My passion for dog grooming
Hi Jude fans, let’s talk puppy grooming 🙂 Twelve years ago I began my journey in dog grooming. And from total novice to gaining some of the UK dog grooming industry’s highest qualifications, boy what a journey it’s been!
Around 2 years old our dearly departed Irish setters, Patrick and Ziggy began to show signs of considerable stress after visiting a dog groomers. From there on I decided to groom them myself and signed up for my first dog grooming course.
During training I began to see that many dogs find the grooming process stressful. Consequently, the groomers themselves (and this included novice me) became stressed by the lack of co-operation from the dog. The dog feeds off the groomer’s vibes and the groomer feeds off the dogs and it seemed a no win situation.
Calm, compassionate, largely restraint free dog grooming became my career focus and to this day is my overriding passion.
Top 5 Great Puppy Grooming Tips
For a dog that will require regular grooming throughout its lifetime, it’s essential to introduce the basics early, and in tandem with all other aspects of puppy socialisation and training. Here are our top 5 tips for getting started.
Tip 1 – Introducing puppy grooming handling
Before even considering the type of grooming your puppy will require, begin by introducing handling techniques.
Use a table high surface for puppy grooming sessions. Encourage calm, quiet behaviour and start to learn how your puppy’s body and limbs work.
Puppy bones are soft and easily damaged so closely support the puppy’s shoulders or hips. Slowly touch each leg, lifting and moving gently within a natural range of motion.
Touch ears, lift lips to see teeth and lightly touch the gums, lift the tail at its base and touch the puppy’s private areas. Above all else, regularly and calmly touch and feel your puppy’s feet.
Tip 2 – Essential health checking
And here’s one example of why calm feet touching is essential. During dry seasons grass seeds can enter between a dogs toes and regular checks will prevent abscesses and infections.
By gaining your puppy’s trust in all aspects of handling you will learn to identify what is normal and healthy for your puppy’s body. And hence, what is abnormal if it occurs.
Tip 3 – Tools not toys
It is so easy for feet touching to become a big game.
Wet muddy foot is grabbed to be rinsed or towelled. Puppy is surprised and tries to tug it away. Foot is grabbed again and human voice tones instigate excitement or fear or… You get the picture?
It’s the same with grooming tools. Once you begin to introduce a brush or a comb, do it with calm, gentle handling, repetition and soft reassurance, pausing with a gentle ‘Ah’ of displeasure if your puppy tries to make it a game.
Look out for our upcoming puppy grooming blogs on grooming tools and techniques for all coat types.
Tip 4 – Short puppy grooming sessions
Make your initial handling and puppy grooming sessions short and focused. Choose a quiet area away from distractions. Perhaps play some calming background music or diffuse some essential oils.
Don’t forget to use a raised table or surface (you can use a yoga mat for a soft grip.) Keep a hand on your dog at all times. Ensure calm grooming time is rewarded with play or treats, but only after the grooming session is complete and once back down on the floor!
Tip 5 – Professional puppy grooming
Many puppies will develop coats that require regular professional dog grooming and our advice is to start this as soon as your pup is safe to mingle at around 4 months.
However, please research and choose your professional dog groomer wisely as there is no regulation in the industry. Look for genuine reviews, Ofqual recognised professional qualifications and know ‘What to ask your groomer’ (Blog coming soon)
In the meantime check out The Groomers Spotlight to learn more.
Jude has now been with us for an amazing 4 whole weeks. We do lots of handling sessions and as the pup of a dog groomer, he already spends time with us at work, absorbing all the smells and noises.
We’ve not yet bathed him as he still has the most scrummy puppy odour, but I know I need to introduce some puppy grooming soon. We believe Jude’s beautiful rich, red, silk coat is going to be full and thickly feathered and will require regular grooming work to keep him healthy and happy. It’s highly important to us that Jude’s grooming will be a shared bonding pleasure and not the fearful experience that so many young dogs seem to have to endure.