A puppy’s initial experiences at a grooming salon can set the stage for how they respond to being groomed for the rest of their life, so its vital to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
What age to groom
A lot of people ask at what age they should they start grooming their puppy. A puppy’s first visit to the groomer can take place 2 weeks after their second set of puppy vaccinations. Younger puppies are easier to train so a good early experience at the groomer will help with longer term grooming, not just for the groomer but also for when you groom your dog at home.
If your puppy is nervous their first visit to the groomer can be a familiarisation visit and should not last more than 10-15 minutes. During this time an experienced groomer will get the puppy used to the noises and smells of the salon, give the puppy lots of cuddles and praise, introduce them to the staff and generally make their first visit an all-around fun experience. For more confident puppies a 1 hour visit can be scheduled to introduce them to the grooming experience during which they should have a soothing bath, and a gentle fluff dry and comb out. Depending on how they react they can also have their nails tipped, ears cleaned and introduced to teeth brushing. However if puppy seems done after the wash and blow dry then a follow up appointment for the nails, ear and teeth is recommended. During this visit the groomer should also get puppy used to the sound of the clipper but not clip their hair! More on that point later. If puppy has a few straggling hairs or needs a tidy around the eyes or private area than this should be neatened with a scissors.
It will take 2-3 sessions for the puppy to become fully comfortable with the grooming process. Your groomer will recommend a schedule based on breed, hair type, and activity levels. (For details on a grooming schedule for your breed of pooch check out our Grooming Schedule).
When to clip puppy’s hair
Dogs have 2 types of hair in their coats. Primary hair (also referred to as guard hairs) is the longer, coarser hair that protect a dogs skin from the elements. Secondary hair is the short fluffy undercoat that provides insulation and helps regulate body temperature. In addition to these 2 types of hair a dogs coats also varies in texture; depending on their breed a dog will either have a silky coat, smooth coat, wire coat, wool coat, or a double coat.
Clipping your puppy’s hair too soon is defined as cutting before the primary hairs have grown. Puppies are born with short soft fluffy hair, and sometimes it is lighter in colour than what it will be when the puppy moves into adulthood. Most breeds develop their coarser, longer coat by six to eight months of age. If a puppy’s hair is clipped too soon this could impact the quality of its primary hair and result in a problematic coat during adulthood. To avoid this it is important to wait for the puppy’s hair to move into adult stage before clipping.
Some inexperienced groomers are quick to clip a puppy without taking into consideration the dogs age or hair stage. Factors such as nutrition, genetics, sex, hormones, day length and temperature can also influence coat development. However as breeds and individuals have different rate of coat development it is important that a grooming schedule is agreed for each individual puppy.
Most dogs will need professional grooming at least 5-6 times per year for the rest of their life so a good initial experience will make them regard the groomers as a loving place and one they are happy to visit. pooch Dog Spa offers free familiarisation visits for puppy’s. Please call the Spa on 01252 216 100 to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions regarding your puppy’s grooming requirements.
Puppy’s First Groom introduces your puppy to the benefits of grooming and encourages them to relax in the grooming environment ready for future treatments. This 60-90 minute treatment is full of cuddles and for puppies between 3-6 months who have had all necessary vaccinations. The treatment includes gentle body brushing, aromatherapy ear cleansing, conditioning aromatherapy bath, gentle fluff dry, nail trim and file, introduction to teeth brushing and a Puppy’s first groom souvenir photograph.
- All breeds under 14 weeks £19
- Small breeds from £20
- Medium breeds from £25
- Large breeds from £29