Having your puppy groomed regularly is important for several reasons. It can be so beneficial to your “fur”ever friend’s health and happiness, so you need to get him to a professional salon ASAP! One little problem, though–so many pups hate being groomed.
You may never have taken your dog to a doggy day salon, or you took him only to find out that it was incredibly difficult to keep him calm. Whatever the situation is, you have to teach Spot to be comfortable with a groomer and the process itself. The less stress you can cause, the happier you and your pup will both be.
Trying to figure out how to get a dog to be relaxed while getting groomed by you or someone else can be exhausting and frustrating if you do not know where to go for guidance. Luckily for you, you have come to the right place!
Read on and you will have man’s best friend behaving like a perfect angel at the groomer’s (or puppy spa) in no time.
When to Take Your Puppy to the Groomer
If you want your pup to be relaxed while getting groomed, you need to take him as early as you can. Most professionals recommend starting when they are around ten to twelve weeks of age. Either way, you should probably start when your pup is comfortable with being handled by people in general!
How to Help Ease Your Pup into the Grooming Process
Chances are that your pup is far more comfortable with you than with anyone else if you are the primary owner. That being said, you should start by grooming him yourself. Here are a few tips on how to do that most effectively and in the most calming manner possible:
- Play with the puppy before starting the grooming routine! An energetic puppy will become frustrated if you try and make him sit still for long periods of time. If you tire him out beforehand, you will both have an easier time with brushing, ear cleaning, or nail clipping.
- Start with short sessions. Too much of one thing on the first try is too much. It will be overwhelming and it will discourage the puppy from wanting to get groomed again. Gradually ease into longer grooming periods.
- Give him treats for good behavior! Anything that you think will be scarier for your puppy to do (i.e. clipping his nail) should be balanced by giving him some reward. It works like positive reinforcement training.
Grooming in itself is a form of training if you think about it. You are commanding your dog to be still and trust you even through tough situations, which will come in handy in so many other areas of your life. For example, the “leave it” command will be similar.
- Most dogs have sensitive spots that they do not like to be touched by others. These areas include the paws, the nose, the ears, and the back legs. If you prepare him for the areas of grooming that require these uncomfortable touches by practicing doing so gently, he will eventually become accustomed to the sensations.
- Practice grooming frequently at home before you take your nervous little doggo to the professional groomers. The more he gets used to different sensations and processes like bathing, hair trimming, and brushing, the calmer he will be when someone else does it.
- Stay with your puppy his first few times at the groomers. If you are allowed to stay within his range of eyesight, do so as long as it’s okay with the professionals. Your face is reassuring and a positive that might make him less scared of all the new people.
For more information, visit this page on the PupBox site for puppy grooming.
How to Reward Your Puppy for a Job Well Done
There are a few different ways you can reward your best bud for behaving when being groomed or trying his best while in the process. All of them will help things go more smoothly and faster than it would if you just held him down and let him suffer through.
Give him a treat
This is the most obvious way to reward your puppy for good work; it is certainly the most used, and for a good reason. Dogs love treats! If yours does not, he’s the odd one out. It is, in most cases, unfailingly beneficial to training exercises.
For the best treats on the market, you should check out some these treats and chews. They come highly recommended by hundreds of other dog owners and will have your pup begging for more!
Use verbal encouragement
Both dogs and humans love getting verbal encouragement from others. It pushes us to keep going so we can keep feeling good and make everyone proud. Even though dogs can’t understand English, they take cues from your reaction that comes across just as strongly.
What your pup will pick up from your voice is the tone. If you make it sound positive, he will absolutely understand what you mean! That is why verbal affection is just as valid of a reward as a treat. Just be sure that you are consistent in what you say because it will trigger memories of past successes. Phrases like:
- Good dog!
Any of these will be perfect for these purposes.
Reward your pup with physical affection
Almost all animals love to be touched gently. Even stingrays enjoy being pet and caressed by humans in the right setting! Your puppy will be no exception. When he does something to be proud of or to be repeated, give him physical affection. This includes:
- Scratches behind the ears
- A pat on the head
- Belly rubs
- Petting on the back
If you follow these tips and reward your pup accordingly, getting groomed will become second nature! No more frantic splashing or barking–just sweet, silent bliss while you help him become his best self again.
Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.
And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!