Tips for New Puppy Owners – What Groomers Want You to Know

So you’re either about to get a new puppy or you just got one. Yay!!

It could be a puppy with long messy hair, silky hair, short hair, curly hair… Puppies come in all shapes and sizes and can either be purebreds or mixes. Either way, they all require different grooming techniques and it’s something you and your dog will have to manage for the duration of their lifetime.

There are several tips that new puppy owners must learn so as to not cause their new puppy to hate grooming forever.

Preparing Them for a Life of Grooming tips-for-new-puppy-owners

Grooming your dog is something you will always have to do. Dogs are messy, they like puddles, they need haircuts and sometimes their nails grow like bad weeds. It is a good idea to get them used to grooming from day one so that they become accustomed to it.

I personally worked at a grooming salon for a year and a half and picked up on a lot of the things groomers hated most about their jobs. One of the biggest things was when a pet owner would bring in a dog that was 6 months or a year (or more) and had never been to the grooming salon or had any grooming done at all.

Dogs need to be trained to react well to grooming in the early months of their lives to help facilitate grooming in the future. This can be done by getting your puppy used to being handled, having their paws played with, ears and tails touched, and overall just listening well to instructions. Give them treats when they react well to help reinforce good behaviour. This will greatly help your dog’s groomer to cut their hair and nails, to bathe them and to clean their ears. It not only reduces the risk that your dog will be injured during grooming, but also reduces the risk that your groomer will curse your name when your dog is flailing on their grooming table.

Once your dog has all of its shots, it’s a good idea to first bring them into their new grooming salon for a visit where they can become accustomed to the smells, the noises and their potential groomer. From there, you can book a puppy appointment with the groomer to get their nails done, have a bath and have their hair trimmed if they have long hair.

How Often Should I Be Going?

For young puppies, it is best to get them into the grooming salon at least 2 to 3 times for a puppy trim before the groomer will do a real haircut. This gets them used to the process slowly so that they don’t begin to fear grooming.

For adult dogs, it is best to get their hair cut or trimmed every 8 weeks to avoid matting. Frequent brushing is still required between grooms to avoid matting, as well. Matted hair in dogs is painful for them because it tightens the skin underneath and can lead to health problems like a Hematoma once the hair is removed. In the case of a Hematoma, your dog will be sent to the vet because this can be dangerous for them. If you find matted hair on your dog, please do not remove at home with scissors because it is very easy to accidentally cut their skin and when the skin stretches back to its normal spot, it can be a much bigger cut than once thought. It is best to keep up with regularly brushing and grooming for the health and well-being of your dog.

If your dog is short-haired, like a Boxer, a Labrador Retriever or other short-haired dogs, you can either learn to cut their nails and bathe them at home, or you can bring them into the salon every 4 to 6 weeks to have their nails done and for a bath whenever they are dirty. I know every 4 to 6 weeks sounds quite often but dog’s nails grow very quickly and it is very painful for them to have long nails, which will be discussed further later.

Fluffy Dogs, Silky Dogs, Short-Haired Dogs..

Now-a-days, purebreds aren’t as common as they used to be and there are many variations of mixed dogs. This leads to a wide variety of coat-types and grooming processes. The new trend is mixing any type of dog with a Doodle. Goldendoodles, labradoodles, sheepadoodles, and the list goes on. While these dogs are insanely cute, their coat-types are very high maintenance and will require lots of brushing at home. They will need to be brushed at least a few times a week. This includes a general brushing of the top coat with a slicker brush and then a more in-depth brushing of the under layer with a metal comb. This will help to reduce matting so that your groomer will not have to shave your dog into looking like a scrawny chicken.

 (Slicker Brush and Metal Grooming Comb)

While other medium- to long-haired dogs aren’t always as bad as Doodles coat-wise, it will still be necessary to brush them out often to avoid tangles. The same process can be used with the slicker brush and then the metal comb.

As for short-haired dogs, it is best to get a rubber Furminator brush to remove as much shedding hair as tips-for-new-puppy-ownerspossible. A good technique is to use a scrubbing motion to be as effective as possible to remove the extra hair. Furminator also sells great products like shampoos and conditioners to help alleviate some of the shedding.

One thing to note that most people don’t realize, is that double-coated dogs should not be shaved. This includes Huskies, German Shepherd, and others with the same type of fur. Owners may think that this will help their shedding problems, although if the dog is shaved, they will still shed just as much but the hairs that are shed will be much smaller and harder to get out of clothing, leaving you feeling very itchy and picky. This is also not good for their coats and their coats will not return to their normal state. They will be patchy and uneven.

And for those pet parents that think shaving their dog will help to cool their down dog, their coats are actually made to help cool them down on hot days. Shaving their coat will lead to sunburns and will not help them from overheating.

Nail Trimming Is Very Important!

Nail trimming is recommended to be done every 4-6 weeks to ensure the least amount of discomfort for your dog. If you let them grow, the end of the nail will eventually push into the ground and cause pain in the nail bed. Imagine how uncomfortable that would be? Their nails will eventually turn to the side to avoid the pressure on their nail beds so please make sure to get their nails done often or cut them often yourself!

Enjoy Your New Puppy

I hope this gave you lots of great information about your new puppy and some comfort in knowing what to do.

Truly enjoy your new puppy! They are never with us long enough so please give them the best lives possible.

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me in the comments below and I will be glad to answer them to the best of my ability!


  • Doris Johnson

    What a great post!… I really enjoyed reading about grooming your pet. When I had my dog Kodi one of the main issues was her hair would matt . I wish I had known more about how to care for my dog better than I had. I learned so much from your article. I did not know a dog could get Hematoma from brushing their hair? Interesting… I am surprised at how much I did not know. You gave some awesome tips on how to prepare your pet for its first visit with the salon. When I get my next puppy I will feel better about how to care for him. Thank you for such a wonderful article!

    • Amanda

      No, dogs can get hematoma’s from not brushing their hair. The matts can cause the skin to tighten, which can lead to hematomas when the fur is shaved due to the pressure being allevated. I’m really glad you liked my article and learned something from it 🙂 Best of luck with your new puppy when the day comes!

  • Ben

    Amanda, I absolutely agree with your tips. I wish we had read up on an article like this before we got our first dog. We didn’t even know we had to comb her to keep her from getting mated. It was only after our first visit to the groomer we learned these tips you outline.

    For anyone thinking about getting a pet. Do it! They really do add so much to your life. Make sure you give them all your love and take good care of them!

    • Amanda

      That’s the same issue that most groomers encounter, that most people don’t know this information. I’m glad my article would have helped you, and hopefully helps other new pet owners! Thanks for your comment.

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