A dog's grooming career starts as soon as he or she is born. Moments after birth, momma licks and cleans her pups. This process stimulates their breathing and blood flow. Mom is also releasing hormones that produce a very calming effect. She continues licking and cleaning them as they get older. She is teaching her pups many things in the process. Most importantly, she is teaching them that being groomed is a very pleasurable experience! THAT is the impression you want to keep going for your baby.
How do I prepare my pup? What can I do at home? There a lot of things you can do to begin preparing for the grooms. Gently and lovingly rub its face and nose often. As well as rubbing and handling it’s feet gently and lovingly. These are two areas that seem to be a challenge for many dogs because they are not used to it. Do NOT play rough with your puppy. Don’t tease it by pulling on it’s feet or grabbing its cheeks and face. These activities make it difficult for your pet to know the difference between groom time and play time. It is very confusing to them and unfair to your puppy and your groomer. Grooming should always be a pleasant experience for your dog. This should be a time of connecting, bonding and continuing to build on the good memories of the time with mom.
Also, from the time you bring your baby home home, you should begin daily brushing and/or combing; at least twice a day. Our staff would be hapy to help guide you in choosing the correct brush and or comb for your dog's breed and coat, as well as recommend a mild shampoo you can use at home for those inevitable puppy messes.
Professional grooming should begin as soon as the pup has completed it's second set of puppy shots. This is usually at twelve (12) weeks of age. Coincidentally, this is the ideal time for the first groom. The first grooming visits are VERY important-they set the stage and are the building blocks upon which all future grooming experiences are built. Six (6) months old is TOO OLD for the very first professional grooming to take place! There are many developmental stages that a dog goes through in its first year of life, including fear stages. They need to learn that grooming is a pleasurable experience. It is important to start early and stay on a regular, consistent grooming schedule to ensure a lifetime of good groomings.
From the moment that first grooming begins, your puppy is learning. Extra care is taken to make the grooming as pleasurable as possible, knowing that future groomings depend on it. There is a lot of playing that goes on, all in a days work, of course: that;s part of making it fun for them. They are learning that the funny looking and sounding things (grooming tools, etc) are nothing to be afraid of. They are also beig taught how to sit or stand still when it is required: how to give us their paw and relax so we can clip their nails, and how good that massage in the tub feels! The motto is firm but gentle with generous helpings of patience and playfulness.
It takes several groomings for dogs to get to know what to expect and to build a relationship with their groomer. You should book the next grooming before you leave and keep your puppy on a regular schedule. Before you leave your first visit, be sure and ask your groomer how to properly care for the coat, proper bathing and brushing techniques for between visit care, what you can do at home to continue to foster positive grooming experiences, and how often grooming should take place.
You and your groomer are partners in the care of your fur baby. May you both embrace the journey as much as the destination!
*For the betterment of pet ownership and the grooming profession, author grants permission for sharing this article, provided proper credit is given to the author.
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