PUPPY GROOMING: WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO START?
The right time to start grooming your puppy is a more important question than you might think because grooming too soon can be just as bad as starting the process too late. The ideal time to begin puppy grooming has to wait until after it has been weaned from its mother, which in most cases is in the neighborhood of eight weeks or so.
It should also be after your new puppy has become acclimated with its new surroundings in your home, and with all family members as well. A good ballpark figure for when to start is at around 12 weeks, which accounts for weaning, adjusting to its new home, and readiness for new experiences.
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t overwhelm your puppy at that first grooming session because it will be very difficult to have your puppy stand still for an extended period of time. This will run counter to its natural instincts, which for many types of dogs includes being full of energy and enthusiasm, and not standing still for grooming.
The First Grooming Session
If nothing else, your first puppy grooming session should include a bath, and possibly blow drying, and even this is quite an accomplishment, because it calls for getting your puppy used to standing in a tub, relatively quietly. This should not take a great deal of time, so it will not put undue strain on your puppy to remain in place for too long.
If your puppy tolerates the bath and blow drying fairly well, you can add nail clipping to your grooming session. When it becomes fairly obvious that your puppy has grown used to grooming sessions, you can also attempt to do some hair trimming wherever it’s needed. Trimming fur from around the eyes is one of the places where it’s most needed, but that’s also one of the more difficult areas to get your puppy used to.
This of course, calls for considerable caution with your scissors, but once you have your puppy used to the sight, sound, and feel of scissors, you’ll be able to do whatever hair trimming is necessary. Not all puppies will take to the notion of standing quietly on a table or in a tub, so this along me take some getting used to, but it’s an essential part of the grooming process, so you have to stick with it.
A full haircut for your puppy will probably not be necessary for the first few sessions, so only fur trim should be attempted. By the time your puppy has become used to trimming, a full haircut will not be much of an extension.
Why Start Puppy Grooming Early?
It may seem that starting your puppy grooming at between 8 and 12 weeks is too early and that it might be better to do it later when it’s a little more mature and perhaps less energetic. In truth, however, it’s much more challenging to begin grooming with a puppy more than a few months old. In those first six months of its life, your puppy will have already developed particular fears and which can inhibit the process of grooming, and make it more difficult.
In many cases, puppies who have reached the age of six months or over are also much more aggressive and are much less tolerant to the kind of patience and restraint necessary throughout the grooming process. If puppies reach the age of six months without already having been exposed to bathing, brushing, blow drying, nail clipping, and haircutting, it will undoubtedly be a much more difficult process to get them used to. You can expect to spend a lot more time trying to get your puppy used to all the activities associated with proper grooming if you don’t initiate the process before the age of 12 weeks.
Puppies Grow Up Fast
Your dog begins maturing at around six months, which is another good reason why your puppy grooming should start well before that. Part of that transition involves having your puppy’s fur change over to an adult coat. It’s especially crucial during this period that you do thorough brushing and combing of your puppy’s coat, because if left unattended, it can become matted and tangled in with the emerging adult fur.
When that happens, grooming becomes much more difficult, and can be more uncomfortable for your pet. Some breeds of dogs do not naturally shed their juvenile fur, and that means it has to be vigorously brushed out during grooming sessions. If properly attended to, this will allow your pet’s adult coat to grow in naturally and smoothly, and result in a very healthy and attractive-looking coat.
By starting your puppy out with good grooming sessions at an early age, you can ensure that your pet will enjoy the experience much more, and will always look its best.