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Your puppy's first visit to a dog groomer should be pleasant one. Here are some things you can do to make his or her first visit easier on everyone:
Remember good grooming begins at home. Use a soft brush and comb and don't be surprised if the puppy wiggles around. Don’t stop, just slow your hand motions and when he stops settles down, praise him and take a break for a few minutes. If you still have problems after the first few sessions consult with a groomer or vet about handling techniques. If you bathe your puppy at home, be sure there are no knots in his coat before you begin. Knots will tighten as they dry making them even more difficult to remove. If you find knots that are too tough to remove gently with a brush or comb, contact your groomer. Do not use scissors to cut the knot out- a tight knot can actually pull your dog’s skin into the knot and you might cut him unintentionally. During these grooming sessions, gently handle the feet, toes, ears and tail areas. The puppy will learn to accept this handling and allow it from the groomer.
When the puppy has had its second set of shots or immunizations, you should consider making the first grooming appointment. (Many groomers will require your puppy to have had their shots before handling- remember they are concerned with your pet’s health as well as that of other customer’s pets.) The younger the grooming process begins, the easier it will be for everyone involved.
On the first visit the groomer may choose to only bathe, brush and trim the head and face, feet or rear of your puppy, along with cleaning his ears and trimming the toe nails. Many groomers may not do a full haircut at this time- this is because it can be too much for the pet to accept comfortably. You should expect your puppy to stay for about 3-4 hours his first visit. Your pet probably won't be worked on this whole time, but it does allow for services to be performed in phases and is long enough to familiarize him with the new surroundings. If your groomer attaches bows be sure to remove it 2 or 3 days after grooming to ensure that it doesn't become knotted in the hair. Bandanas should also be removed when the puppy is put in a crate or left alone for long periods of time.
Remember- that all pets (just like humans) are individuals and may deviate from these plans, but following these guidelines should go a long way towards your pet’s health and happiness.