Grooming A New Puppy: Tips For A Tail Wagging Experience

Merritt Milam | June 30, 2022

Over the last few years, there has been a boom in new puppy families. These furry friends kept a lot of people happy and comforted during months of stay and work-at-home periods. As these pets grow and require professional grooming care, it’s important to help them handle the new experience in a calm and controlled manner.

This month, we provide information to help reduce the anxiety that first grooming can create in your pet. Even if your pet is not a puppy, these tips can also provide mature pets with essential skills as well.

Hands-On Training

Most puppies are ready for grooming between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Getting them accustomed to having their paws, legs, and face handled by the groomer will allow for a smoother and safer experience.

Outside of the normal playtime with your pet, begin by touching their coat from head to toe. Gently lifting their paws and rubbing them helps desensitize and reduce their anxiety. Also, try massaging the pads and toes. This is important as they start having their nails trimmed. It is helpful to gently rub their head, ears, and neck. These areas may be threating to some pets if touched by a stranger. Getting them comfortable with this at an early age will reduce the chance of resisting and even biting your pet’s groomer. Including a small but tasty treat during these hands-on sessions will increase your puppy’s chances of success with their groomer.

Playtime Before Groom Time

Before your pet’s grooming appointment, start with 10-15 minutes of active play with your puppy. A tired pup will be a more compliant pup. Make sure to reward your furry friend with a few treats. Routines are a good thing and serve our pets well. Over time they will associate their grooming appointment with playful activity and rewards.

Baths and Nail Trims

Bathing a new puppy should start by rubbing a wet cloth over their coat. Trying to put them in a tub as a puppy may be more traumatic as a first bathing experience. By starting slowly, the pet parent can build trust and then introduce them to a shallow tub of lukewarm water and pet shampoo.

Usually, the most difficult part of grooming for pets and parents is trimming their nails. To close a trim and you can cut the quick…not close enough and their nails can still be too sharp, scratching skin and floors. Preparing a pet in advance of nail trims by touching and massaging the paws provides an opportunity to build trust and assurance. Pet parents should also let pets smell and see the clippers before using them. A few high-value treats will also provide a good reward as part of the nail clipping experience.

If you aren’t comfortable giving your pet the first bath and nail trim, call Wags and schedule a grooming appointment. Our professional groomers, Britta and Cameron, will help acclimate your pet to grooming care.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Aside from stimulating hair follicles and promoting healthy fur, brushing your pet daily will reduce matting, remove naturally shedding fur, and your pet will love how it feels. Even if they are a short-haired dog, regular brushing will improve their look and feel as well as insure positive future grooming experiences.

The Best Grooming is a Wags Grooming

Doing your part to get your new puppy (or even a mature pet) familiar with the grooming process is important. Then, when your pet is ready for their time with our professional groomers, the experience will be less stressful. Pets who have been exposed to the grooming environment and techniques as puppies will typically handle the process with little or no problems.

To schedule your pet’s “tail-wagging” grooming, call Wags at (205) 902-WAGS (9247). We’ll make sure they look and feel their best!