How to Best Prepare Your Puppy for their First Grooming Experience
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR PUPPY FOR GROOMING:
8 EASY STEPS
We want your puppy to love visiting the groomers so we've put together some tips and advice that you can follow to help that happen.
Everything you need to know to be fully prepared
At Doghouse, we want all of our dogs and customers to have a great grooming experience. The best way to achieve this, is to set up the foundations you need from the very start.
Your puppy’s mental health and wellbeing will always be our top priority, in return we ask you to help us do this by training them as best you can at home.
As soon as your puppy has had their immunisations and your vet has given them the thumbs up, we encourage you to bring them in for a puppy introduction with us. This can be as early as 12 weeks.
If you have not yet put your puppy on our waiting list please do so here. Ideally we would like to see your puppy regularly until they are ready for their first full groom.
We really recommend thoroughly reading this from start to finish and watching our videos to help guide you too. Bookmarking it or even printing it so you always have it handy will help too! This guide will set you up to be the best owners you can be from the very start. So grab a cup of tea and get reading...
Follow these steps
We don’t expect any puppy who walks through our doors to stand as still as a statue on the table on their first visit. But we do expect them to have a minimum of training before you bring them in. The following steps outline the factors that need to be considered in how to prepare your puppy before bringing them to our salon.
1. Daily Brushing
If your puppy doesn’t like you brushing them, it won’t like us brushing them. If your puppy bites your brush, they will also bite our brushes. By training them to be brushed, and rewarded for good behaviour during brushing, you can guarantee that we will be able to do our best when they visit us.
Please refer to the video below for lots of top tips and advice on the best way to brush your dog. You can even brush along with Claire and Pablo until you're comfortable doing it on your own!
2. Sit Command
The “sit” command is a must, as it helps us ground the puppy when they are getting a bit excited. This is also the position we will need them to take when trimming their face. Training them to sit from a young age using positive reinforcement with treats is a trick that you'll thank yourself for teaching them through puppyhood and well into adulthood!
3. Puppy Biting
Any work you can do at home on reducing puppy biting is also a must. The sooner you can teach them that this behaviour will not be tolerated and calm behaviour rewarded, the better. You can purchase lots of training treats on our website here to help with training!
4. Face Holding
The “face hold” is also highly important as it means that we are able to hold their face to brush and trim around their eyes with sharp scissors, without them moving. To teach them the “face hold”, start off by showing them you have a treat and asking them to sit. Then place your hand under their chin and hold the hair gently. After a couple of seconds of them staying still, reward them with a treat and/or praise. Then repeat this exercise until they will hold their face still for 30 seconds (or more!).
Once they are happy with you holding their chin, begin to stroke their face, between the eyes and above their head, and reward them for staying still. Once you can do this for 30 seconds, you can move onto brushing their face while holding their chin, and rewarding, increasing the time each time. Finally, while holding under their chin, either using a pen or the back of your comb, place the object (which is pretending to be our scissors) along their nose, on the corner of their eye and hold it there. Switching sides every 5/10 seconds. Building up to 30 seconds and rewarding for them for staying still.
We recommend working on this exercise a little each day and then using this technique when doing your daily brushing. You could also add a word command like “wait” to the action which will help ground them. Just make sure if you use a specific word command that you tell your groomer what it is and we can make a note of it.
5. Feet Holding
Most dogs hate their feet being touched. This makes grooming them quite difficult. If from the day you get your puppy you touch and brush their feet, and reward them for letting you do so, they will then have less or no issues with us trimming them.
Please refer to our video below on how to desensitise your dog to feet holding.
6. Home Bathing
If you are able to bathe your puppy at home then we would recommend doing so (making sure you are using a puppy shampoo that is available here as their skin is very sensitive).
This will mean it won’t be a huge shock to them when we wash them.
Getting them used to the sound of the hair dryer or vacuum cleaner is also very helpful as this will get them used to all the loud noises in the salon. You can pop treats on the floor and blow them with your hair drier which can turn a scary noise into a fun treat dispenser.
8. Separation Anxiety
Last but not least, you need to train your puppy to be alone or without you. A lot of puppy’s suffer from separation anxiety and this became more noticeable during the pandemic as owners have had less reason to leave their homes. Getting your puppy used to being left alone in a room or at home for short periods of time is crucial to them not being completely dependent on you. If they aren't used to being away from you as a puppy, this can cause issues when they are grown up.
You can leave them with a boredom buster toy to keep them entertained, or with a long lasting tasty treat. They might cry for a short while, but over time they will learn that you always come back, so they don’t need to worry. They will learn to entertain themselves and not miss you quite as much (if at all!) when you then drop them off at the salon.
Something important to keep in mind before bringing your puppy to any groomers is that any behaviour your puppy has with you, will probably be the same with your groomer. We don’t have any magic tricks we can use to make the puppy behave in our short sessions, so it is down to you to train them at home.
How often should I bring my puppy in for grooming?
The ideal pattern would be for them to come in every 4 weeks for a puppy introduction until they are mentally ready and their coats are in need of a full groom. This depends on the puppy’s coat condition, but usually takes place at about 6 months old.
Once they have had their first groom you will need to book them in every 6 to 8 weeks for a groom. The longer you would like to keep the coat, the more often they will need to come in for grooming.