Grooming isn’t just about making your puppy look good. Regular care removes dead hair, keeps the coat and skin healthy, and gives you the opportunity to check your pup’s general health. It’s also important time spent together, building your relationship, trust and understanding. Starting early means dogs get used to being handled and this also makes any veterinary examinations much less stressful in the future. There’s even scientific evidence that grooming sessions reduce stress and blood pressure – for both of you!
Initially, a puppy’s coat is quite different to an adult’s. It may be softer, fluffier, and shorter, but it’s still important to get your pup used to being groomed, even if he/she doesn’t actually need it much yet. If your dog gets into the routine of being handled, and learns to enjoy it, grooming will be much easier in the future. Remember to be patient and that little and often is the key.
- Encourage your puppy to come to you, have a quick cuddle and gently start to brush in a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed and the puppy feels comfortable, this can be outside during good weather.
- Start by brushing the puppy’s body rather than feet/head.
- Give praise in a quiet, soothing tone of voice, for being good.
- After just two minutes, stop brushing and offer a treat.
- Repeat several times a day, gradually increasing the length of brushing time.
- If your puppy attempts to bite or play with the brush, turn away but without letting go. Do not tell the puppy off or it may perceive this as part of a game, or remember a negative experience of grooming. Ignore negative behaviour and puppies soon learn that such behaviour will lose your attention. Reward positive behaviour.
- After about five days, once your puppy is familiar with the sensation, start to groom the belly, tail, ears and other sensitive areas. Be extra gentle, and keep the initial sessions short and enjoyable, always praised and always rewarded.
- Touch the feet and examine the nails and toes. It is important your puppy gets used to having nails touched in case future nail clipping is required.
- Look inside the ears and gently open the mouth.
- This programme ensures your dog gets used to being handled. Always end a session with a treat or a game.
- Maintain this habit, it is easy to stop if the puppy has a short coat for example, but this familiarity with close contact really will make life easier, and less stressful for the dog, in the future.
- Encourage older children to be involved to teach them gentle handling and responsibility.
- Depending your puppy’s breed/hair type will determine when a visit to the grooming salon will need to take place. So, making contact with a reputable groomer sooner rather than later is a good idea. I am always ready to help owners of young puppies with advice and offer an introductory puppy groom to any newcomer to ensure that a relaxed and happy experience is achieved in the salon. Just give me a ring on 07712 270415