Perfect Puppy Care Book – Chapter 6 – Grooming Your Puppy
Chapter 6 – Grooming Your Puppy
Your puppy is gorgeous! Help her to stay that way with good grooming. It’s never too early to start positive associations with your grooming supplies and procedures.
What type of puppy you have will determine her grooming needs. For example, a Poodle puppy requires a great deal more grooming than a hairless Chinese Crested puppy. For advice about your specific puppy, consult her breeder or a professional groomer.
No matter what kind of coat your puppy has, brush her on a regular basis. It will help to stimulate her skin, remove dead hair, and reduce shedding. The more fur you take off with a brush, the less will be on your floor, furniture, and clothing. You’ll also help to prevent mats and tangles, which can be difficult to break up and can cause her to be afraid of you if you have to hurt her to get them out. Mats also can cause health problems if they are large or allowed to accumulate because the skin underneath them can become sore or infected.
How to Brush Your Puppy
If your puppy has never been exposed to a brush before, it may be startling to her. Or she may think that you’re trying to play a game with her, and she may try to chew the brush. Don’t get frustrated. You just need to teach her that brushing is a positive experience and that she needs to hold still while you are grooming her.
- Start by letting her sniff the brush, but don’t let her chew on it. If necessary, spray it with a chew-deterrent spray.
- It will be helpful if you have someone else to help you during these first few lessons. Your helper should feed your puppy treats while you introduce her to the brush. If it’s just you, use one hand to feed an occasional treat and use the other hand to hold the brush. Take your time.
- Pet your puppy and feed her a treat while you gently stroke her with the brush. Just do a few strokes, then stop.
- Repeat until she’s comfortable being brushed.
- If she is too wiggly, tire her out before attempting another session. It may help to wait until she’s sleepy and more likely to be still for the first few attempts.
Taking your time and making sure that your puppy enjoys her grooming sessions is better than forcing her down and frightening her. You’re going to be brushing her for years to come, so form good grooming habits early.
Puppies usually don’t need baths as often as people want to give them. In fact, shampooing a puppy too frequently can lead to skin problems. A puppy’s coat has oils in it that protect both the hair and the skin under it. If you strip those oils with frequent shampooing, you can cause your puppy’s skin to become dry, which also can lead to infections. Some people find their puppies scratching all the time but can’t find a flea on them. Washing your puppy too frequently may be the culprit. Talk to your breeder or a professional groomer about how often to bathe your specific breed.
How to Bathe Your Puppy
Bathing your puppy shouldn’t be a struggle or battle of wills. You can train your puppy to love bath time.
- Give your puppy a potty break.
- Put on comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting wet.
- Choose a good location, preferably a room where you can close the door in case she hops out of the tub. Remove any items that you don’t want to get wet in case your puppy shakes water everywhere.
- Get all your supplies ready at hand. You don’t want to leave your puppy unattended while you go find a towel. Also, get a supply of treats; you’ll use these to associate the bath with a pleasant reward.
- Brush her thoroughly and remove all mats and tangles. Getting them wet will make them worse.
- Put a drop of mineral oil in each eye to prevent irritation from shampoo. Place cotton balls in her ears to prevent soap and water from getting in, but don’t push them down into the ear canal.
- Put your puppy in the sink or bathtub. Give her a treat.
- Gently start the water and let her get used to the sound. Give her a treat. Make sure that the water is warm but not too hot.
- Get one leg wet. Give her a treat.
- Continue to gradually work up to wetting the entire puppy while giving treats periodically.
- Apply shampoo to hear head, avoiding her eyes.
- Work backward toward her rear.
- Gradually work up to soaping the entire puppy, giving treats as you go. Talk to her throughout, and praise her for good behavior.
- Rinse thoroughly, making sure that you get all the shampoo out.
- Use a towel to dry her as much as possible. Don’t forget to take out the cotton balls if you used them. When you take your puppy out of the tub and put her down, immediately put on her collar and leash and take her out for a potty break. Puppies often have to pee after a bath. It’s also normal if your puppy tears around your house like a maniac, rubbing against couch or bed pillows.
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