The importance of puppy grooming – for health and bonding.
Grooming is an important responsibility of pet ownership and should be done for at least ten minutes daily. Start right away with a new puppy and he will soon come to expect, and even to enjoy, regular grooming.
Think of puppy grooming in terms of 3 levels of intensity;
The daily groom entails a brush down and removal from the coat of any knots and burrs as well as checking for external parasites.
Weekly you should do a more thorough groom to include cleaning of the eyes, ears, teeth and nails.
Once a month you should bathe the dog (or take him to the dog parlor). You can bathe him more regularly if he is particularly dirty or has been rolling in something unpleasant. Be careful though to use a mild puppy shampoo.
Puppy Grooming: The Right Equipment
There are brushes and combs designed specifically for every coat type. But if you’re going to choose only one, buy the type with metal pins on one side and soft bristles on the other. This caters for all coat types.
You’ll also need a good quality pair of nail cutters, a soft tooth brush, a jug for pouring water, and cotton wool for wiping the eyes, ears and cleaning the anal area if necessary. For bathing get a mild shampoo designed specifically for a puppy’s sensitive eyes and skin.
Puppy Grooming: Bathing
After brushing the coat place the puppy in a bath or basin. Wet the hair thoroughly. Then, using a mild dog shampoo, lather the body, excluding the head.
Put a small amount of shampoo on your hands and massage it into the head. Rinse and dry the head. Rinse and towel dry the rest of the body, then dry with a hairdryer (set to cool) if necessary.
Follow this link for step-by-step Dog Bathing instructions (link)
Puppy Grooming: Brushing
Dogs are very sensitive to touch, so your puppy will enjoy the experience of being brushed. Brushing not only cleans the coat, but stimulates circulation of the blood vessels and the oil glands of the skin. This makes for a strong, healthy, shiny coat.
And of course, any hair you remove by brushing stays off your furniture and clothing. With some breeds this is a huge benefit.
Puppy Grooming: Asserting Dominance and Building Bonds
Aside from the obvious health benefits of grooming, it is a great way of building a bond with your puppy.
By getting him into the habit of standing still while being groomed, you assert your dominance as pack leader. Don’t see this as a negative, dogs are programmed to respect authority and are happiest when they understand their role in the pack.
Remember that dogs respond better to positive re-inforcement, so make grooming a pleasurable experience. Associate it with a reward. This could be the physical contact and the attention you give the dog while grooming, or it could be a game, a favorite toy or a food reward.
The Grooming HQ on this site has lots more information on puppy grooming.