Puppies & Grooming
What you need to know
Adding a puppy to your household is a fun and exciting time, but it can also get a bit messy. Puppies are notoriously curious and will leave you scratching your head wondering how they went from clean to filthy in 0.2 seconds. No matter the case, puppies of all shapes, sizes, colors, breeds, etc., need to become acclimated to the grooming process. Not only does it provide your puppy with essential hygiene "tune-ups" and maintenance, but it also provides time away from home to learn the in's and out's of this big new world.
Typically, most [new] puppy owners receive their puppies from 8 weeks and older. During this age, many puppies experience what is known as the "fear stage" and may encounter another fear stage later in adolescence. The fear stage can exhibit many different traits such as a sudden fear of people, objects, and noises, and may become reactive by displaying mild aggression, excessive barking, curiosity, and/or aloofness--even if they have once been familiarized with a situation.
During these delicate moments in a puppy's life, introducing them to new situations requires the puppy to do multiple things such as learning independence, gaining confidence, problem-solving, and becoming accustomed to different handling techniques. This type of socialization should remain positive and calm to encourage the puppy instead of validating any potential fears.
As a process that is going to be a life-long necessity, grooming is a great way to integrate proper hygiene routines, training, and socialization into one session. Groomers need to be able to engage your puppy during each session to train them proper and safe behaviors while being bathed, dried, and groomed in addition to building a trusting relationship that builds your puppy's confidence. Mannerisms that are taught go beyond obedience taught at home. Regardless of the type of tools we are using at any given time, we provide safe and teachable moments that create boundaries for your puppy. These teachable moments may include basic table manners such as sitting nicely for toenail trims, relaxing when trimming around their head, or even just posing for a cute photo!
At Paws Grooming Studio, we highly recommend starting your puppy out as soon as they are at minimum 8 weeks and have had their first round of vaccines. Most puppies respond extremely well to the early desensitizing our salon provides. We advise our new puppy owners to remain on a 4-6 week schedule (ideally, with one groomer) to keep a routine that eventually becomes a normal, relaxing, and enjoyable process for everyone! Like children, puppies need constant reminders and positive reinforcement to learn "good" behaviors while they're at home and away from their family. Our groomers will provide suggestions based on what your puppy will require to work on and how to maintain proper skin and coat health at home to create an all-around happy and healthy puppy.
Around 6-8 months of age most puppies that are medium to long-haired, regardless if they shed or not, will go through a period of which is known as a coat-change. During this time, puppies will shed their puppy coats which typically are downy to the touch. Additionally, coat color and texture change are seen around this age as well. This is around the time we see many puppies and their owners struggle to keep tangles and matting at bay due to the mixture of textures. If kept on a regular schedule, your groomer will be able to pinpoint spots for brushing at home and provide solutions prior to your puppy becoming painfully tangled.
Due to the climate in Michigan, we often find puppies and adult dogs go through multiple coat changes throughout the year. Double-coated breeds, such as Huskies, Pomeranians, and Shepherds, will shed throughout the year but experience a complete coat change periodically as the weather becomes hotter or cooler. Non-shedding breeds, such as Poodles, Schnauzers, Shih Tzus, Yorkies, etc., may not have a complete change of coat, but their hair-like fur also changes to help protect them and regulate ideal body temperatures.
By keeping up with maintenance in between coat changes, your puppy will thank you immensely! The tedious work that comes from procrastinating proper hygiene can become tiresome and may cause a negative association with grooming. We want your pet to enjoy the entire process from start to finish, so here are some helpful tips to get you started!
Some things you can do at home to help desensitize them in between their appointments are:
Brushing daily with a brush and a comb to prevent tangles and excessive shedding.
Massaging paws lightly or practice holding paws for gradual durations to simulate trimming toenails/paw hair.
Weekly or bi-weekly cleaning ears with cotton balls/rounds and ear solution provide clean and debris-free otic health.
Daily teeth brushing will stimulate gums and promote better overall oral health (Especially during teething periods, it can soothe sore mouths).
Providing a positive reward to your puppy for responding to "scary" and fearful situations in a non-aloof way. (i.e. curiosity and interest are different from barking and growling)
By providing experiences such as the ones listed above at home with their trusted people, puppies will learn that it is a normal process of daily life and won't become stressed in new and uncertain situations. The best way to do these desensitizing practices at home is when your puppy is relaxed after playing or right after eating as it allows the food in the gut to settle before playtime begins. These sessions don't have to be lengthy, in fact, puppies will benefit greatly from more frequent and shorter exposure times than long and less frequent sessions.
We love having the opportunity to be a part of your puppy's growth and style! We often see our puppies arriving and leaving happy, although sometimes leaving after an eventful appointment may lead to your puppy needing a well-deserved nap afterward. This is not uncommon by any means, as being pampered and praised can be exhausting!
Feel free to call our salon for any further questions or to book your appointment!