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With a new pup comes great responsibility. And one of the biggest responsibilities is taking care of your pup’s health and appearance through grooming sessions.
While grooming your dog yourself can be challenging, taking them to the groomers for the first time is every pet owner’s dilemma. If you have never had your dog groomed before, you understandably might not be sure what to expect.
Dogs begin to act up, get fussy, whiny, and aggressive when strangers start touching their faces or paws. Well, you can’t go on with the grooming without touching. Hence, you've got to prepare your pup like an athlete training for a competition. It can be really messy and chaotic if you don’t.
Our dogs' first-time grooming experience will set the stage for how they'll respond to being groomed for the rest of their lives. It’s important to make their time at the groomers as pleasant as possible.
Here are the things you should know before and after your puppy’s first trip to the dog groomers:
The younger the puppy is, the easier it is to train. It is best to wait until your pup is between 10 to 12 weeks old and can survive without their mother or after a few rounds of vaccinations before considering getting them groomed.
If you can, do victory visits. Visiting vet clinics or groomers can be scary for our dogs. By visiting, there won’t be any procedures to be done. You just have to let them sniff around and get acquainted with the environment.
These visits will help your dog link the place to something friendly and harmless.
Anything unfamiliar is scary, especially to dogs. Being so, you must familiarise them with everything before any grooming process. To prepare your pup for each process, introduce each tool and equipment with their favourite treat.
For instance, show the trimmer or nail clipper and place it in front of your pup. Allow them to sniff on it and give them a treat. In this way, they can link the tools with something good. You may want to repeat the process until they slowly get used to it.
As you notice your dog getting comfortable, slowly introduce them to the sound. As sound may be too overwhelming, it's best to start a little far first and constantly offer treats. When they seem to be not agitated by the sound anymore, gently move the tool closer and touch some parts of their body.
By now, your pup will get used to it completely. Repeat the steps with other tools the groomers might use.
As mentioned, dog groomings require a lot of touching and handling. Introducing new stimuli can frighten our dogs, and they might totally reject the idea of grooming. So, ensure they can tolerate someone touching their heads, paws, feet, ears, tails and backs without getting anxious.
You can run your hands up and down their legs, touch their ears, mouth and face, specifically near the eyes, brush their coat as often as you can, wiggle and massage their toenails, and softly hold their tails.
By regularly handling your dog and getting them used to the ways the groomers will touch them, they will become more comfortable. Associate gentle touching during your playtime or cuddles so they won't be cowering when the time comes.
Prior to your grooming session, it is recommended to take your dog for a walk. If they’re too energised during the process, it'll be difficult for your pup and the groomer. Exercise will help release some pent-up energy and let your dog remain calm and relaxed.
Pups can be easily distracted. One of the best ways to ensure they'll have the best experience with the groomers is to redirect their attention by giving them treats in the middle of the grooming session or bringing the toy they love.
By doing so, they can stay focused and be less frightened by the overwhelming sounds and strangers they might meet at the groomers. What are you waiting for? Fill your NALZO mama dog bag with all the good stuff to keep your pup's attention!
It's typically 6-8 weeks until their next grooming appointment. During that time, you should keep up with the grooming at home to maintain it. Brush or clip their hair with dog hair bows daily to prevent hair matting and shedding.
Also, clean their ears at least once a month or how often they might need it. Some breeds with long, large ears require a more frequent cleaning than usual.
Lastly, long nails can cause pain and medical issues to our dogs, so you must keep an eye on them between grooming appointments.
Following the tips listed above and choosing the right groomer, everything will be a great experience for your pup. Their first time won’t be anything traumatic, and they’ll surely want to come back.