Long-haired dog breeds, in particular, will require more time and effort from you when it comes to baths. 

Of course, dog grooming doesn’t only involve bath time and brushing fur. It’s also a good idea to trim your dog’s nails, clean his ears, and brush his teeth. This can be a tricky process if your dog isn’t used to grooming yet, so it’s best to consult a vet or professional groomer before attempting this yourself. 

Learn how to groom your dog at home

3. Dog grooming styles

It goes without saying that all dogs are cute. But there might come a time when you want to give your pet a new look! Whether your dog needs a light trim or a louder, more fabulous style, here are some of the most popular dog grooming styles out there: 

  • Puppy cut 
  • Summer cut 
  • Teddy bear cut 
  • Lion cut 
  • Topknot
  • Exotic trims inspired by Japanese and Korean dog grooming

Take note that some of these styles are more suited for specific breeds. Giving your dog a haircut at home is possible, but it’s best to leave it to an expert. You can tell your friendly neighborhood groomer the exact cut you want for your dog. 

Check out trendy dog haircuts in this dog grooming style guide

4. Dog grooming costs 

How much is it to take care of a dog, really? In the US, dog grooming services typically go for $30-$75. But the price range may vary depending on the location. 

As you’ll expect, grooming for bigger dogs with thicker coats tend to be more expensive. If you want to splurge, additional dog grooming services can involve sensitive skin treatment, paw treatment, fresh breath gel, and flea and tick treatment. 

For a more detailed breakdown of grooming costs, check out our dog grooming cost guide

Meanwhile, a mobile dog grooming service on Airtasker may cost anywhere from $30 to $600. Mobile dog groomers offer pretty much the same services as regular dog groomers. But mobile groomers typically come to you instead of the other way around. Sounds convenient, right? 

5. Dog care options 

As much as you hate being away from your pets, there may come a time when you’ll need someone to take care of your dog for several hours—or even days. Below is a list of different dog care options:

Option 1: Doggy day care 

The separation anxiety is real! If you prefer leaving your dog with other dogs instead of having him all alone in the house, then daycare might be the solution. Aside from giving you much-needed peace of mind, doggy daycare also lets your pet socialize more and develop a routine. 

Learn more: Doggy daycare cost guide

Option 2: Dog boarding

Let’s say you’re going on a long vacation or an emergency trip where you can’t take your dog. There are different dog boarding options out there, such as having your pet stay at a typical dog kennel, a dog hotel, or even a luxury suite. 

When boarding your dog, make sure to leave her with something that will remind her of home, such as her favorite toy, blanket, or sock. 

Learn more: Dog boarding cost guide 

Option 3: Dog sitter

Trusted dog sitters do more than just walk your dog. When you hire a sitter, you could also ask them to give your dog medication, follow a special diet, and bring your pet to the groomer when needed. If you’re not comfortable with doggy daycare or dog boarding, an in-home dog sitter could be the best option. 

Learn more: Dog sitting cost guide

6. Becoming a dog groomer 

Let’s say you love grooming dogs so much that you want to make a career out of it! To become a groomer, you can take an online dog grooming course, go to a dog grooming school, or do an apprenticeship. Here are the fundamentals you need to learn as a groomer: 

  • Dog anatomy and breeding history 
  • Dog CPR and first aid 
  • Stripping, thinning, and carding a dog’s coat 
  • Different coat patterns 

Dog trainingtraining a dog with clicker

While we love how playful and energetic dogs can get, there are basic rules they need to learn. Walking on a leash, getting potty trained, and knowing when not to bark and bite are just some of them. We’ve compiled a handy guide to dog training below! 

1. Easiest and hardest dogs to train 

Like how different dog breeds have varying sizes, they also have different personalities and temperaments. Below are some of the charming dog breeds that are quick to learn: 

  • Golden Retriever 
  • Border Collie 
  • Labrador Retriever 
  • German Shepherd 
  • Miniature Schnauzer

Meanwhile, dogs that have the reputation of being independent, stubborn, and aloof at times include: 

  • Beagle 
  • Chow Chow 
  • Pug 
  • Bulldog 
  • Rottweiler 
  • Siberian Husky 
  • Afghan Hound 
  • Basenji 
  • Bloodhound 
  • Chihuahua

Regardless, a skilled dog trainer can help you train your dog, no matter how easy or hard. 

Get to know the easiest and hardest dogs to train. 

2. Dog training tips

Tip #1: Crate training 

Crate training is essential for new dogs or puppies because a crate serves as a place of safety for them. It’s also their very own space to play or rest! Once your dog becomes comfortable with his crate, it’ll also be much easier to bring him along during car rides or trips to the vet. 

Learn tips and techniques in crate training your dog

Tip #2: Clicker training 

Clicker training is essential if you want to teach your dog different commands and tricks. This positive reinforcement method involves a quiet area, a dog clicker, your furbaby’s favorite treats, and LOTS of praise from you. The general idea is to let your dog associate a “click” sound with a reward. 

Learn how to clicker train your dog

Tip #3: How to leash train a dog 

Leash training may sound like a basic task, but dogs need to learn to behave while on a leash. After all, you don’t want your dog chasing all the neighborhood cats or straining against his leash every time you take him out! If you commit to daily five-minute training sessions with your dog, full leash training will take approximately four to six weeks. 

Learn how to leash train your dog

Tip #4: Potty training a puppy 

Designate a potty spot so your pup doesn’t pee all over the house. You’ll know your puppy is ready to go if they look anxious, start sniffing room corners, or leave the room. When your pup shows these cues, make sure to take them to the potty spot and reward them for a job well done. With patience and repetition, you’ll be able to potty train your puppy in no time. 

Follow along this puppy potty training guide or read up about house training methods

Tip #5: Potty training a senior dog 

Potty training an adult dog is pretty similar to potty training puppies, but either scenario takes a lot of patience. If your dog is a rescue and has spent most of his life on the streets, he may not be used to doing his business at a specific spot. Your dog may also have some bad habits he needs to unlearn. But don’t worry: potty training adult and senior dogs is possible! 

Check out these helpful guides: 

3. Dog training costs 

Do you have a hard time training your dog all by yourself? You can hire a local dog trainer to help you. The cost will depend on what you want your dog to learn, such as socializing, correcting aggressive behavior, and cool tricks.  

Hiring a dog trainer can get expensive, and the price ranges anywhere from $30 to $1,520. To save on costs, you can opt for group dog classes instead of private ones. Or you can book off-schedule sessions instead of the more in-demand weekend ones. 

Everything you need to know about training a dog 

4. Becoming a dog trainer 

We’ve talked about becoming a dog groomer, but there are so many other exciting dog-related careers out there! If you’re someone who loves to help other pet owners achieve a harmonious relationship with their furbabies, then becoming a dog trainer might just be the job for you. 

A dog trainer typically conducts obedience and house training sessions and helps correct behaviors, such as excessive barking and biting. To become a dog trainer, you’ll need to learn about animal behavior and develop your training skills. 

Find out the specific steps to becoming a dog trainer

Getting the best care for your dog 

Now that you’ve gone through the basics of dog grooming and dog training, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards a smoother and more loving relationship with your dog. Always remember that patience is key, and always have a handy bag of treats with you when you’re trying to train your pet. We’re sure your dog will thank you with lots of cuddles and kisses, too. 

And if you need a little help, you can always hire a dog care service to ensure your dog gets everything they need to live their best life. 

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