Saturday, April 23, 2011
Grooming Your Puppy
On the sidewalks and trails of the Cape, we're seeing lots of puppies - it's that time of year - and pleasant grooming experiences should play a role in every puppy's education.
For those breeds with high grooming requirements, introducing your puppy to grooming tools and techniques early and often is a must. You want your Poodle or Schnauzer to view grooming as pleasant and stress free because they'll spend a lot of time on a grooming table over the course of their lives; a bath and clip every four to six weeks is recommended, especially when they sport a longer coat. For short haired breeds visits to the groomer may be less frequent, but they'll still need to have their nails clipped and ears cleaned regularly and you want them to take these activities in stride. It's important to note that regular grooming gives you a good, close up look at your dog to ensure skin and coat are healthy and identify any lumps, cuts or other conditions that should be seen by a vet.
Here's our approach to getting your new "fur baby" started out on the right track:
• Gently brush often, taking care to make it something your puppy looks forward to by treating or praising
• Ask your puppy to give you each paw and wiggle her toes gently.
• If you have nail clippers and feel comfortable using them, quietly clip one or two nails at a time as needed
• Look inside your puppy's ears and softly pet them, inside and out
• Bathe your puppy with warm, but not hot, water and a gentle shampoo formulated for dogs (using a "tearless" shampoo on her face).
• Many dogs don't like standing in a bath. Try using a spray hose in a sink or bath, or take your pup into the shower with you; many seem to enjoy the company. Alternatively, use a dry shampoo.
• Get your puppy as dry as you possibly can with a towel - most dogs really enjoy this step - but also introduce a blow drier gradually on a low, warm setting. Our dog Grigri likes to sit on my lap while being blow dried.
• If you have a dog you expect to keep clipped, you can use an electric razor, beard trimmer or any kind of similar gear to get your puppy used to the noise and vibration of the motor. Don't actually clip, but turn the motor on and treat your puppy, then gently touch your puppy's back and legs, pretending to clip her, all while giving her treats and praise.
• Puppyhood is a great time to train your dog to stand still while having her nails filed with an electric tool, such as the Dremel Pet Nail Grooming Kit. Many people feel more comfortable filing nails than using a nail clipper, but dogs don't usually agree! They don't like the noise and vibration on their toes, which feels a little like having your teeth drilled at the dentist. If you can condition your puppy early you can keep her nails short and smooth easily.
If you follow these steps with a positive attitude, plenty of treats and praise and always followed by a happy play time, your puppy will take grooming as a matter of course and your investment will result in a stronger bond between you and your adult dog.
Note that all the above pertains to cats too. Contrary to conventional wisdom, cats don't really mind being bathed any more than dogs do and when they've been groomed all their lives, they are just as patient and calm.
Aussie Pet Mobile Cape Cod provides puppy and kitten grooms for a nominal charge ($10 and up depending upon services provided) to help you get your little one clean and prepare her gently for adult grooming sessions; we hand dry each dog or cat - no drying cages - and provide a one to one service right outside your door. A combination of your conditioning and professional puppy grooms is the best way to plan for a stress free life on the grooming table.