It is important to get your dog used to the grooming process at an early age. Whether you have a little puppy who will remain a small to medium adult dog, or a puppy that is going to grow into a large companion, the sooner you get them used to being touched and handled, the more comfortable they will be in a grooming setting. The first few grooming experiences can be trying for our furry friends. Before taking your puppy to the groomers, there are a couple things you can do to help make it as easy on them as possible.
Be sure to brush your puppy’s hair often. There is never a “too soon” when it comes to brushing your puppy. Even if your puppy doesn’t have a long coat yet, by using a soft brush and gentle strokes, you will start getting your puppy used to the sensation of being brushed. This will not only help calm them when at the groomers, but it is a good way to keep ahead of shedding or matting. When getting ready to brush your pup, make sure you choose the proper brush for the type of hair your dog has. Start from the back of the head and brush your way down the back to the butt. Always go with the grain of the hair and do not brush against the hair’s natural growth. Go very slow and soft, getting your puppy used to being combed all over his or her body. This may feel weird to your dog at first, but in the long run it will make for a very happy grooming experience.
In addition to getting your puppy used to being brushed, you should also start getting him used to having his paws cared for. Touch and examine your puppy’s paws as much as you can. This will help prepare the pet and the owner for what they dread most about the grooming process: nail trimming! When touching the paws, make sure it’s a fun and positive experience by massaging the paw pads and spreading the toes. These massages will make your pet more comfortable with their paws being handled, therefore when they are at the groomers, they won’t jerk their paws away as much or (heaven forbid) bite! This type of paw massage is also a good way to check for mats or shrub between the toes.
Always remember, the ultimate goal of all of these exercises is to help your puppy to adjust to the sensations of these activities so he can be calm while being handled on his first trip to the groomers!