If you’ve had a dog in the past that was terrified of the groomers then you know how important it is to ensure that it is a relaxing, enjoyable experience for them. This is even truer with dogs that need regular grooming such as doodles.
We see dogs at Dogtown that are scrambling for the door, shaking uncontrollably at drop off or will not allow us anywhere near them with a clipper. Oftentimes this behavior stems from early bad experiences with grooming. Doesn’t necessarily mean a previous groomer was unkind, it could have just been an overwhelming experience for them at a young age.
Louise Kerr of thesprucepets.com writes in her article, “How To Prepare Puppies for Grooming” that gentle handling as puppies is key. When introducing puppies to professional grooming services the idea is to go often and have the sessions be brief. Our process at Dogtown is to start puppies before they are 20 weeks old. The first grooming session would be just a gentle wash, towel dry and very light brushing. The second session should be booked with the same groomer and in two weeks. This second session would consist of introducing the blow-dryer and based on their level of comfort, other tools. Sessions should continue every 2 weeks and with gentle progressions.
The website topdogtips.com writes “You’ll need to take things very slowly when learning how to train a dog to enjoy grooming. Over stimulating a dog is what usually causes that stress and anxiety in dogs during grooming in the first place.” We understand that parents want a certain look for their long haired puppies however subjecting them to a full groom at a very young age can create life long lasting fear of grooming. This is a critical first step to dogs forming a healthy relationship with grooming.
What are the 3 key ways to ensure your puppy grows up to love grooming?
- Take it slow. Gentle introductions into baths, drying and nail trims.
- Do it often. Don’t let more than 2 weeks lapse between grooms.
- Don’t overstimulate. Look to your pup for cues that they’re stressed and back away if they are uncomfortable. Try again in another session.
If you have a dog that requires frequent grooming you want to make sure it’s something they feel comfortable with. Taking the right steps early on are critical to success.
Pro tip: Positive reinforcement techniques like treats and praise in conjunction with gentle introductions make for a great overall experience.