If you are thinking of taking your puppy or dog to the groomer for the first time, there are some things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable. After all, there are quite a few sights, sounds, sensations and smells that he may never have encountered before and this can upset even the most easy going puppy or dog . And though he or she is not likely to complain about the style, we still don’t want them to have a “bad hair day.”
There are many things you can do in preparation for the big day.
From your dog’s point of view, it may seem that groomers are very pushy and rude. So the best approach is to handle them at home in ways to desensitize them to the pulling, holding, grabbing and brushing that they will experience while being groomed. The likely new sensations would include:
- Vibrating and noisy clippers, nail sanders, and blow dryers
- Brushing and plucking of hair and brushing of teeth
- Wet and slippery surfaces
All of these sensations can be introduced carefully and slowly at home. For instance, you can put your dog in the tub and using a plastic cup pour some warm water over his body. Try to avoid the eyes and ears. Vibrations can be introduced by placing your dog on the bed and placing the nail grinding tool or clippers at a distance on the bed. The vibrations will be transmitted through the mattress. Dispensing treats while doing this will help to make the process pleasurable. Brushing the coat in the direction it grows, as well as against the natural growth is important as the groomer will do both. Some breeds are plucked or hand stripped so tugging a bit on their coat is good practice. Pick up each paw and hold firmly and briefly. Play with his ears and run your finger gently around his gums while holding his muzzle as he will most likely have his teeth brushed while there.
It is often quite noisy, and exciting at the groomers. Even if you do not have clippers handy, you probably do have a blow dryer and he has probaby heard it at least at a distance. Try to desensitize him by getting closer to them with the dryer than you normally do. The sound of snapping scissors is very distinct and easy to introduce them to while at home. Without actually clipping any hair, you can introduce them to this sound by opening and closing them all around their bodies. Placing your hand over their muzzle and holding gently and briefly will also help to desensitize them. Drop the scissors on the floor , as this is likely to happen at the groomers as well. Running the faucet as hard as it will go while he is in the vicinity is helpful in accustoming them to that very distinctive sound. Placing your hand over his muzzle and holding gently and briefly will also help to desensitize them.
Placing your dog or puppy on a table may help them to become accustomed to the views from this height. If you have a Great Dane this may not be possible, but with a small dog you may be able to find a table to practice this with. Keep hold of them at all times. If you can find a shiny table, all the better. Let him see you pick up and bring the following objects close to his body: scissors, blow dryers, brushes of varying sizes and shapes as well as materials, and combs. Many groomers will wear an apron to protect their clothes and hold some tools and implements. If you have something similar, you may want to wear it around the house at times.