Are you in a dilemma, puppy grooming proving difficult with your new boy or girl not so keen on the process? Let’s look at how to get started.
No doubt one of the reasons you sided with a poodle mix was for its coat. As such it is near the top of your responsibilities when caring for your new dog – you want a shiny coat and avoid the dreaded knots! So how to get started?
Ideally, your puppy will have been bred by a responsible breeder who has exposed them to as many environmental stimulants as possible. Most notably people and the puppies have been handled regularly.
When your puppy comes home it is very important that you continue to hold, stroke, and examine them regularly. This will normalize the experience and teach your puppy to enjoy being touched. Ideally, these interactions should take place with as many different people as possible. These encounters will help your dog to be relaxed and calm in situations such as veterinary examinations and trips to the groomers.
Even the happiest and most compliant puppy can acquire eel-like qualities though when it comes to its first grooming. New experiences and new objects heighten curiosity and senses. Don’t become frustrated and definitely don’t try and restrain your puppy to get the job done. Instead, be patient and try the gently, gently approach.
- Introduce your puppy to the brush. Personally, I would recommend a double-sided brush to start. Let them have a sniff, obviously be careful when they are interrogating that the harder pin side is not going to cause any injuries.
- Wear him/her out – Have a play with your dog (not too much) so they are tired and settle down. Shouldn’t be too hard – puppies sleep a lot!
- Sit down – you won’t have any problems getting your pup to come and site on your lap or lay down beside you.
- Stroke gently with your hand.
- Increase the pressure of your stroking slightly – open your fingers and run down the dog’s flanks. You may get a few turns of the head to check what you are doing but they will soon drop the head back down as the soothing stroking continues.
- When they are well settled introduce the bristle side of the brush and continue the stroking action. You may be able to do this with no reaction. If the dog turns then continue gently. If they react just see whether they will settle back down without a fuss. If they react and get agitated go back two steps. If they continue to be wary end the session and resume when you have your next opportunity.
- When happy with the softer side of the brush introduce the pin side, gently at first and then with a little more pressure. In any case, you should not be rough or exert too much pressure as this can irritate the skin. As the dog becomes happy with the use of the brush on its flanks you can then move to the legs (they really like the inside of the thigh being brushed) before progressing to the chest and finally the head and ears.
Within a few sessions, your puppy will become more accustomed to the grooming regime and will grow to accept and enjoy the time they have with you.
Within a couple of months, your puppy will have their first cut and the adult coat will start to replace the softer coat of its puppyhood.