Hi there, Hannah from PawSolution here! I am a proud graduate of Animal Arts Academy and have my grooming certification in C and B Class. My love of animals made me realize this is the perfect job for me. I get to interact with all sorts of furkids daily and as one pet owner to another, here are some tips to get your pup first started on grooming to make it a less scary and more enjoyable (or tolerable) experience for them!
1. Handling a puppy often will allow them to get used to a person's touch. The experience can even be made more enjoyable by rewarding them during the activity if they are more resistant initially.
2. When the puppy is comfortable with you, you can move on to touch their slightly more sensitive areas (e.g. paws, belly, face, tail etc.). However, don't exert force if they put up a resist. This just means they need a longer time to get used to you first. Not all dogs are human-touch motivated!
3. When they are first introduced to bath time, use warm water to allow them to be more comfortable. A cold bath is as shocking for a dog as it is for a human. Instead of using a shower head immediately, use a pail and scoop to gently pour the warm water on their body. The sound from the shower head, or even the sight of a shower head can scare little puppies. Rewarding them when bath time is over (praises and high-value treats would be greatly appreciated) allows them to associate bath time with something pleasant and reduce resistant the next round!
4. During the blow-drying process, ensure that the dryer is set to the lowest speed and heat setting. Some puppies are terrified of loud sounds so distract the puppy with his/her favorite treat and dry slowly. Owners can put puppy on lap during this process to keep them reassured. Using negative reinforcement will only condition the puppy to not like the activity and this will make grooming much harder in the future!
5. Puppies that are groomed frequently will get used to the equipment, process and groomer. A first groom is usually a basic groom just to get them introduced to the process and to be comfortable with the groomer! Using positive reinforcement and treats during this process helps them to associate the groomer as a positive and welcomed sight. A small tip for owners: Having a longer play session or even taking a walk before a groom will tire a puppy out before the grooming session and a tired pupper = less hyper pupper, making the grooming session go much easier!
I hope this few tips will help new pawrents in guiding their puppy's experience to be a positive one, for the first and future grooming sessions!