When to start?
Puppies should be introduced to grooming at a young age. Many breeders of dogs with high maintenance grooming requirements (such as poodles) may start with some basic work before they leave their mothers and move to their new homes.
Lessons learnt by dogs in their first weeks will stay with them throughout their lives. A crucial period of learning is between 12 and 16 weeks when positive experiences can set them up for life and negative experiences can turn into lifelong fears and anxieties.
With this information in mind a first visit to the groomers as soon as possible after the vaccination period can start to build a dog who becomes comfortable and confident whilst being groomed.
The first visit
Paw’s Mucky Pups offers short puppy intorduction sessions. These will last around 15 - 20 minutes. The session will include play, exposure to noises/smells/equipment/handling linked to positive reinforcement. The visit will create a good association for the puppy between a visit to the salon, meeting the groomer (Karen) and lots of new experiences.
These sessions are offered free of charge.
Follow up sessions
These are built up slowly with a follow up visit perhaps being just for a bath, or maybe a paw and face trim. Ideally the puppy will only stay for the maximum of an hour which will include some play time.
If you have an older dog who comes to be groomed regularly and is quite happy with grooming, then arranging to bring the puppy to the salon at the same time is a great idea. They can lay on the bed with toys and stuffed Kongs whilst the other dog is being groomed and this sets them up well for their first groom.
Please bare in mind that some puppies may need to build up to a full groom more slowly than others - causing too much anxiety at this vital stage of their lives can be very detrimental. I am happy to advise you at all stages.