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Introducing Grooming to a Puppy

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  • Introducing Grooming to a Puppy

    Hi all, I'm a new member and new to grooming. I have a Kerry Blue Terrier who is 6 months old. The professional groomers near me are not taking new clients and so I've decided to groom him myself. Im able to clipper his body and chest Ok by distracting with treats. When I approach his head however he snaps at the clippers. I have ordered a muzzle but I'm hoping to get some advice as to how to get him comfortable with the clippers near his face. Thank you in advance Matt

  • #2
    With some puppies the clippers around the face is a common challenge. I turn the clippers on low and gently hold the clippers just lightly touching the body, different areas nearby like the shoulders, chest and let them get used to the vibration. It might take a few minutes. I softly talk to them. Over time I work it up around the back of the head. Some puppies scream a bit. Since you are at home you can take your time, a little bit a day. Remember hold it in a spot like side of face, don't hold the clipper where they can easily bite the sharp blades. Takes time but they eventually get used to the sound and vibration. Be supportive in voice, and gentle, don't press the clippers on the body with pressure.

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    • #3
      Exactly what Brit said. Plus you cant do his head with a muzzle on.
      Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.

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      • #4
        I agree with Brit, also. I put cotton in the ears to muffle the sound. Practice daily by just rubbing the clippers-turned OFF over the head. Rub and treat for good behavior. Next,hold the clippers away from the head and turn on and off, on and off. Treat if he's good. approach from behind and try to clip just the back of the head.If he's good, stop and treat. gradually work your way up to the top, ears and sides. I prefer praise and treats to a muzzle and force.
        Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

        Groom on!!!

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        • #5
          I do an “advance and retreat” method.
          If the clipper, brush, comb, water, dryer, whatever is annoying to the dog we just slowly continue on. That annoying item doesn’t disappear until they stop struggling and THEN it stops, immediately!
          The dog thinks “Oh! When I sat still it went away! I’ll try that again!”

          Of course we praise the dog for his genius discovery. And then we slowly do that annoying action again. Dog struggles a bit, sit still and annoying item again disappears. We can extend the time slowly that we are annoying him before we remove the item.
          This usually takes less then 5 minutes. Dogs are quick learners.

          In a sense, it is the opposite of what their owners have been teaching them. If the dog struggles or bites the owner (or groomer) tends to stop and “praise” them. “It’s ok Rover. See, it’s just a brush”.
          “But the dog is thinking “Wow! When I struggle they stop. They hug me and they put me on the floor to play. I’ll do that again”.

          Now, keep in mind that I’m not “grooming” at that time. Say the dog is fussy on pad shaving. I would be just holding his foot, with the clipper in my hand, not trying to clipper pads, just holding foot and clipper together. I’m very aware of holding the dog safely and in a way that I’m not pulling on his joints. He can dance around my table and not injure himself. THE MONENT he stops moving for even an Instance the clipper goes away and I lower the foot back on the table.
          At this point I might pick up a different foot, or I might work on a different part of the body. I will return shortly to the pad trimming and rinse and repeat.
          Again, dogs catch on so quick.

          It’s important that you realize that I’m not trying to actually remove hair at this time. That could injure the dog. I’m just holding the annoying item in my hand. Sometime I’m petting them with the side of my hand, or even just a finger. It’s sort of funny to watch their expression change when they look down and notice it’s just your finger. “Hey! I know fingers. They aren’t scary. Ok, continue on Groomer”

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          • #6

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            • #7
              We do like many of you, good advice. We did build one of those silent rooms. Now this is often the use for those puppies that need several minutes of easy conditioning but in the meantime scream and voila a little later, no problem.

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              • #8
                I want a silent room. Checked it out. Really would serve great for cats. Peaceful for them away from dogs. We have a cat groomer rent a table from us twice a month. People love it.

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                • #9
                  As a groomer and a pro dog trainer go slow don't push. Your in a flight and fear stage right now till 8 months. Plus your still in teething stage.

                  I would put pup on floor with unplugged clippers. Have him on leash in another room from clippers on floor. You want to walk up to them and let him check them out on his own. If he growls or snaps or shows teeth back off and just stand there. Say nothing as you want him to get his own confidence.

                  Once he is OK standing near them have him sit then lay down too. But if he starts showing aggression or fear back him off in a tight circle and if he calms just let be.

                  You want increments here as your trying to overcome his fear. Progression is slow for once he accepts it on floor you can pick it up. You can have it on table near head If he is OK. Don't turn it on till you can have it near face without issue.

                  You will need to redo this with it on. Maybe not in another room but let him walk up with you on leash and don't say anything.
                  This is desensitization and it's slow progression.

                  The flight fear stage is tricky for some pups. If handled wrong it would make things alot worse. Go slow and use pressure off circle if he reacts.

                  On body keep off and slowly work to head but don't say anything. Our voice gives away our tension easy and pups worry easier yet.

                  good luck you can do this.

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