As a new puppy owner, there are some important steps you can take to ensure your puppy’s first grooming experience is a positive one.
Let us look at when you should take your puppies for their first visit and what steps you should take to prepare them for that first visit.
At What Age Should Your Pet Begin Visiting a Dog Grooming Salon?
We recommend that your puppy’s first grooming session should be when they are around eight weeks old. However, we do not recommend giving the puppy a haircut until they are at least six months old. During this span of time, we will focus on getting your puppy accustomed to the noises and commotion of the salon as well as introduce them to the bathing procedures.
Moving forward your dog’s grooming frequency will depend on the dog’s breed or your preference. Our team recommends a routine session every four to eight weeks. For more information about grooming frequency once your pup transitions to an adult dog, please reference this blog.
How Can You Prepare for Your Puppy’s First Visit?
Here are some tips you can use to set the stage for a positive first puppy grooming experience:
- Visit a Grooming Salon Near You. No appointment is necessary. Take this time to let your puppy smell around and get comfortable with the salon environment. Let your puppy meet your groomer so that they get to know each other. Your groomer will offer you additional recommendations on preparing your puppy for their first official groom. Make sure you give the puppy a little treat at the salon so that they start linking the positive experience to a reward. Some things to look for during this site visit are:
- Are employees friendly and knowledgeable?
- Do employees listen to your concerns and provide suggestions?
- Is the salon clean?
- Does the salon smell good?
- Is the business well-lit?
- Can you purchase healthy pet products?
- Daily Routine: These tasks should be done every day leading up to your first appointment. Be sure to offer rewards after the puppy completes these tasks. Your groomer will be handling your puppy in many ways during their appointment. Completing these simple tasks gets your puppy familiar with these steps thus reducing their anxiety.
- Play with their toenails. Wiggle and massage those nails. Make a game out of it.
- Gently hold your puppy’s tail. Get them used to the tail being held and encourage them to stand still while you do this.
- Handle their ears, nose, mouth, and face. Touch them near their eyes. Now is a good time to teach them peek-a-boo. They should be comfortable having their face touched. Give them a gentle massage. They will love it.
- Run your hands over your puppy. Especially up and down their legs. And under their bellies.
- Gently brush your puppy. Start at the head and work towards the rear. Body, legs, face, and underbelly. Encourage them to stand still while you do this. Ask your groomer during your first visit which type of brush you should use.
- Speak to them while performing the above steps. Tell them in a soft voice how good a boy or girl they are.
- Tabletop Work: It is a good idea to do the above steps on a sturdy table. This gets them used to being up in the air. They will be placed on a grooming table in the dog grooming salon. So, it is key to get them familiar with being off the ground.
- Car Rides: Get them comfortable getting in and out of a car. Now is a good time to start getting them used to command phrases like “get in the car” and “get out of the car.” Make a game out of it. They should enjoy having a car ride with you. This is a wonderful time to bond one on one with your puppy.
- Love and Patience: Through everything show them how much you care. Show them love and be patient. Some puppies pick up these tasks quickly. Others are slower. Do not get stressed if they do not pick up these tasks quickly. Just keep working at them and reward your puppy throughout the process.
- Give Your Puppy a Bath: You can help get your puppy accustomed to the grooming experience by bathing them at home first. Be sure to use warm water and provide reassurance. But be sure to use shampoo and conditioner that is designed specifically for dogs. Human shampoos and conditioners have a different PH balance that can be harmful to a dog’s skin and hair. Please see our blog on skin care for more information regarding which shampoos to use. Or ask your groomer during your first visit. Do not rush it. If they are not comfortable with the bath, then do not push it.
- Introduce Grooming Tools: Familiarize your puppy with dog grooming tools such as a slicker brush, rake, pin brush, bristle brush, comb, and nail clippers that are designed for dogs. This will help them become familiar with what to expect when they visit the salon and keep certain essential parts of the process from being a surprise for them. You should use these tools between grooming appointments to keep your puppy in tip-top shape.
Now it is time for that first appointment. There are a couple of important steps that we need to remember.
- Say goodbye to your pet by saying something like, “See you later, (NAME), goodbye.” Do not make the goodbye emotional. Part of this training should be done at home. Do not make the exit and entrance emotional when entering or leaving your house. Do not pet your puppy until they are calm both at home and at the grooming salon. We do not want to encourage bad behaviors such as jumping up on you. And puppies can get super excited and pee on you.
- Be specific with your groomer. Have pictures of specific haircuts you would like that you can show your groomer. Please note that we do not shave double-coated dogs. Some salons will. However, shaving a double-coated dog will ruin its “feathers.” Their feathers will never grow back. See our Let your groomer know which treats you use so that they can align their treats with your puppy’s dietary needs. Be sure to inform your groomer if your puppy is super sensitive in certain areas. This will help reduce the risk of being bitten and reduce the stress on your puppy.
Your Grooming Salon Near You in Northwestern Indiana
At Smoochie Pooch, we are ready to welcome your new puppy for a positive first grooming experience. Please stop by and introduce yourself and your puppy to one of our certified groomers. They love making new puppy friends. We can help start the process of getting your puppy ready for their grooming experience.
Connect with us to make an appointment at one of our convenient locations or arrange for mobile grooming.