I actually get asked this questions quite a lot! You might be worried they’re too young or you’ve heard that their coat (hair) might not be ready for a haircut or your pups breeder has already given you an indication of what age they should be for their first groom.
Don’t fret, the answer is simple if you think about it.
You have this beautiful little creature looking up to you for guidance. Everything they learn from the moment you get them, will be taught by you. Whether you mean to or not. Since your puppy will need some form of grooming throughout their whole life, even if it’s just a nail trim performed at the vet clinic, they still need to learn to be comfortable. It’s quite upsetting to see a dog so absolutely terrified at something as miniscule as a nail trim.
“Something that is done frequently, is done easily and well.” – Lydia, Organix Dog Spa
Not sue if I made that quote up but I’ll take the credit for it. If your puppy chews your chair legs today, I can guarantee the next day they’ll be much better at it, and so on. When you have a young puppy or an adult dog that is not used to something, they need to do more of that thing in order to get better at dealing with it. Or in the case of the chair leg, they need to be discouraged before they get better at it.
As soon as your puppy is fully vaccinated (2 weeks after their final vaccination) they should see a groomer for an introductory groom. In my opinion, a puppies first groom should never be a full haircut and it should never push them past their comfort zone. There are things that need to be done that are scary for puppies and while they do need to get through those fears, they shouldn’t have to deal with them all at once.
Depending on the pup, an introductory groom could be a sanitary trim and tidy or just a bath and dry. It depends on what they are comfortable with and how quickly they are able to get over their fears. I have, on the odd occasion, completed a full haircut on a puppy so it really does just depend on your particular puppy.
It is crucial to your puppies development that they see a groomer frequently while they’re still young and learning. If you wait too long in between grooms they will have forgotten what’s expected – or worse, they may not have been able to get over their fears and their fearfulness has become worse. The latter has happened too many times and is really unnecessary. If you’ve found a groomer that is willing to work with your puppy, you should take them up on the offer and allow them to teach your puppy that grooming is great so that they are happy to be groomed. The last thing we want is a dog who hates grooming, right?
I hope you haven’t heard this one, but if you have, I’m terribly sorry for you and your puppy.
The myth goes “you should wait until your puppy is a year old before having their first groom because of [insert any stupid reason].”
This is a very dangerous statement. Why dangerous? Can you imagine a puppy that has never heard clippers or a drier before? A puppy that doesn’t know how to sit still while scissors are being used close to their eyes? This is a recipe for disaster! The more calm your puppy or dog is, the safer the groom and the better the result will be.
Bring your puppy to a groomer who is happy to work slowly through the grooming stages, as soon as it is safe to do so. Failure to allow your puppy to be desensitized to grooming may result in a terrified and/or stressed adult dog later in life. I know that sounds super dramatic, but it’s absolutely not.
I had noticed that my puppy clients were really chill for their first 2 visits and then suddenly hated the fact that their owners had left them alone with me when they were otherwise fine in the past. You need to give your puppy some alone time and some space even if you are home a lot. This can help them gain confidence and independence in situations that call for it such as, visiting the groomers or the vets – or really, for when you have to go to work. You don’t want your puppy crying for you all day.