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The material on this page is from:
Start Your Own Self-Serve Dog Wash, and How To Trim Your Dog's...Nails! And Why You're Probably Dumber Than Your Dog, by David A. Grass. It may be used only with permission.

Common Grooming-Related Myths and Misconceptions of the General Public

"I'm a professional groomer, I have been in the industry for 10 years, and I just wanted to say thank you for the common misconceptions page on your site!!!! The ignorance of some owners is so frustrating sometimes; it's good to know someone is putting this information out there....Education is the key to healthier happier pets..."


Dogs hate baths.

The majority of dogs would not make bathing their first choice of possible activities, but are nevertheless cooperative and put up with it very well. Although it may not be something they love, it is not a huge deal. Most actually enjoy at least parts of the experience, whether it be the quality attention they get throughout, being brushed, being rubbed down with towels, or being blow dried (yes, many dogs do like that). A significant number quite enjoy the whole process, and seem to be eager to get started...

Frequent bathing is bad for a dog’s skin and/or fur.

This persistent myth has been around a long time. It may be true when using poor quality or human shampoos. But regular bathing with quality, appropriate shampoo, is good for dogs. This becomes readily apparent to anyone who is around a dog that is washed on a regular basis...

Longhaired dogs shed more than shorthaired dogs.

The truth is often actually the opposite. Some longhaired breeds do not shed a whole lot. Or, they may only significantly shed briefly in the spring and fall. However, many breeds with short and medium coats tend to shed heavily all year long, or at least much of it. These include, to name a few: the Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, and Corgi...

Shaving a dog will reduce or prevent shedding.

This myth seems devoid of logic. Nevertheless, it is common. A shaved dog will not shed less than an unshaved dog. The hair that comes out will simply be shorter.

Shaving a dog will keep it cooler in hot weather.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, there will probably be little if any real effect. The density of fur is more important than length when it comes to being cooler in summer or warmer in winter. And nature takes care of that. Dogs that shed profusely in the spring, typically do not lose overall length. Rather, the density of the coat is reduced. Removing loose hair with regular brushing will have greater impact on hot weather comfort than shaving will.

Dogs are actually protected from the hot sun by their fur, so too much shaving can result in more heat reaching their bodies, and in rare cases, even sunburn.

Dryers must produce a great deal of heat to dry dogs, and high-heat blow dryers designed for people will dry dogs faster than forced-air dryers made for dogs.

Wrong. See article on Dryers for more information.

Shampoo needs to produce lots of lather to be effective.

Lather is not a good indicator of shampoo quality. See article on Shampoos for more information.

There is no reason to use dog shampoo because human shampoos are just as good.

Human shampoos are good for humans, but not for dogs. See article on Shampoos.

The front portion of a dog’s body is lighter than the rear.

The opposite is true. This unbelieveably common misconception comes into play when lifting dogs....Contrary to popular belief, the majority of a dog’s mass—and thus weight—is in the front half of its body. This is due to the large chest that virtually all dogs have in relation to the rest of their bodies, along with the forward leaning neck and head.

Dogs feel more safe and comfortable in new or stressful situations when they are coddled and constantly reassured.

Overreactions by caretakers to normal activities such as bathing, nail trimming, or vet visits tend to make dogs feel LESS safe and more apprehensive. See article on Nails for more information.

© Copyright, David A. Grass,
Start Your Own Self-Serve Dog Wash, 2001.
How To Trim Your Dog's...Nails! And Why You're Probably Dumber Than Your Dog, 2003. All rights reserved.

For detailed, step-by-step instructions and images for nail trimming, as well as more information on approach and perceptions, see one or both of the books below:

Start Your Own Self-Serve Dog Wash

How To Trim Your Dog's...Nails!
And Why You're Probably Dumber Than Your Dog

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