Preparing your puppy
Bringing a new puppy home can be a mix of emotions, excitement, love, frustration. In these early interactions with your pup you are setting them up for a lifetime of companionship and fun. Training and food are very important, but for long coated dogs, grooming training is equally important. Most long coated dogs will be groomed every 6 weeks for the rest of their life. That’s 112 grooms in their lifetime! So here’s how we, as a team, can make their grooming time (in the salon and at home) as pleasant as possible for all involved.
Teamwork. Some may think that it is all up to the groomer when really, it's a team effort. If a pup is left with knots, or is never brushed, they will resent being groomed and may become a problem. Even aggressive! It’s up to you as an owner to give them many positive home experiences so when they come into the salon, they can really enjoy their spa day and relax. Don’t worry, we are here to give you plenty of tips and tricks to help.
My motto for puppies “If they don’t like it, do it often and make it fun!”
Many puppies will object to certain aspects of grooming. Not liking their legs brushed, not liking their hind area being touched, not liking tail, ears or feet being touched. These are all common complaints and, if you get them early, they are all fixable.
Puppy homework Here are some groom training exercises that I have found help greatly in de-sensitising your pup to some of the elements of being groomed. There will be others but these are the main exercises.
1) If you have an electric razor, use the opposite end (not the cutting end) and lightly go
over your pups entire body including undercarriage, feet (top and pads), ears, beard, neck
etc. Show them the razor first and let them sniff it before applying this technique. This helps to
de-sensitise them from the vibration and sound of the clippers. Give treats for good behaviour.
2) Constantly touch your pups feet. I'm talking fingers between toes from top and bottom.
Fingers between pads and most importantly, a gentle squeeze of each toenail (they can feel
this due to the nerve ending through the quick and this will help them with having their nails
trimmed). Try and plan this one for when they’re relaxed or watching TV with you at the end
of the day.
3) Start to practice gently holding the fur under pups chin (puppies will almost always object
to this one so it’s a gently gently approach). Go with him when he moves (never pull against him). Once he’s still, give him a treat. Groomers will gently hold this area for safely trimming faces on all breeds and its one of the hardest things for puppies to get used to. Just limited bursts for this exercise. Eventually pups head will sit on the groomers hand and be quite relaxed (as most adult dogs do). Treat when they are still.
4) Touch your pup all over. Play with their ears, tail, feet and reward your pup with a treat when they are still.
5) Line brushing technique. This is the easiest and most effective way of brushing to prevent knots. I recommend a plastic tipped slicker and a poodle comb to check you’ve got all the knots after brushing. We will show you this technique in person. Quick short strokes are much more comfortable for your pup. Most puppies need to be groomed 2 – 3 times per week to prevent knots. Long coats every day. If you like your puppy long, prepare to be best friends with your slicker brush and comb.
Establishing a good dental health routine I so important, especially for smaller dogs with little teeth that teeth cleaning treats cant reach. It’s important to check your dog’s teeth every month to watch out for areas of concern. There are many products on the market for teeth cleaning.
Advanced periodontal diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis have unhappy and painful symptoms like severe gum inflammation and the erosion of both hard and soft tissues surrounding your dog's teeth. If they're unusually head shy or having trouble chewing, those could be signs that your pup requires better oral care. Because gums are very vascular, it's possible for the bloodstream to transport micro-organisms to the dog's kidneys, liver and heart valves, causing severe systemic disease.
HOW TO BRUSH YOUR DOGS TEETH
Step 1: Start slow, be gentle and definitely have a preferred treat handy. Seeing as this is likely new territory for both pet and owner, you'll want to tread lightly, and any signs of aggression should be headed as a sign to back off. Levels of temperament and docility will factor in. Still, without restraining your pet, begin with some soft muzzle scratches and move your way into a lift lip (no brushing yet) that exposes the teeth for about 30 seconds. Toss in a treat as a reward for tolerating your fingers immediately.
Step 2: Repeat the process, but this time gently run your fingers over your dog's teeth for 20 to 30 seconds. Praise and payoff will go a long way in creating trust and making this a potentially enjoyable routine for both of you, so incorporate the reward into the action here. Try a little fish or beef juice (our whatever animal juice your dog likes best) right on your finger. Again, finish with that treat — and lots of love — so that this becomes something of a game.
Step 3: Introduce a dog toothpaste and toothbrush (although a clean nylon can serve here too) and just let your dog lick away — still no brushing. Important note: DO NOT use human toothpaste. Substances like fluoride which find their way into many toothpaste brands are toxic to animals.
Step 4: Brush away! Get each tooth for about 10 to 20 seconds on both sides, then make sure your dog gets another treat and plenty of celebratory praise after the whole ordeal. Repeat home dental care daily and it should become no different than going for a walk or throwing the ball around. If your animal isn't the type to sit still easily, try a maiden voyage into dental care after some serious outdoor play time or a lengthy walk has worn them down a bit. Your pup will thank you with fewer vet bills in the long run.