The majority of dogs and cats that come in to our grooming shop would benefit from additional grooming done between appointments at home. It is important to have a game plan when embarking on your at home grooming sessions.
First of all, once your have the proper tools (see Tools of the Trade article), you will need to determine where in the house you will be doing the grooming. This will depend on your particular pet. Some pets will do fine with brushing while you are both sitting on the couch as long as they are accepting of the process and you can reach all areas of the pet. If your pet is fairly mellow and a large one, they may let you do the brushing as they relax on the floor or their bed. Just remember to get those difficult areas like the legs and the rear.
Dogs and cats that are less thrilled about the process may need to have a designated area where the job is done. With a small dog or cat the laundry room might work well. If you put some kind of non slip mat or rug on top, these applicances are at about the right height to save the back. This will raise the animal up and it will be easier to see what you are doing. Try to make it a positive experience and start with very short sessions, even many repetions of a few seconds if the animal is nervous. For a nervous animal, you might want to enlist a helper to give moral support and or treats!
The next aspect you will need to think of is how often will you need to do your grooming at home. Some dogs may be fine with a once a week brushing and others really need it daily. It is best to err on the side of too much rather than not enough! The perfect time to start is shortly after the pet has been groomed, especially if it has a coat that will tangle. This way you do not need to worry about pulling the hair and you will be assured that the experience will be a positive one. If your pet does have quite long hair, daily brushing might be in order. If you don't run in to any tangles you can start stretching it out. Most pets with hair longer than an inch will probably need to be brushed at least twice a week. If you have a lab or shepherd you may be able to get away with a good monthly brushing, although doing it weekly can benefit the dog, by getting out dead coat, stimulating the skin and bonding with your dog.
So the challenge is to have a plan and make it a habit to keep your pets coat in good shape and have a happy healthy pet!