Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Puppy’s First Visit

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005 by Mike Cronk


 It is not fair to a puppy to bring him to his first visit at 12-16 weeks of age without some coaching at home. In order to figure out how to train your dog for grooming, an understanding of what is expected of him as an adult is necessary.

All dogs will be subject to nail trimming, ear cleaning, brushing, bathing and drying. The main objective is to teach your puppy to be still and eventually allow grooming that may take as much as 2-4 hrs. Every process; bathing, nails, brushing, drying and especially clipping, require obedience. Basically, you must gently teach your pup you are the alpha (one in charge). There is nothing particularly fun about getting your nails done or being still for a blow dryer–and not much can be accomplished if you have a moving target. You need a brush and hair dryer to get started.

  1. Basic training. Hold your puppy’s paw in your fingers for a brief period. When he starts to whine and pull away, gently say no, hold on for a few seconds more, then release. Do not release when your puppy begins to whine–this teaches him that whining will let him get his way. Gradually increase the time holding his paw until you can hold it as long as you like. This will allow us to do nails and brush leg feathering when necessary.
  2. Simple brushing. Once you can get your pup to be still, introduce him to a brush. Run it over his back a few times without applying pressure–making him be still in the process. Gradually increase the time and the pressure–brushing all areas, especially the ears and tail.
  3. Blow dryers. Turn on your home blow dryer and get him used to the sound. Do not direct the warm air on him, get him used to the noise first. Then, starting with the back and rear, gradually introduce air flow.

For those dogs that will need clipping, the introduction of the dryer is very beneficial. Getting them used to the sound will allow us to ease them into a haircut as well.

On the first visit we will only do as much as he allows without causing him to panic. We will introduce the clipper and just rub him with the base to get him used to the noise and slight vibration. We try to trim the face and feet with scissors, clip and trim bathrooming areas, and do nails. Some pups require 2-3 visits before they can handle full body trims, others are ready right away. In summation, establish the alpha, be gentle but firm, and start with brief exercises and work your way up. Remember, once you establish your authority, nothing will make your dog happier than pleasing you–that’s why they’re called our “best friend.”

 Our model here is the very well behaved Cuddles “Urbaska.”

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