Top Do\’s and Don\’ts of Your Puppy\’s First Trip to the Dog Groomer

Use These Puppy Grooming Tips to Improve Your Pet\’s Experience at the Groomers for Life

Taking your puppy to be groomed for the first time is a celebratory occasion. It\’s like your kid\’s first haircut, only your kids a little furrier and walks on four legs. The first experience your puppy has at the groomers sets the tone for how they feel about the grooming process for the rest of their life. You will want to make sure they are calm and enjoy the more indulgent sides of pet spa treatments.

The key is to acclimate your puppy. Many of the routines of puppy grooming can be done at home in an environment he\’s already accustomed with. A puppy who is familiar with the process is much easier to work with than a pup who\’s never had their paws touched. For a puppy, the dog grooming salon can be a scary place. Puppies  have never been on a grooming table, heard clippers, or a loud blow dryer.

A reputable groomer should take a loving approach! Here are some amazing tips to make your puppy\’s big day fun, not stressful.

Familiarize Your Puppy Early

We cannot stress this enough. Many times a puppy\’s first bath is their first trip to the dog groomers. Even if this is the case pet parents can introduce a few of the stimuli a puppy will experience.


DO handle your Pup\’s paws.

Puppies have an instinctual reaction to pull back when people first touch their paws. Initially, they don\’t like it. With some gentle coaxing and loving massaging of their paws eventually, puppies begin to see it as any other form of petting. This is important!

When your dog groomer attempts to clip a puppy\’s nails, it will be much easier for them to get through the process. Dogs needs to be still as possible in order for groomers to be able to clip the nail without hitting the quick—accidentally making a dog bleed. This can be very traumatic for a puppy. In many cases, a nail dremmel trims down the nail. This is loud. An experienced professional dog groomer will know when a puppy is too uncomfortable to proceed, but when a dog is already used to having their paws handled they are much more relaxed.

Nail clipping is vitally important for dogs. Overgrown nails lead to bad posture, infected ingrown nails, and a torqued spine.


DO handle their ears as puppies.

You will want to gain their trust with humans touching their ears. Another foreign experience for pups is having their ears cleaned. Puppies are still in the stage where the world is new to them. When a stranger goes in prodding around in their ear—they\’re entitled to feel uncomfortable.

So, massage your puppies ears when you first take him home. Make sure he knows the feeling of having his ears played with is comforting. The ear cleaning process will feel like any other Tuesday to your pup who\’s ready for his first puppy grooming.

Regular Brushing

DO brush your puppy often.

This is the first stage of grooming. Even if your puppy is a breed with a short coat, it is still important to brush their fur every day. Think of your dog\’s coat as your own hair. You brush your hair every day to maintain hair length. Combing stimulates the hair follicles and is good for healthy hair.

The same is even more true for your dog. Brushing not only feels good to your dog but it removes hair that is naturally shedding. This will keep your house clean too! Another danger of not brushing a dog regularly is matting. Mats are interlocked hair that develops into painful knots in a dog\’s coat. Dogs with thick coats are particularly susceptible to matting and need to be brushed often to eliminate mats from forming.

Love and Patience

A good groomer will most likely want to warm your puppy up to grooming with abbreviated sessions. They might first start out with a bath. The next time you come in, they\’ll give them a hair trimming. The idea is to expose the more intense parts of grooming to a puppy slowly. This maintains the puppy\’s confidence in the experience. Keeps things short and sweet!

A good groomer will also do their part in positive associates with  the grooming experience. They will use a gentle loving touch and speak softly to your puppy—making sure he feels secure.

What you can do beforehand is make sure your pup is plenty exercised before taking the trip. This will curb their anxiousness. Also, bring their favorite blanket and toys for the car ride. Even traveling in a car is foreign to puppies and you\’ll want to take your pup on a few drives without destinations to ensure riding in the car is enjoyable for them.

Give your puppy treats at each stage. When they get in the car and relax, treat time. When you arrive at the dog grooming salon, here\’s a treat. This keeps your puppy\’s association with the routine positive. This might seem excessive, but you\’ll thank yourself later when trips to the groomers are a cordial affair between you and your dog.

Think of visiting dog groomers as a bonding experience between you and your pup. You get to spend some one-on-one time with him. Grooming is essential for a healthy and happy puppy even if they don\’t know it yet.

DON\’T scold your pup if he\’s reluctant to get into the car. This only makes it worse by adding an element of negative reinforcement.

DO follow these methods with all trips, like going to the Veterinarian or dog training school.

When Are Puppies Ready for Grooming?

Part of starting early—getting puppies accustomed to grooming—is making sure their first visit happens promptly. Many parents make the mistake of waiting way too long before taking their pup in for grooming. Pet experts advise taking your pup in before reaching 16-weeks-old. Make sure they have their shots first!

As your puppy first figures out the world, they will ease their way into everything. During the first visit, you can always stay if you think it will ease his anxiousness. You can be a few steps away if your puppy needs you. However, be sure to model calm behavior for your puppy during the first visit if you choose to stay.

Chances are they\’ll be totally fine!

Research the Best Dog Grooming Shop

As a new pet parent, you will want to do your due diligence in finding an ideal place for your puppy grooming. This means research. It\’s almost the same as picking a school for your child. You will want to establish a good relationship with the groomers. Thankfully we live in the future and finding a trustworthy groomerie is a few internet searches away.

Ask your dog-owning friends, veterinarian, and your puppy\’s dog trainer first. This will give a hint of where to start. After you assembled some reputable names, check their reviews online. You can use Yelp, the Yellow Pages, or even the Better Business Bureau.

Look for customer testimonials and reviews that focus on the dog. When customers write reviews stating that their dog enjoyed the experience you can tell the groomers have loving hands at this particular shop.

Remember, you\’re putting your trust in someone handling your child. It breaks our hearts when we see headlines that account negligence and even abuse happening at dog grooming shops. This is unacceptable and the first step to avoiding this is to find a loving trustworthy place for your puppy.

Once you\’ve settled on a place you like, go scope out the facilities.

DO look out for the following in a grooming facility:

  • Smells good
  • Well-lit
  • Clean
  • Employees are friendly and knowledgeable
  • Employees express interests and concerns for your dog and listen
  • Are pets monitored regularly in a kennel?
  • Are cats and dogs kenneled separately?
  • Does the shop use heated blow drying? (Can be unsafe)
  • Can you purchase healthy pet products there?

Keep Your Goodbye Short

DON’T make your goodbye emotional.

This is an important part of dog training in general. When you enter and exit the house, it\’s crucial you minimize the emotional intensity of your greetings and departure. When you enter the house, don\’t greet your puppy until he is sitting and calm. If you rush to love your dog, this will only excite them. This excitement reinforces bad behaviors like jumping up. Instead, use a routine. Enter the house exhibiting a calm presence and don\’t pet your puppy until they are equally as calm.

When leaving do the same. As you leave through the door say something gentle to your dog that reassures them. This guarantees that your exit will not be an emotionally charged goodbye. The same should be done when dropping off for puppy grooming. If you stayed for their initial visit, next time you go in keep your goodbye brief.

Remember your dog groomers are professionals and chose this profession because they are innately attuned with dogs and more than capable of comforting them through the grooming process.

Just as you exit the house, give them a pat on the head and non-emphatically say, \”See you see.\” Your groomer can take it from here. The relationship between your puppy and the groomer is also vital. Your puppy should learn to be comfortable with the humans grooming him. After a few visits, the bond will develop and your puppy will begin looking forward to being spoiled at the groomers.

This is why it\’s important to choose a dog grooming salon you and your puppy are comfortable with.

Be Specific With Your Groomer

Many pet parents have beautiful visions of the style they want for their puppy\’s first haircut. Do be specific. Tell your groomer exactly what you want and how you want your dog handled. If you want only their facial fur trimmed back, tell your groomer! If you\’re going for a showroom style trimming, try and find a picture to show the dog grooming stylist who will be doing the puppy grooming. Good communication keeps everyone on the same page.

You should also disclose any medical or behavioral issues your dog has. If you\’ve noticed your puppy is temperamental about being touched in a certain area tell your groomer. Also if your puppy is on a certain diet let your groomers know this too. Many pet owners are embracing holistic or rotational diets. Many pet grooming shops give treats during grooming and you will want to make sure the treats they provide align with your puppy\’s diet.

Services at Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique

If you\’re searching for a place for your fur-babies first puppy grooming, Splash and Dash might be the place.

Services Include:

  • Bathing
  • Clipping
  • Nail trimming
  • Teeth Brushing
  • Gland Cleansing
  • Coat brushing
  • Bows & bandanna

The pet salon also offers unique services like aromatherapy, pawdicures, and doggie facials. Splash and Dash operates on the idea of making dog grooming similar to a human spa. Grooming specialists aim to pamper your dog and bathe them in a lap of luxury. We want your dog to enjoy the more indulgent sides of dog grooming.

The best part about Splash and Dash is it\’s affordable and hassle-free!

The service offered at our locations is an UNLIMITED Monthly Bath program where pet parents can bring in their dogs as much as they want. The signature service is completely at your leisure. Starting at $39.95/ month you\’ll never need to worry about your dog rolling in the mud ever again.

Instead of going to a big-box pet store and paying the same, if not more for one grooming, why not take your puppy to a place you know you can trust and save some money while you\’re at it?

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