When should I start getting my puppy groomed?
This is a very common question I get in the salon and most people think that getting their dog in for their first groom at 6 months is the right age. In most cases i find that owners don’t want to get their puppy groomed before the first 6 months of age because they don’t want them cut short. In my opinion and from experience as working as a groomer, the younger you start your puppy going to the grooming salon the better! I typically like to start puppies coming into the salon from 14 weeks of age or after their second vaccinations. They dont need to be having a “full groom” or “hair cut” at this stage, but they do need to be getting used to the bath, blow dryers, scissors and the sound and feeling of the clippers. Often I will start with a bath and blow dry then move up to a face, feet and sanitary tidy. By the time they are ready for a full groom they already know what to to and can feel calm and confident in the grooming process.
Grooming from 14 weeks or after second vaccinations
Get them used to the sounds of dryer and the clippers
Building a positive relationship with your groomer so that your puppy feels comfortable with them
Getting into a routine so that grooming doesn’t become a scary experience but apart of their usual routine
Having a grooming schedule will ensure that you find a routine that works for you and your dog and also helps achieve a style that is achievable and that you are happy with
Regular brushing is very important for maintaining a healthy coat that is matt free
It is important to start brushing your puppy as soon as you bring them home. Get them used to you touching and handling them whilst brushing, putting your fingers between their toes and in their ears. It sounds a bit weird but your training them to be handled when it come’s to trimming their toe nail or plucking their ears. Below are some equipment you will need:
A good quality soft slicker brush ( the type without the pins on the ends) will be your best friend when it comes to keeping the coat soft and matt free. A metal comb which you can run through the coat after brushing, will find any knot or snag that was missed by the slicker brush and a de-matting comb will seperate any difficulty knots, making it easier to brush out.
What is Puppy Coat?
Puppy coat is the first coat your dog will eventually grow out of and into their “adult coat. This usually starts to happen from 4 - 6 months. during this change your pup may start to change colour, go from a straight to a curly coat or even completely change texture. It will also be a time when the coat will start to shed but depends widely with the breed of dog.
Usually by the time they are due for a hair cut is when the puppy coat is starting to grow out. Puppy coat is a much easier coat to maintain, its allot softer, easier to brush and dries quickly when it gets wet. I find that once dogs have developed their adult coat it can become harder to maintain and keep the knots out without regular grooming or brushing (depending on the breed).
I don’t want my dog cut too short!
Most clients don’t want their puppies cut too short and a good groomer should guide you into the right length for your dog at its life stage, age and health. I usually start off with a 19mm on a pet puppy clip and hand scissor the legs, keeping a long teddy bear like look. I don’t recommend shaving the coat too short at such an early age (unless the coat is so matted there is no other choice), as it can change the coat texture, colour and can sometimes feel very uncomfortable for the puppy. They need to to adjust to the feeling of the clippers and going too short is an abrupt way of teaching that lesson too quickly.
Sometimes your puppy might scratch allot or drag their bottoms on the carpet, or even come up in a slight red rash. This is all pretty normal as some dogs skin are more sensitive than others and need time for their skin to adjust and get used to some areas being clipped short, such as between the eyes, paws and sanitary areas. Often your groomer will use a longer blade next time until their skin adjusts.
The best part about getting your dog groomed is that it is not only good for your dog in keeping them healthy, but also fun in that you get to choose a style that you are going to love and fits in with your dogs, or perhaps your own personality. Some people keep there dogs in a short clip because thats what suits there lifestyle because they are always at the beach, or playing in the dirt or its just practical for adventures with the family. Others like mow-hawks, teddy bear style clips, asian inspired clips or even a splash of colour with their hair cut. Whatever you choose there is a different name for everything, so i encourage everyone to take a photo of something you like or even go onto the groomers website, instagram and pick out a style that you like. Then us groomers can get an idea of what you want and work out a grooming schedule for the type of style you would like to achieve.