Updated: 2 days ago
I get many calls from new puppy owners who are frequently surprised by how quickly the coat is growing on their new puppy. Many times the hair is growing into the puppy's eyes, he is skidding around on the floor, due to the long hair growing in between his paw pads, or poop is sticking to the long hair around his bottom.
Our policy is to introduce a puppy to grooming, as soon as he is fully vaccinated and the vet has cleared him to go outside (this is usually 2 weeks after their last injection) around 14-16 weeks.
If the puppy is a long coated, non-shedding breed he will need to be groomed, on average every 4-8 weeks (depending on his breed and coat type) for the rest of his life, therefore the more times he gets to experience grooming whilst he is still small, the less frightened he will be.
Grooming will become part of his routine, the groomer and the salon become very familiar to him. When he is dropped off at the salon, he knows exactly what will happen, as the groomer does the same thing, in the same order, every time. He expects his treat when grooming is done and then Mum or Dad will come and collect him. When he gets home, he will get lots of cuddles and attention with his new haircut, because he smells great!
Many owners make the mistake of waiting until their puppy is 6 or 9 months old before their first grooming appointment and by that time the puppy can be quite frightened of such a big, new experience with so many sounds and handling that he has never encountered before, he may have some knots or mats by this time, which may make grooming uncomfortable and it will make his first groom a much longer process.
Ideally his first experience with grooming will be before he is ready for a full haircut - he will be introduced to -
-the salon environment
- the bath
- the dryer
- standing on the table
- being fully brushed and combed
- having his ears and eyes cleaned
- hair clipped from around his feet and sanitary area
- hair trimmed around his eyes and his feet
- having his nails trimmed
- the sound of the clippers and dryer
As you can see, this is quite a lot for a baby, depending on your puppy's temperament, some may find it scary, some wriggle like crazy, as they don't want to sit still for a minute and just want to play, and others just fall asleep!
Sometimes the first groom may not be the best, the puppy may be wriggly or scared and at this stage, it is important to be guided by what the puppy is comfortable with. It is pointless to force a puppy to do something that terrifies him, just to finish the groom, as he will then probably hate being groomed for the rest of his life. It is much better to be patient.
The goal is that the puppy gets a good experience, rather than a perfect groom. It is much more pleasant for both the groomer and the dog, to groom a happy and relaxed dog, so that is the longer term goal we are working towards. The benefits of the extra time spent with a puppy initially, are obtained in all the subsequent grooms and the chances are, that is not going to happen after the first groom, the second and the third groom are when things start to become a familiar routine to your puppy.