A dog groomer is a service professional who provides dog grooming and basic hygiene care for your dog. Dog groomers are typically animal lovers who are competent and comfortable working with a wide range of dog breeds and temperaments. Dog groomers are knowledgeable about the care needs for different kinds of dog coats. A poodle will have different haircut needs than a shih tzu, for example, so it pays to have a trained pro provide the proper cut. Good dog groomers know how to safely clean your dog’s teeth, bathe your dog, and cut their nails without going too short. They understand how to trim the hair from around your dog’s face, express anal glands, and clean your dog’s ears. Many people who choose dog grooming as a profession also pursue other dog services such as attending veterinary school, running a doggy day care center, working as a professional dog walker, and more.
Some breeds of dogs are prone to certain genetic ailments such as elbow and hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, pulmonic stenosis, cleft palate, and trick knees. Two serious medical conditions particularly affecting dogs are pyometra, affecting unspayed females of all types and ages, and gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat), which affects the larger breeds or deep-chested dogs. Both of these are acute conditions, and can kill rapidly. Dogs are also susceptible to parasites such as fleas, ticks, mites, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, and heartworms (roundworm species that lives in the heart of dogs).
The majority of contemporary dog owners describe their pet as part of the family, although some ambivalence about the relationship is evident in the popular reconceptualization of the dog–human family as a pack. A dominance model of dog–human relationships has been promoted by some dog trainers, such as on the television program Dog Whisperer. However it has been disputed that "trying to achieve status" is characteristic of dog–human interactions. Pet dogs play an active role in family life; for example, a study of conversations in dog–human families showed how family members use the dog as a resource, talking to the dog, or talking through the dog, to mediate their interactions with each other.
A common breeding practice for pet dogs is mating between close relatives (e.g. between half- and full siblings). Inbreeding depression is considered to be due largely to the expression of homozygous deleterious recessive mutations. Outcrossing between unrelated individuals, including dogs of different breeds, results in the beneficial masking of deleterious recessive mutations in progeny.
Although dogs are the most abundant and widely distributed terrestrial carnivores, the potential of feral and free-ranging dogs to compete with other large carnivores is limited by their strong association with humans. For example, a review of the studies in the competitive effects of dogs on sympatric carnivores did not mention any research on competition between dogs and wolves. Although wolves are known to kill dogs, they tend to live in pairs or in small packs in areas where they are highly persecuted, giving them a disadvantage facing large dog groups.
Trimming your dog’s nails is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and well-groomed. Well-clipped nails are also a factor in your dog grooming costs. When a dog’s nails get too long, they have the potential to break or split, which can cause them pain and mean a costly visit to your local veterinarian. Overly long dog nails can also cause discomfort for your pup, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors. Be sure to calculate regular nail trimming into your budget for dog grooming. The dog groomer may use trimmers to clip the nails, or they may use a small drill (like a Dremel) to grind down the nails. A good professional groomer will know not to clip too close to the base of the nail, where nicking a nerve or a blood vessel could injure your dog. Nail trimming costs can vary based on geographic location and whether you bring the dog to the groomer or if the groomer picks up and drops off your dog. Transportation fees for pickup and drop-off service can add a lot to the cost. A simple dog nail trim may cost between $10 and $30, depending on location. Nail grinding may cost $2-$8 more than standard clipping. Many dog groomers offer discounts for bundled services, so you could get a nail trim at a reduced rate when you purchase it with a bath.
It is a reflexive action for many dogs to try to pull away their back leg if it is lifted. Avoid lifting the leg to the side because this is uncomfortable for most dogs. Instead, pick up the foot and gently pull forward or backward. Don't be upset or punish the dog, just struggle through it and praise your dog when he or she is still. If you have a medium or large dog, you may be able to get away with clipping the nails on the hind feet without having to lift the foot.
Amongst apprenticeship programs and other hands-on training activities, Petco pet stylists who are trained from within the company are required to attend and pass Petco's comprehensive 12-week Pet Stylist Apprentice & Certification academy program. In addition to hands-on grooming training with a Petco-certified pet stylist mentor or instructor, all participants receive instruction in health, safety protocols and grooming salon operations. At the end of the program, candidates must pass a technical skills assessment in order to become a Petco Certified Pet Stylist.