One of the best things about becoming a dog groomer? Working with beautiful, happy puppies! It’s so exciting to meet a new furry client and start your grooming appointments. Who doesn’t want to spend time with these adorable guys? One thing is for certain: when it comes to grooming puppies, you need to have a keen eye to help them get used to the process!
Acclimatizing a puppy to being groomed is the most important function of the first grooming appointment. You can create a relaxed and comfortable environment for each dog, and they’ll feel safe coming to future appointments.
Follow these professional grooming tips to make sure every pup gets used to their appointments and salon experience!
Go with the flow
The first groom can be exciting or nerve-wracking for a puppy, so it’s important to gauge the comfort level of each individual dog. If your furry friend is acting up, give her a few moments to calm down – longer than you would for a full-grown dog. Use calming techniques, such as petting and using a quiet voice, to get the puppy used to her new environment.
Start your groom slowly, and if the dog seems relaxed and comfortable then you can continue on. If you notice any nervousness it’s best to pause and reassure the puppy that they are safe with you. Puppies might have some issues with being separated from their owner (any dog can!) so let each pup get to know you before diving into long grooming appointments.
If you meet a particularly anxious puppy, recommend that your clients schedule shorter grooming appointments more frequently until their pal gets used to grooming. A positive grooming experience for a puppy can turn into a lifelong love for their groomer, so don’t push any comfort zones!
Learn about each pup
Just like we mentioned above, puppies can feel more nervous around new people – they haven’t had the chance to socialize as much as older dogs have. When you first meet your new furry client, take your time getting to know them and letting them sniff around. Once they know your scent and can see the wonderful person you are, they’ll be excited every time they come to see you!
As with every dog, it’s important to speak to the owners during the first meeting to gain perspective into each puppy’s personality. Chances are, you’ve groomed dogs with similar traits. Once you get an idea of the puppy’s regular behavior, it’s easier to notice if something is up during the grooming appointment.
Plus, you’ll need to consider your own guidelines for grooming puppies who haven’t had all their vaccinations. Many groomers choose to ask for proof that a puppy has been fully vaccinated – and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that! It minimizes any risk of diseases or problems in your salon.
Keep it quiet
Keeping dogs calm during a grooming appointment is always a top priority. This helps you keep them safe and do your job properly. When scheduling appointments for a puppy’s first groom, try to choose a time when your salon isn’t very busy. It may be early in the morning or mid-afternoon – it depends on your own client base. Creating a quiet and calm atmosphere will make sure there’s nothing else for the puppy to stress about!
Go step by step
Working on a puppy can be challenging, especially if they’re excitable! If you find you’re having trouble grooming her effectively because she’s excited, take a breather and let her relax. New experiences can be overwhelming to any dog, so it’s important to ease a puppy into your grooming routines.
Many puppies can deal with all aspects of a grooming appointment, but may take longer to settle down. Or, they may just need a few minutes to roll around in their cage during each step of the grooming process. Allowing your puppy clients to get rid of their excess energy will make your job a lot easier to complete!
Always defer to your own professional judgment if you think you can’t continue an appointment. The longer the puppy stays, the more anxious they may become. Each situation will vary, and you’ll get to know the signs quickly! Experience is what will help you when it comes to grooming every type of pup.
Be one step ahead
Working with a happy and energetic puppy will be a constant in your career. It’s important to prepare for grooming an excited dog, like watching their movements and making sure they’re secure. Rather than attempting to trim delicate areas like the eyes with your regular tools, consider using ones that are safer – even if you don’t get the closest groom.
Be attentive to the puppy’s movements and anticipate that they will attempt to move as you groom them!
We’re myth-busting today!
You have options when starting your dog grooming business!
Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!