PUPPY’S FIRST GROOM

One of the first questions new puppy owners ask is

“At what age should we get our new puppy groomed?”

Most puppies should see a groomer after they’ve had their second round of vaccinations, no later than 16 weeks. At this time they’re still trusting, and willing to let strangers handle them, and will acclimate to strange noises and sensations comparatively easily. You can help by getting the puppy used to some of the noises and activities: brushing with a gentle brush and comb, playing with and massaging the feet and face, using a hand-held blow dryer(no warmer than medium heat! and keep the dryer moving, not pointed at one spot until it is dry.) to blow the puppy dry after a bath, or just to blow on him before the grooming at home. You can also use a metal spoon or your nail clippers and just gently tap their nails.  Don’t forget their back paws!  Doing this at least once-a-day will help your new puppy get used to being handled.  Of course, have lots of yummy small treats handy too.

Getting Your Puppy Ready @ Home!

If you are going to maintain the dog at home at all, it is wise to get him accustomed to standing on a raised surface, quietly and calmly. Psychologically this removes him from “his” territory (the floor, where He plays, and sleeps, and can GET AWAY), and puts him in a physical “place” where “work” (grooming) happens as a regular thing. This lessens any potential fear when he does meet his groomer and veterinarian, since the off-the- floor experience is familiar and normal.  Another good tip is to practice lifting up your puppy from the floor.  Have a special word you use like “up” or “here we go” when you’re picking up your puppy.  This will help them to anticipate what is about to happen.  It can be scary for a small young puppy to all of a sudden have two hands around them and picking them up from the “sky”!

It’s All About The Training – Be Positive!

Don’t allow your puppy to bite or bite at you while grooming.   Gently yet firmly restraining him momentarily until he settles down, then go back to what you were doing  is usually enough to stop this behavior in a youngster.  If you permit vocalizations that indicate complaint to stop you doing what you are doing(whines, yelps, screeches of anger, etc.), you have allowed the puppy to “win”, and the process will be that much harder for both of you.  Always, always, always reward your puppy with treats when their doing the right behavior (e.g. the behavior you like!).  By rewarding the behavior you like and ignoring the behavior you don’t like will help your puppy learn that their good and polite behavior will earn them treats while their “acting out” behavior will not.  They’ll figure out pretty quickly what they’ll need to do.

Get them used to hearing and seeing a blow dryer too. Have a little “puppy party” when the dryer comes out.  Lots and lots of treats with the dryer at a good distance (10+feet) from the puppy and then slowly come closer as your puppy permits.  Using a positive training technique like clicker training can be very effective.

Enrolling in a good puppy class is also very important for their socialization and development.  Here’s a helpful link with more information on the importance of puppy socialization.

Whether you’re going to use our self service dog wash and do it yourself or use our professional dog and cat grooming professionals, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Most puppies, properly trained, come to realize that the grooming process is a special time, where they get your undivided attention, and get some social “family time” which is only a stronger bonding step. Have fun!

When your puppy is ready for professional dog grooming, we’d love to meet him/her!

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