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Grooming from the Start

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Above is a picture of my little girl Flo.  She is now 8 years old and will happily stand or sit on the grooming table and thoroughly enjoys the pampering.

 

So you have your new puppy and as far as grooming goes, you really don't know where on earth to start.

 

GROOMING KIT - You should at least have:-

  • A Brush
  • A Comb
  • Nail Clippers
  • Flannel or suitable wipes for cleaning around eyes and face
  • Toothbrush or Plaque removing spray
  • Thornit Ear Powder to prevent and kill Mites​

 

IN ADDITION FOR SPECIALIST BREEDS:-

  • De-matting tools for longer, coated breeds
  • Moulting tools for thick coated Moulting breeds
  • Scissors for breeds that require regular tidying

 

I am here to help you should you need assistance for more difficult grooming requirements. Feel free to pick up the phone and ask for advice

 

First things first.  Let your puppy settle in for a few days and once you are into a little routine you can start to teach your puppy what grooming is all about

 

The first rule is a must!  Never try to groom your puppy on the floor, you should always always make a point of putting your puppy onto some sort of table.  I have schnauzers which require an awful lot of grooming and you can see from the picture that Flo is sat on a professional grooming table with a blue non slip base for her to stand on.  If you don't have a grooming table, then a garden table or kitchen table will do as long as it doesn't wobble and is nice and sturdy.  This teaches your puppy right from the start that it's grooming/inspection time and time to stand still, be good and enjoy the closeness with you.

 

You should also have a non slip mat of some sort on top of the table (grooming tables are already covered with non-slip material).  I would use a simple bath mat or two if you have a large breed.  This way your puppy won't slip about and feel unsafe on the grooming table as you don't want to put him off grooming before you even start. 

 

If you have a breed that requires regular trimming, clipping, scissoring and grooming then I would almost certainly invest in a strong grooming table that you can fold away when not in use and store neatly.

 

If you have a breed that does not really require a great deal of grooming but still requires a quick brush and check up, including nail trimming, inspection of paws and pads as well as ears, eyes etc, then you can probably manage with a table you already have at home.

 

I have had many people come to me for help with matted dogs because they have been told by their breeder that their puppy does not require grooming until they are 6 months old.  If your breeder tells you that you don't need to worry about grooming your puppy until he is much older - PLEASE COMPLETELY IGNORE THAT ADVICE!

 

Going back to your new puppy - so you now have a grooming table with a non slip mat on top of it.  Before you start the grooming process, lift your puppy onto the table and stroke and inspect every part of your dog.  Check the teeth, make a point of looking into ears, wipe the eyes, check the pads, part his nails and check between the toes, under the tail and gently lift all four legs as well as having hands on all over your pet's body.  You can add a grooming brush to the mix too, using it all over the body to get him used to the grooming tools in the first few weeks of his life.  Pay special attention to touching the toes and toe nails, looking into the mouth to inspect the teeth and make sure your puppy always allows you to do this.  The more you touch, inspect and groom your dog, the more normal it will become to him or her. 

 

While you are doing all of this, praise and talk to your puppy very calmly and the instant that he or she misbehaves, change your voice to a firm voice and hold your hands firmly on your puppy to steady him. Once he is steady and calm, return to softly praising and talking to him and carry on with exactly what you were doing before he started to misbehave. You must insist on good behaviour on the grooming table and it is down to you to make sure this is happening right from day one.  He must know right from the start that Mum or Dad are in charge of the grooming session and he is to let you handle him anywhere you want to.   Once he knows what is expected of him, this will continue right through his adult life and grooming will become a lovely part of his existence with you which he will really enjoy.   If you do not insist on good behaviour on the grooming table right from the baby stages, then you could have a real problem in adult life as it's not so easy trying to groom a fully grown dog who doesn't want to be groomed and grooming will become a total nightmare for you both. 

 

Not only will he learn very quickly that he must be good on the table, it will make grooming a wonderful bonding session for you both for the rest of his life. You must be firm and calm and insist that you are able to handle him all over at any time.  Not only does this mean you can check for any problems he may have, it will mean that your vet will also be able to, should he need any important inspections because of any possible health problems. 

 

This is so important to do for a few minutes every day, RIGHT FROM THE START!  This regular routine of being lifted onto the table and touched, stroked and inspected will help your puppy learn that this is part of everyday life and that you are able to touch your pet anywhere on their body without any problems.  It will become, almost straight away, a normal routine for both of you.

 

Once you are satisfied that your puppy knows what the grooming table is and is happy for you to inspect and handle him, you can then start using the relevant grooming tools required for your specific breed, all the while continuing to be firm but calm while you are dealing with  your dog on the grooming table.  Do not take any messing about, trust me on this,  a large adult dog on a grooming table can be a complete and utter nightmare if he doesn't want to be there!!!!! 

 

I see so many owners that can't even look into their dog's ears without a fight or struggle.  This is not acceptable and will ABSOLUTELY BE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure you put in the time and effort so that this is a normal part of your puppy's every day life, every single day, right from the start.

 

Your puppy is what you make him, so if he thinks that being handled and groomed just for a few minutes each day is part of what happens to him, he will learn to enjoy it rather than you both dreading it.  When  you have a well behaved adult dog, you will both look forward to that special time when you can easily groom your dog, chat to him or her and know that you are keeping your pet in the best possible healthy condition you can.  My dogs' will happily lay on their sides on the grooming table and drift off to sleep while I trim around their feet and between their toes!

 

It's so simple and only takes a few minutes of your time every day to achieve this.  If you are buying a breed that requires a lot of grooming and you don't have the time to give your new puppy to show him how things are done to make his life (and yours) a happy one, then you should seriously rethink and possibly not buy a puppy at all, or at the very least do not choose a breed that you know requires regular maintenance to the coat. You really need to invest your time so make sure you are able to do exactly that, it will make all the difference to your lives together.

 

SO REMEMBER

  • Choose a breed that you know you can manage and give the required time
  • Make sure you have a suitable grooming table
  • Ensure you have invested in the correct grooming tools for your breed
  • At least 5-10 minutes handling, inspection and grooming time every day, especially with young puppies
  • Be firm and insist on good behaviour right from the start
  • ENJOY!!!

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