Should we get our dog groomed?
We recommend monthly grooming, which will greatly reduce shedding. Grooming can take up to an hour, and professional groomers use what's called a "Furminator," which is a great tool for removing the dog's undercoat of fur. Your groomer can also clip the dog’s nails and, if needed, express their anal glands. (If the groomer won't cut nails or do an anal expression, we recommend getting another groomer.) We recommend monthly grooming because it helps to keep the dog healthy and also keeps your home cleaner. While it is an added expense, we believe it pays off in the long run.
Should we ask the groomer to shave the dog?
No, we don't recommend shaving your dog. Shaving a dog is only needed for poodles and the few other breeds that do not shed. A dog's fur doesn't just protect them from the cold in the winter, it also helps protects their skin from sun in the summer.
How should we care for our dog’s ears?
We recommend cleaning your dog's ears weekly, which means doing it yourself. Cleaning your dog's ears only takes a few minutes, and we will have trained each dog to take ear cleanings nicely. With the most common service-dog breeds (Labs and Goldens), their ears are floppy and, thus, their inner ears will get infections if you don't clean them weekly. We will show you how to clean the ears—basically, you fill the dog's ear with ear cleaner, stick in your Kleenex-covered finger and wipe out the inner ear, then let the dog shake their head to let the excess cleaner fly out (you may want to do this ear cleaning outdoors).