Start them young!!
Getting a new puppy is so exciting!! New food, a new bed and pillow, lots of new toys, a water dish and food bowl, a visit to the doctor to make sure puppy stays healthy….hmm, what else do we need? A visit with the groomer!! We always encourage new puppy owners to book an appointment with their groomer at about 12 weeks of age. The puppy should have had their 2nd booster prior to coming in so that he or she is protected from the other dogs while in the salon.
We like to have the pup spend half a day with us. They get to hear, smell and see what goes on in the salon. We try to book them on days when we have other relaxed and comfortable clients so they can see it’s fun and easy to be groomed. We start with a cuddle and play on the table so being up there isn’t scary. We clip nails and clean inside ears then it’s into the bath tub. We like to play in the water to make the bath fun. Your pup will get shampooed twice and then a conditioner to keep the moisture in the coat. After playing with a towel and having a rub and roll around the table, we turn on the high velocity dryer. We only dry the pup as far as they can handle. Some aren’t bothered at all and some are highly fearful. We ask them to accept it but we don’t push. Once they’ve accepted the dryer, we let them dry under a fan while they watch other dogs get their pampering done.
Once your puppy is dry, we are back on the table for a full brush out. We make sure there are no tangles and teach the puppy to stand quietly. This is part of your puppy’s training. They have to learn to stand quietly for grooming without spinning, jumping or trying to leap off the table, both for their safety and ours. We will show them all the tools as we use them; like the brush, comb and clippers, first off, then turned on where the puppy can feel the vibration. We will rub the back end of the clippers all over the puppy so they will get used to the sound and vibration on their body and legs. If they accept it easily, we will turn it over and clip the hair from their feet and sanitary areas to help keep puppy clean. Some puppies will even let us clip under their eyes so they can see better, but if not, we will try cleaning up their face with scissors. Some puppies are very relaxed and we can even take some length off of the coat and tidy up feet and legs, but for some, it takes a couple of visits before they are relaxed enough for it to be safe for them to be clipped. Remember, your puppy will have to be groomed for the rest of his life so we want this to be enjoyable not scary.
Puppies learn by repetition, so we recommend 4-6 week appointments for the first year. At about 6 months, your puppy will start losing puppy coat and growing adult coat. This is when the mess will begin. As the soft coat comes out, it can get tangled with the coarser adult coat so regular brushing at home is needed. Keeping the length of the coat shorter during this period will also help so we usually recommend a short trim at about the 5-6 month appointment and keeping it short until the change over is complete, usually at about 12 months of age but some puppies can take up to 18 months of age before their full adult coat is in.
Besides brushing, there are things you can do at home to prepare your puppy for the groomer or veterinarian. Play with their toes!! Every day. Put your fingers between each toe and gently squeeze the nail to mimic trimming. Flip their ear over and gently rub your finger inside so they get used to cleaning. Hold their chin and look inside their mouth or used a cloth to gently wash their face every day. These are all things that will happen at the groomer or vet so if it’s something the puppy is used to at home, it won’t be scary with us.
Congratulations on your new puppy. We look forward to meeting you both!!