When Should I Start Training My Puppy To Accept Grooming?
Find out the best time to begin grooming.
Most dogs need a lot of grooming; especially long-haired breeds like Bichon Frise, Maltipoo which is a Maltese and Poodle mix, Shih Tzu, and Terriers. But, puppies are not born with an innate sense of grooming behavior. You have to teach them just like you teach them to sit, stand, and stay.
Unless you train them for this experience, you will have a frustrating time trying to brush or bathe a moving target.
The basic idea behind preparing your dog for grooming is to convince them that a trip to a dog salon is going to be a pleasurable experience rather than an uncomfortable one. You teach them to cooperate, not resist.
How Young is Too Young for Puppy Grooming?
Some people believe that it’s better to wait until the puppy is at least six months old. But, that’s not entirely true. Especially when you talk about smaller breeds with long hair like grooming a Maltipoo dog.
It’s best to give the first grooming session anywhere between 12-15 weeks. Ideally, as soon as you’re done with vaccinating your furry friend. As for nail trimming, you can start at around 2 weeks.
The thing is, for most little dogs grooming can be an uncomfortable and scary experience. That's why it’s better to acclimate them when they're little. Common strategies deployed by experienced first-time groomers are -
- Fewer restraints
- Minor nail-trimming
- Smaller cuts
Steps for Training a Puppy for Grooming:
Teach Them to Stand on an Elevated Surface
Most grooming salons will make your dog stand on an elevated surface like a table or something. Since no homeowners allow pets on dining tables and kitchen counters, this can feel like an alienating experience.
It can also stress them out. It’s, therefore, good practice to occasionally lift them and place them on a sturdy elevated surface.
Encourage them to stay calm and when they do, reward them with a treat.
Get them Accustomed to being touched
It’s normal for puppies to pull back when someone touches their paws. This is something that’s going to happen a lot at the groomers when they have to clip nails. Make it a point to gently stroke their paws. This will send a message that this is another kind of petting and a way of showing affection.
It will also get them accustomed to being touched. It’s the perfect way to prep for their first visit to the salon.
The same thing applies to the ears. Dogs can be extremely sensitive to being touched on the ear. When the groomer has to reach difficult areas on the ear, it can feel a bit uncomfortable.
Try to occasionally massage your furry friend’s ears whenever you can. Get them comfortable with ear-playing and touching.
Practice Commands Like Sit, Stand, Down, Stay
One of the most challenging things in the world is making an impatient puppy standstill. Your puppy has no reason to stand purposely in just one place. That's your responsibility. You have to instill patience with commands like sit, stay, and stand.
Use the rewarding mechanism and give them a treat every time they successfully follow your command. This will reinforce positive behavior and they will also follow your command. It’s best if you get started with commands from an early age.
Get Them Habitual To the Sound of a Whirring/Trimmers
Grab the clippers from your bathroom and remove the blade. Now turn it on and bring it closer to your dog. If you don’t have clippers, you can always use an electric toothbrush. The goal is to make them comfortable with the whirring sound. Once you sense they’re okay with sound, bring the clipper closer and touch your puppy with it.
Reward your puppy if there's no resistance like pulling away or any other reaction. Continue to reinforce this behavior with praise, love, and treats. In no time, you will begin to touch your dog’s paws, face, legs, and feet with clippers and there will be no pulling away.
Ensure Regular Brushing
If you don’t brush regularly your dog could develop painful mats. Those mats can only be fixed at a salon. Often this experience is painful. You would not want to associate a visit to the groomers with pain. To prevent mats you must ensure regular brushing. Even once a day is enough. Pay special attention to problem areas like ankles, behind the ears, back of legs, and armpits.
As a responsible dog owner, you must not neglect your furry friend’s grooming needs. A well-groomed pet is a happy pet. He is also easier to cuddle, love, and play around with.