Just like a kid getting their very first haircut, a dog’s first grooming session is quite a significant and memorable milestone in their life—and depending on how it goes, it can either be a positive memory or a negative and traumatic experience for your pet. Thankfully, there are things you can do to ensure that it’s more of the former than the latter. Trust us; your puppy—and even your groomer—will thank you for it.
Start obedience training early
While it’s always tempting to just pamper and spoil your puppy rotten, the truth is obedience training is one of the best ways to show your love for your dog. By doing this, not only do you allow your dog to develop the life skills and discipline they need to be a smart and healthy member of the family, but you also deepen the bond between you and your pet. You can start this by getting your dog used to wearing a collar and having you lead them with a leash. A quality martingale collar is best for training dogs at a young age.
Get them used to grooming at home
Along with obedience training, it’s also a good idea to get your pet used to all the things that can happen to them during a groomer visit. You can do this by grooming them at home regularly and thoroughly, whether by brushing their fur, cleaning and clipping their nails, or bathing them. In time, they’ll come to accept this as routine, even something to enjoy. This also desensitizes them to the various tools that a groomer would use. Don’t forget to reward them afterward with a treat or two, as this reinforces the idea that grooming is a good time and should be looked forward to.
Introduce them to their groomer by taking a preliminary visit
One of the reasons that dogs panic whenever they’re taken to the groomers is because they see it as a strange new place to be in. You can address this by taking your pet to the groomer a day or so before their appointment, allowing them to get familiar with the place and the person that’ll be grooming them in the future. This way, the experience won’t come as too much of a shock to them when the grooming actually happens.
Stay with your pet during the first few sessions
The worst thing you can do to your pet once the grooming has started is to leave them alone. Sure, they may already be familiar with the groomer, and they may have gotten comfortable with the place, but they’ll still want you to be around, especially if it’s their first few visits. By staying around, not only will your dog be visibly calmer during the entire grooming process, but you’ll also be able to pick up a few grooming tips from the groomer, too.
Reward them for good behavior
If your dog has behaved exceptionally well during the entire grooming process, don’t hesitate to reward them with premium treats that you usually save for best occasions. A new toy may even be warranted. Just make sure that your dog gets used to the idea that going to the groomer isn’t bad at all—it’s a great thing.
It’s important for a dog to get used to being groomed, and by extension being taken to a professional groomer, at a very young age. By taking appropriate steps, you not only help your dog become more cooperative and relaxed whenever someone has to handle them, but you also allow them to enjoy the experience. This way, your dog will become much healthier and happier.