Your Puppy's First Groom.........
When choosing a puppy whether or not it needs regular grooming must be a big part of the decision making process. Some dogs such as Maltese, Bichon Frise, Cavapoo, Cockerpoo, and all poodles in fact anything with a plush curly coat will need grooming regularly. Most groomers would recommended a groom once a month. This cost must be factored in as to leave a coat that needs grooming is unfair on the dog. Matted coats can pull and tear the skin, in extreme cases restrict movement and cause pain. So how do you introduce your puppy to this event that will be regularly occurring throughout their whole lives?
You can start as soon as you have your puppy home by getting it used to being touched on its feet, between its pads, under its chin and gently all over. Make it fun but also make it something you do when the puppy is quiet and sleepy so that it knows to be touched is ok, someone holding a paw is ok and not threatening. You will soon be on your way to having a successful first groom. Most puppies should have a visit to the groomer after 4 months old but preferably before 6 months old. During this window they will not need a huge amount of grooming so the session can be short and sweet but they will also be young enough to be curious about the world and easy to train and respond to positive touching.
A first groom should cover all or most of the following –
- A warm gentle bath
- light brush out
- nail check & trim if necessary
- ear check & clean
- light trim if necessary, maybe around face or sanitary area
- introduction to the dryer
Starting slowly will enable your groomer to build up to a full cut and other more elaborate services.
Puppies should be loosely restrained on the table so that they soon learn, like they would with lead walking, that this is a time to stay and wait. A good groomer would never leave a dog on a table so they will be safe and constantly managed throughout the whole process.
The same process applies to bathing, the groomer will be with the puppy at all times; it has to be a lovely, fun experience. Puppies thrive on love, fun, touching and attention this is the perfect opportunity to create the best possible experience. Doing this well means all puppies can enjoy the grooming experience and see it as just another aspect of their busy, happy lives.
Some puppies just love the experience and take it all in their stride others may take 2 or 3 grooms to settle in to the routine.
It is essential to get that first groom right, choose your groomer carefully. Choose a groomer that doesn’t crate dogs and only ever works on one dog at a time. ‘Conveyor belt’ grooming can cause fear and ruin the grooming experience for life. Make this a lifelong easy experience, it is going to happen many, many times in their lifetime.
Happy puppies grow into healthy, happy adult dogs, invest your time and energy into their wellbeing and they will truly be a best friend. Have fun!