Brushing your dog gives you a perfect opportunity to examine his body for injuries, foxtails or lesions. As soon as your new puppy has settled into his new home, give him an introduction to grooming. Take him to a room without distractions. Stand him on a rubber mat or towel on a table, or if he is very small, hold him on your lap. With a soft brush, brush him lightly and caressingly all over his body. Pick up and examine each paw and its nail and each ear. If he bites the brush, tell him "No!" Although biting the brush may seem cute in a twelve-week-old puppy, the same behavior will not be cute in a large, strong dog. Practice this routine for five minutes each day, then give him a treat and praise him profusely for his good behavior.

The most versatile brush is the slicker brush. Used with a light touch, it is appropriate for most medium and medium to long coated dogs. When using this brush, make sure the metal bristles do not scratch your dog's sensitive skin.

Parting the fur, go through layer by layer down to the skin. Pay special attention to ears, inside of legs, stomach, tail, feathered furnishings, and chest and between the toes. Lift legs gently to brush underarms and feathering. Lay your dog on his side to brush the stomach. Brush the direction the coat grows until the brush moves freely through all the coat layers. Then carefully brush against the grain to remove any last traces of dead hair.

Brushing your dog's "beard" requires a gentle touch. Hold the muzzle steady and brush downwards. Make sure you brush to the roots of the hair, but do so gradually -- jerking through any invisible mats in his beard (or other areas) will not endear your dog to the grooming process!

Pin or bristle brushes are often used on toy breeds. Pay special attention to stomach and legs where mats on these breeds are common. When you are finished brushing your dog, carefully use a comb through every area. The comb should go through to the skin smoothly and not encounter any mats.

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