By Shelley Williams
With Christmas just past, many of you may have a new puppy. As such, it is very important to go over some key points regarding your puppy’s grooming regime. His first experience—positive or negative—will remain with him forever.
A new puppy’s first groom is very important and should be a pleasant and pleasurable experience. You can help your puppy get used to the grooming procedures at home by teaching him the basics. Gently touch him all over every day; don’t forget his paws and toes. When your puppy is comfortable being handled, you are ready to begin brushing and combing. Puppies should be introduced to professional grooming when they are about 10 to 12-weeks-old or have had their second round of vaccines. Most dogs will require grooming every four to eight weeks.
The first grooming appointment might be quite lengthy, as you want the puppy to feel comfortable and trust the groomer. With a gentle touch, he will learn that grooming is an enjoyable experience and not something to fear. What happens during your puppy’s groom? He will be thoroughly brushed to remove any knots or tangles. Next, the groomer might trim the nails, clean the ears and even brush your puppy’s teeth. Now it is time for a warm bath, where the puppy is shampooed and conditioned, followed by towel drying and a warm blow dryer to prevent any chills.
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Once your puppy is thoroughly dried, it is time for the groomer to start the haircut. This can be the most difficult task of all and I always recommend starting slowly for a puppy’s first haircut. Instead of doing an all-over haircut, have the groomer do a face trim, feet trim and sanitary cut. This allows the puppy to get used to the sights and sounds of a grooming salon without overwhelming him. You can then bring your puppy back in three to four weeks for a body trim.
You should also wait for the groomer to call you when your puppy is ready for pickup. If you show up too early or the puppy hears your voice, he might become overexcited and the groomer may not be able to complete his groom. Remember to always follow your groomer’s guidance and recommendations, as she is working closely with your pet and could notice things you may have missed.
Another important reminder is that groomers are not miracle workers; it is up to you to brush and comb in between grooming appointments to avoid matting. If you do not have time to brush your puppy at home, talk with your groomer about a shorter haircut for maintenance purposes or setting up brush-out appointments.