It’s important for puppy to get accustomed to grooming as soon as possible.
It is too often a doodle puppy visits the groomer for the first time at 6 months or older, this is not good. Talk to your groomer if you do not have one find one ASAP Early stage grooming gets your doodle pup familiar with different sounds, touches and feelings they do not get at home. Bring your pup to the groomer for in and out visits (pre-booked) were you stay for just a few minutes just for nails and ear hair desensitizing, no need for them to go into a crate or touch the floor. I always recommend that pups get professionally bathed and dried at least two time before a full groom to help them get accustomed to all the sounds and scary things. Every pups coat is different when it comes to being ready for there first groom, it could be as early as 3 months and as late as 8 months but in that time frame we train them how to stand on the grooming table, teaching them what the clipper sounds and feel like, our very loud dryer, brush, comb, nail grinder, ear hair pulling, ear cleaning, feet handling and how to properly stand still for scissor work on a grooming table.
The consequence of waiting results in a stressed, frightened, whining or squealing puppy with too much hair, clogged ears along with SHARP teeth and toenails that badly damage the arms of the dog groomer and gives pup a negative association with coat maintenance.
This is truly a shame, because a first negative memory is hard to change into a second positive association and a puppy that is already scared and reserved by nature could be scarred for life by this.
Ignorance in these cases can be disastrous for the well-being of the puppy because the owners unwittingly give it the wrong start to a lifetime of regular grooming.
Puppy coat maintenance and preparing your puppy
A puppy coat is loose, thin and airy and does not even remotely look like a mature coat of a Doodle, which is much thicker, somewhat stiffer in structure and a whole lot longer, doodle hair never stops growing.
Because the puppy coat does not tangle, a life full of regular coat maintenance seems to be far away. Still, the early puppy period is the perfect time to let your puppy get used to a life of coat maintenance. The earlier you have your puppy get used to it, the less stressed and unsure she/he will be in future grooming sessions.
Grooming Training at home
*Please remember this is just a start to a long life of learning with your puppy, learning how to line brush and comb your pup while they grow, will help to insuring great coat care and help to prevent shave downs or de-mating charges at the groomers.
As you start your puppy on their new routines such as potty training, meal times, walking on leash etc., it is also very important to start grooming training; work it into you routine, do not put it off thinking it too much for them at a young age and that their coat is too nice to worry about. This would be a big mistake!
Here are just a few recommendations to help easy puppy onto a grooming routine:
Make sure you have tools needed for grooming before you bring puppy home.
*These are recommendations for brush and comb that I use on every doodle/breed that walks into my salon. Link at Bottom
A back massage tool or beard trimmer found at retail stores such as Wal-Mart. Treats I like small meaty ones, those work very well and should be something they never get any other time.
* Keep the cover on the clipper blade, you only need it for the sound and feelings.
For the first few times hold your puppy in your lap after they have pottied and had a good romp so they are a little wore out. Turn on the tool and just touch your arm and face, rub up and down your arm but make sure you are holding your puppy. Sometimes the sound can make them want to flee, Do not let them (prepare for it by keeping a leash on them and tucked under your leg) and ignore them the whole time, whether they whine, cry, and whimper. Do not baby them, do not tell them it’s ok or good boy, not one word and do not stop no matter how bad it seems. By talking or stopping, you are rewarding that behavior and they will learn they will get their way. When they do stop, reward them with lots of love and a tasty treat!
When you are confident that your puppy is calm when you turn on the clippers, progress to the next stage (Please note that these sessions are only minutes long and only once a day. As soon as your puppy stops wiggling and is happy, you treat and praise. You are done for that day.)
Continue holding the tool and go down your arm onto your hand that is holding the puppy and allow the vibration to be felt through your hand and onto the pup, if your pup is ok with this continue down onto his body. Lightly glide over his body between the legs, under his tail (important area) but stay away from the head that is for another day! Treat and be done for that day.
When your pup no longer minds these actions and will stay still, continue onto next step.
While holding you puppy, work with his feet starting with no tools, just your hands. Hold one foot at a time, examine his foot by feeling between toes and opening up the pad. Stick your fingers in and move the hair around every crook and cranny. Most pups will fight and pull away, your goal is to work with them until they no longer pull away. Remember, if they cry, whine, and yelp during training you may need to do this several days. Do not talk to your pup while they struggle or pull away place them back into your lap and continue!
Almost done; next slide the tool (clipper or massage tool) on the bottom of the foot, hold the foot and press lightly onto nails and pads of feet. Do this with one foot at a time for the first few sessions, and then move onto all in one session. I cannot emphasize how important it is to not let the sessions end on a bad note, never let your puppy pull away or cause you stop because he is screaming or whining, you will have taught him how to get away with such behavior wait until he has calmed. Treat your pup and be finished for that session. Sometimes you will have set backs on the days your pup has more energy.
Once you have mastered the feet and body you move to the head and ears, the sensitive areas. While gliding the tool over the body, never in a fast motion, slide it up under the neck and chin (just briefly) and then back to the body to gauge his reaction. Continue to repeat several times, if all is well then slide from neck to cheek and right back down to body, never lifting tool from the body. Again, do not stop if pup struggles and remember to treat for a job well done.
While sliding the tool under the chin, continue to the cheek and back down to neck and body, repeat from cheek to ear and over the head to the back, stay on the back and body for a few moments then back to the chin. Do not allow the pup to bite the tool EVER, if they are biting at it or your hands you must firmly say "NO!" and because we are not talking during training, pup will respond quickly. Continue to glide the tool under and around his ears and face. Remember to treat for job well done.
Move onto using the brush and comb all over the body in the same way as above, you should be able to move much faster now that you have gain trust and understanding.
Congratulations!!! You are doing a great job! At this point, you will have earned great trust and have formed a bond that will allow you to train your puppy.
Here is link to the brush
Here is link to comb