Your new puppy’s coat is soft and shiny. But it will take routine grooming care to keep it that way.
Regular dog grooming is an important component of any dog’s health and welfare. And professional groomers say that it is never too soon to initiate your pet to grooming. "Even if there is only a fuzz of hair, the puppy should be introduced to the brush and comb," says Val Penstone, Director of Grooming for Best Friends Pet Resorts and Salons.
Teach your puppy to be handled
However, before you can expect your puppy to behave well for grooming, he must first learn to accept being handled on all parts of his body. Massage is a good way to train your puppy to be touched.
Professional groomers and trainers recommend beginning by stroking your pet’s favorite spots, such as her belly or ears. When she has relaxed into enjoying this, begin to massage other areas, including paws, hocks, tail and thighs. Be sure to praise your pet for lying quietly.
Once your puppy is comfortable with massage, you can introduce the brush. Penstone advises keeping initial grooming sessions short, but not to end a session just because the puppy squirms or yells. "Unfortunately, many owners stop at the first protest. You should continue, despite wiggles and squeaks, otherwise your puppy will learn that squealing and nipping will get him his own way. It’s important that you, the owner, decide when to end the grooming session."
It’s also important to remember that good grooming is more than just brushing. Care of the nails, eyes and ears should be part of the regular grooming routine. Even if early grooming sessions are brief, be sure to check your dog’s toes and pads, examine his teeth and gums, and lift his tail to check the anal area.
First visit to the salon
If you plan to utilize the services of a professional groomer, schedule your first visit as soon as the puppy’s vaccinations are completed. A quality grooming shop will ask for proof of vaccinations.
Ideally, try to schedule your puppy’s first visit for a time when the groomer is not heavily booked. That usually means mid-week and not just before a holiday. Remember that good groomers will have a loyal following of regular customers, so be prepared to book your appointment several weeks in advance.
Your pet’s initial session at the salon should be mainly concerned with acclimatization and conditioning. A good pet stylist will also spend time with you, the owner. He or she will ask about the puppy’s personality and what your grooming expectations are. A consultation will educate you as to what services need to be done and how often. The professional will also recommend the right tools and products for use at home.
Keeping up appearances
How often your pet needs to visit the professional groomer will depend, in part, upon how much you want to handle yourself at home. If there are tasks you can not or do not want to undertake yourself, however, it’s a good idea to schedule a regular appointment with your professional groomer.
Pet Grooming is a visible expression of your love for your pet. Starting early and establishing a lifelong routine will contribute to the future health and welfare of your puppy, so talk with a professional groomer about starting your puppy on a good grooming routine.
To find a qualified professional near your, contact the Best Friends at 888-FOR-PETS or go to the Our Center page of this website.