When Should I Bring My Puppy in for Their First Groom?

Being the carer of a puppy is a seriously rewarding adventure, hard work included!
Even if you’ve had many other dogs prior to your new puppy, the level of information we have now is huge and trying to decipher it all is one of the hardest parts of caring for pup.

There’s vaccination schedules, toilet training, walking, training, clothing, food, socialisation and of course, my speciality, grooming.

I don’t know about you guys, but my childhood dog was treated completely different from my dog now. He was given leftovers, rarely vaccinated, had 1 dog bed and wasn’t allowed on the couch, he would take us for a walk and no tricks. It didn’t mean we loved him any less, things were just different.
Even though my dog is 9 years old now, I still find new bits of information and I try lots of new things with him because you never know what they may like better, find more fun or find more delicious! 😛

My Breeder Taught me Everything I Need to Know!
Reputable breeders are keeping our purebred pups legacies alive, and that’s great! I’m an “Adopt Don’t Shop” advocate myself, and you’ll be surprised how many purebred dogs end up in shelters, but I still do think it’s great if you’ve gone through the right channels to get the right family member for your household.
In saying that, I don’t believe the breeder is always right. There have been times where a breeders recommendation falls way too short of what I would call ‘The Correct Level & Type of Pet Care’. And that’s in relation to dietary requirements, training, medical and grooming requirements. 

The biggest issue I’ve come across is with new puppy parents being told not to have their puppies groomed until 6 months or 1 year so as to not ruin their ‘Puppy Coat’. Super – Super Untrue! This is the fastest way to a matted, uncomfortable puppy.

-Lydia, Organix Dog Spa

A Puppy Coat is what your puppy will currently look like up until about a year old. Usually characterised by thin wispy hairs. This coat will eventually be shed and will possibly include a colour and texture change. If you prefer your pups current colour and coat texture – I’m sorry but you’re probably going to lose it regardless of any grooming.*
All breeds are different and all breeds are unique but it is absolutely not okay to avoid grooming your dog for a whole year!

Dog’s need to have their nail length checked at least once a month. Depending on how active they are and the flooring in their environment they may need a nail trim for or less often.

– Lydia, Organix Dog Spa

Time for Their First Groom!
YOU should be your puppies first ever groomer. Doing a little bit of brushing and handling of their legs is an excellent way to introduce your puppy to grooming. Start off by giving them a wash in the sink or bath – make it fairly quickly though, you probably won’t wash them very well the first few times but the key is to allow them to enjoy it. Dogs require 50 – 100 repetitions before a behaviour is learnt. They cannot learn to accept and feel comfortable with all the tools, sounds, sights and smells of a grooming salon in 1 session. Repetition is the key.

When I talk about grooming at home, I’m referring to washing and brushing. You can leave nail clipping, body clipping and ear cleaning for your groomer BUT it’s so helpful for you to still manipulate those areas until your dog feels comfortable. Follow these steps before you actually go into the groomers.

In Answer to our Question
You should be grooming your puppy for a few minutes every day to every other day so they get to feel really comfortable with it – your groomer can’t do it alone. And honestly, they don’t want your gorgeous little puppy to hate them. 🙁

They should visit an actual grooming salon as soon as they’ve had all of their vaccinations and have been cleared by their vet to start roaming the world! This first visit is really important and should be fun! 😀

Perhaps no grooming takes place the first time. Perhaps it’s just a wander around and a brush. The next time they might get a bath and towel dry, then they’re dried with a drier and eventually they will be happy to be at the groomers and feel comfortable being clipped. Their level of tolerance and comfortability will vary so it may take 3 visits or it may take 6 before they are able to receive a full groom. However long it takes – take your time and let your puppy take their time.

There is absolutely no point and no way I will ever rush a puppies groom! They are in control of when enough is enough and I find that works best with most. Getting to have a few breaks from listening here and there and some play time too.

– Lydia, Organix Dog Spa

The frequency of their visits can be lessened once they’re comfortable with everything. There’s no such thing as going to see the groomers too often – remember they don’t need to be washed or clipped, it could be a visit.
I recommend puppies visit fortnightly and then move to monthly. Every groomer works differently, remember to speak to a few different groomers to determine which you’d like to work with your puppy and stick to their routine. I was once asked to groom a puppy who had already been groomed a few times before and was used to a really speedy groom. I am personally not a quick groomer and the puppy grew bored of me and began wriggling everywhere! Safe to say they’ve found a more suitable groomer and that’s totally fine 😛 

 *This really only applies for long-haired breeds and your dogs coat colour and texture isn’t necessarily going to change at all. It could stay exactly the same. The point is that you can’t prevent these changes – if they’re going to happen they’re going to happen. It’s genetics.
Side Note: You should avoid shaving with Double Coated breeds but you should always brush them.