Monday, July 14, 2014

On The Subject of Grooming (part two)

So, now you've got your groomer picked out and your puppy is home.  Now what?  Now it's time to start getting your puppy ready for it's first grooming experience.  The following is a list to help you get started.  Take the time to work on all of these exercises every day and never continue on to the next step until you know that your puppy is totally comfortable with your current step.  For example, don't start holding your pups individual toes if he's not comfortable with you handling his paw.  
  • Begin getting your puppy used to being brushed.  How? Show the puppy the brush, follow with a little (pea sized or smaller) treat. Gently touch the puppy with the brush, follow with treats.  Gently brush the puppy, follow with treats.  You get the idea.  If your puppy is more interested in playing with the brush, slowly feed him the treats while you are brushing or let him lick something such as a small amount of canned dog food, meat baby food or fat free cream cheese that has been smeared on a plate while you brush him.  If the puppy chooses to move away from the brush, let him.  Don't ever force your puppy (or dog) to stay there.  Just try again another time.
  • Get your puppy used to blow dryers.  Turn it on, give the puppy some treats.  Do this a few times throughout the days (yes, I mean dayS).  Once your puppy is comfortable around it, after making sure it is on a low, cool setting, you can briefly have the air blow on him.  Then, you guessed it, out come the treats.  Again, do a few sessions of this and always follow it with treats. 
  • Touch your puppies paws and individual toes.  And just like above, follow it with treats.  We have to get them used to having their toes held since they will be getting their nails clipped.  After they are comfortable with you holding their paws and individual toes, touch the nail clippers on a toenail, then treat, touch, treat.  Then clip the very tip of one toenail, YAY! follow with treats.  Clip another toenail the next day and ALWAYS follow with some yummy treats.
  • To get your puppy used to the bath, we first have to get them used to the bathroom and the bathtub.  Have them go into the bathroom and let them eat treats.  You can sprinkle them about the floor and let them "explore" the room while finding the tasty treats.  Place your puppy in the DRY tub and give him treats in there, then take him out.  In tub, treat, then out of the tub.  In, treat, out.  run water in the tub while the puppy is out of it and again, feed treats.  You have just added a new element to the whole experience and that can be a scary noise!
  • Place the puppy in the tub with just a little bit of water in it and treat.  If they're enjoying the water, let them play in it for a few minutes.  They can even have their very own rubber duck. :-)
  • Once they are comfortable, they are ready for their first bath.  Remember to go slow, be gentle and treat, treat treat.

Picture from Dogs Naturally Magazine Facebook page