I love puppies, that goes without saying.
Our puppy Lilah, who came to us at 8 weeks old, is going to be 11 years old in November. Time flies. AND, our puppy Talley--again 8 weeks old when she arrived in our home--turned 3 years old in April.
One thing they had in common? They both were not too keen about grooming.
Despite the fact that most puppies may not be completely happy with grooming, it is important to get them used to the "idea" of it, and the various tools and actions that help them (and us) stay clean and unmatted (in the case of long-haired dogs).
Beyond the very basic items of puppy shampoo and perhaps a coat conditioner (rinse off or leave in) I always start the process with wipes. Petkin Petwipes (or any you choose) from Chewy have a nice, clean scent and puppies get used to you wiping them down very quickly. I will normally do this every second day for very young puppies. I give a small treat before I start, and a second small treat when I am done. Puppies learn very quickly that if they indulge the grooming process, another treat is on the way when it's over. You want to make the process a pleasant one.
Once some real coat starts to appear, I use the wipes only on feet, ears, around mouth area, and stomach. I then switch to a Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, alternating as needed with a soft-bristled brush (Click Here for my favorite), and a dog comb (for long, thick hair you need wider spaced teeth/for short hair you will want thinner spacing between teeth). I prefer stainless steel combs with a good grip handle. The one linked above has both wider and thinner spaced teeth for various hair lengths. In the case of all these tools, I use a very soft hand and start slowly.
As puppies grow into adulthood, you will need to add other things to your toolbox. Specifically:
- nail clippers
- coat clippers
- thinning shears
- regular scissors
Safari makes a great nail clipper in two sizes (small/medium and medium/large). I love the great grip on the handles. I also prefer a scissor-like nail clipper to a guillotine style.
I purchased an ONEISALL body clipper from Amazon, and I have to say, not only has it lasted for my needs, but it is VERY quiet compared to industry clippers. I have dogs who are sensitive to noise, so the fact that the clippers are quiet and also CORDLESS, is a huge help. I use the clippers to trim around ears, neck, bottoms of feet and sanitary areas.
Thinning shears are used for tops of feet, to assist in particular hard to remove matting when it appears (typically back of legs in long-haired dogs), and I use regular scissors very rarely, but have them for quick clean ups of leg and tail fur.
Often times, different breeds of dogs will have a special way in which they are supposed to look. Personally, if I want that look, I will take our dogs to a professional groomer. But, in the meantime, it's a good thing to keep coats clean and unmatted, nails trimmed, and vigilance toward ridding your dog of pests (ticks/fleas).
I tend to like our setters to look a bit haphazard, with a longer and fuller coat than usual. They are not show dogs, so I'm not under the gun to keep them to a breed grooming standard. I don't hunt them in the field, so I don't look for a field trim (to keep burrs and other sticky weeds from embedding in the coat).
When I was growing up, there was a comedian named Phyllis Diller (I am definitely aging myself now), who was known for her eccentric stage presence and very wild hair. Our dog Talley channels Phyllis.
I can groom Talley upside down and sideways, and she will still look like she looks in the photo above, but her coat is soft and tangle free and she is happy. When we go on therapy visits, I make sure her paws are clean of excess fur, her nails are trimmed and she is combed out. I use a leave-in conditioner (my favorite is Buddy Splash Lavender and Mint), which allows her to smell really good, even when we don't have time for a bath.
I am happy to report, Talley and Lilah are good-to-go with grooming these days. Remember, start early and easy and you won't have any problems as they grow up.
Click Into the Circle
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic (puppies), start here with Greater Boston-based dog photographer Donna Kelliher of Donna Kelliher Photography, as she draws upon her 20+ years as a professional, positive dog trainer to share her Top 5 Puppy Raising tips.
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer, until you find yourself back here, and have completed the circle.
Have a great weekend! Enjoy!