When it comes to grooming advice the internet is FULL of tips on how to groom your dog. Some of them are good, some not so good, and some are just shocking!
My point of view…
Because of this, I decided to share my point of view on the subject. Over 20 years in the dog grooming industry has brought me across all sorts of puppies and youngsters, and all sorts of behaviour… from falling asleep on a grooming table to a hysterical bunch of fluff that I couldn’t even touch. But why is that? Genetics or environment? Who’s responsible? The breeder or the owner?
Like everything else, it’s not black and white but let’s try to keep it simple.
You find a breed you like, you then find a breeder and eventually a puppy. How exciting is that? A little fluff ball (or a totally smooth little munchkin) running around and ruling your life from day one. Right from the beginning though we should start bringing some sort of structure into our puppy’s life. Feeding time, playtime, bedtime, walkies… and grooming should be a part of the structure as well.
Before you get your puppy…
Once you’ve found the breed you like and you’ve done your research, you should also find out what is required when it comes to grooming. What brushes and comb do you need? How often should you take your pup to a groomer and when to start etc?
Even though the internet is an excellent source of advice and knowledge, you can get some outrageous tips when it comes to grooming, especially when it comes to crossbreeds like Cockapoos, Cavachons, Cavapoos, and many others. So very often they are sold as hypoallergenic and low maintenance and it says they don’t need as much grooming as a poodle. Really? Good marketing move, isn’t it?
This doesn’t only happen when it comes to crossbreeds though. There have been many times that I’ve heard from a new Welsh (Lakeland and Wire) puppy owner that their dog must be hand stripped because the breeder said not to do anything with his coat until he’s one year old. Again… Really?
Easier said than done…
Ok, back to that little fluff ball you’ve got at home. Let’s assume your breeder showed you what brush and comb to get, and how to use it, and then all you have to do is just do it… right?
This is easier said than done in many cases. Little puppies are wriggly, they have the attention span of a goldfish, and a moving brush is just calling at their little teeth to dig into it. This is usually the point where the owners will think that she doesn’t like it and will choose to rather attempt it tomorrow (by the way, she doesn’t like it tomorrow either) or choose to get a different brush or comb or put it off till Sunday… and another Sunday.
When it comes to brushing your puppy, consistency is key. You have to do it every day, especially if your puppy is really fluffy because I’m telling you, she will get even fluffier and wrigglier with age… unless you do something.
My puppy grooming tips:
- Put a non-slip mat or a towel on the top, and prepare your brush, comb, and treats, maybe even a bone to chew on, a Kong filled with peanut butter, or a Likimat with soft cheese on to make the experience as pleasurable as possible.
- Calming Floral Spray is very handy in these situations, it will keep both of you calmer.
- A few gentle strokes with a brush all over the body, followed by combing will do for the first few sessions. If the puppy behaves well, follow up with a yummy treat. Remember, we are creating a positive experience here.
- If the puppy is fidgeting or perhaps even trying to bite the brush or you, correct her, but don’t give up. If you give up and let go, that little brain will be thinking… aaahhh, if I jump around and bite the brush, she’ll let go and I may even get a treat… I’ll do it next time as well. WE DON’T WANT THAT. The whole process is very simple, but not always easy.
- Depending on what kind of dog you have at home, you’ll need different brushes, and combs and you can find out more about different types of coats here.
So when should I take my puppy to the dog groomer?
Again, common sense is needed when taking some of the advice found online. Just some examples are… don’t take your puppy to a groomer until she is 1 year old, don’t have it clipped, just do it at home, it’s easy, just grab some kitchen scissors. I didn’t make this up, I promise! I saw a video on YouTube of a Labradoodle owner, showing how to scissor a matted doodle with kitchen scissors. I’m sure my heart stopped when I was watching it! Why you may ask? Because it’s SO dangerous! Luckily the dog was brighter than the owner and didn’t move the whole time, bless his little heart 🙈.
Visit to a groomer… ASAP
When we’re selling puppies we recommend visiting the groomer ASAP after the second vaccination. Not much will be done at this age, but your puppy will get used to being handled by different people, get used to different noises like the clippers, hairdryer, and barking dogs, and will also learn it’s ok to be away from you for some time. If you’re too worried, spray your puppy and yourself with Calming Floral Spray just before the visit. Even inhaling Comfort Blend will help you with separation anxiety when leaving your puppy. It’s usually us who get more upset 💔.
Another puppy grooming tip…
There’s another thing you
can do at home to make future visits to dog groomers and even vets, more
enjoyable. Teach your puppy to tolerate different noises like a hairdryer and
clipper (you don’t have to clip your
dog, panic not 😂!) by borrowing your husband’s clippers, or nose hair trimmer, and gently
moving it around your pup’s head and body to get her used to it.
If you struggle I’m sure your dog groomer will happily help you and show you what tools to use and how to use them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and take professional advice over the internet 😊
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After all this, let’s not forget the importance of handling.
Stroke your puppy gently all around the body, not just the back and the belly. Gently stroke and pick up the legs, massage the paws, gently stroke the tail and ears, and don’t forget the teeth. You can even use a command of‘ teeth’ and your pup will learn that you’re going to check her teeth, and eventually get used to cleaning them as well.
Lastly, remember, do not quit… your grown-up dog and your dog groomer will thank you… JUST HANG IN THERE!
❤️ Much love ❤️