First Grooming: When is My Puppy Ready?

So you brought a new puppy into the family. Good for you! Now that you’ve spent a few weeks acclimating to the training, the gear, and the chaos you never knew you’d love so much, you might be thinking about how to best keep your pup clean and styled. Specifically, when to have him professionally groomed.

Most experts suggest waiting until a puppy is about 12 weeks old before his first professional grooming. But more importantly, he needs to be ready to be handled by the groomer, and this takes some training on your part. To help your puppy get used to being handled, start slowly with the following:
  • • Run your hands over your puppy's entire body. Handle his face, ears, nose and mouth; his legs and paws; and his stomach, tail and rear end.
  • • Watch him closely for reactions. If there are some areas that seem overly sensitive, don’t force it. You can try those spots again later.
  • • Reward your pup so he learns to enjoy the process. Keep the sessions short at first--just a few minutes at a time, a few times a day. As he gets more comfortable, you can spend longer amounts of time together.
Once your puppy seems at ease with being handled, introduce a brush or comb and repeat the process, getting him used to feeling these grooming tools on all areas of his body. In addition to preparation for professional grooming, this will also get him used to being brushed at home, which is an important part of his care. Finally, work with your puppy on standing still for nail trims by firmly holding his paw up in position for the clipper. It will feel awkward to him at first and he may try to pull away, but be firm and reward him with praise and treats.

Grooming Day!
When your puppy is ready for his first grooming appointment, it’s important that you and your groomer make it a positive experience. Dogs have very good memories and one bad encounter can set up years of difficulties.

For this reason, your puppy’s first appointment will cover the basics--shampoo, conditioning treatment, light nail trim and clipping around his face, feet and tail if needed--but the main focus will be on making him comfortable with the process. This is a good chance for you, too, to see if your groomer is a good fit. If she takes her time with your pup and walks him gently through each step, you know he’s in good hands.

Even with the best set up possible, some dogs just aren't comfortable going to the groomer’s. For these four-legged clients, an at-home grooming scenario can make things easier, as a mobile groomer can only take one dog at a time. As an added bonus, your dog is home the minute his grooming session is over. Canine Company mobile pet groomers receive consistently high ratings from our clients; we’d be happy to talk to you about our service to see if it’s a good fit for you and your pup.

Once you’ve prepped your puppy, figured out the best grooming scenario for him, and have logged a few positive experiences, he’ll be all set for a lifetime of grooming.

Sources: CC Blog Aug 2016 Teaching Your Puppy to Be Handled, CC Blog Aug 2016 Puppy Meets the Groomer