Grooming Your New Puppy

By Carol Robson

So you have a new puppy. Now is the time to introduce your puppy to grooming. If you have a small table, get a piece of carpet remnant that you can place on top. This will save your back, keep your puppy from slipping, and will make grooming an easier task. Have your puppies favorite treats in your pocket. The first time, just place your puppy on the table, run your hands over his head and down his back. Now tell him what a good boy he is and give him a couple of treats. That is enough for the first time.

Next time, take the brush that your breeder has recommended, (different breeds require a different type of brush), and starting at the crest of his neck brush down his neck and back. He may resist or try to struggle, so be sure to have a firm hold on him and say, "No" in a firm voice. Once he settles, tell him he is a good boy in your "happy voice" and give him a treat. Just be sure that your voice is not too excited or you might get him jumping around again. After you have brushed his back coat, brush each leg in turn. Your puppy will not have much loose coat if he is very young, but it is important for him to learn to stand quietly on the table while you brush him. At the end of each grooming he should get lots of praise and a treat. The frequency of grooming will depend on the breed. Some require daily grooming, others weekly grooming will suffice.

Next comes the toe nail cutting. You will have purchased the proper size nail clippers as recommended by your breeder. Have someone hold your puppy, while you cut the tip off of each nail. Do not cut much off of each nail, as you do not want to cut the quick, which is the blood supply to the nail. Hopefully your breeder will have shown you the proper procedure. If you are concerned, take your puppy to a local dog groomer. Most groomers provide a service of drop-in nail cutting, where no appointment is required.

Next, introduce your puppy to "the bath". You will have purchased a "no tear" puppy shampoo and have a nice towel that will envelope the entire body once the bath is finished. If your puppy is tiny, the sink makes a nice bath for him. Place a rubber mat in the bottom of the sink so that it is not slippery. If you do not have a mat, place a towel in the bottom of the sink before you add the water. Fill the sink half full of warm, not hot, water. Test the water with the inside of your arm. Mix a little shampoo into warm water in a plastic glass or other container. Gently place the puppy in the water and wet him all over, except for his head. Once his head is wet, he will want to shake water all over you. Now pour the diluted shampoo over the puppy and lather. Once you have finished soaping the body, use a face cloth and gently wash his face with no soap. You can use some soap on the outside of his ears and head, but do not get any water in his ears. Now let the water out of the sink, and if you have a spray attachment, use this with warm water to rinse the puppy, starting with the top of his head but avoiding any water in his ears. Be sure and get all of the soap out of his coat as soap residue can cause itching and irritate the puppy's skin. Once he is completely rinsed, wrap the puppy in the towel you have ready and dry him as well as you can. You can introduce your puppy to a hair dryer to dry the coat, but be sure it is not turned up to high heat. Have someone hold him on the table with the mat, while you brush his coat and blow warm air to help the coat dry. You will now have a nice clean puppy who deserves another treat.

Carol Robson
Article by Carol Robson
Carol Robson has owned and shown a variety of breeds of dogs over the past 35 years. She loves to share what she has learned with new dog owners. Her dog travel site offers information for dog lovers and products such as pet carriers, dog crates, dog beds and paw print bags for humans. Visit often at and purchase products that are practical, yet stylish, for that special little dog. Be sure to check out the pages of helpful information.