Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Like most wild animals, dogs living in a pack will learn, from infancy, to groom themselves and each other. Domestic (pet) dogs, however, are often separated from their natural family at a young age so it's paramount that owners take-on the pack grooming responsibility.
This is particularly true for so many breeds which, over the centuries (and even in modern times) have been selectively bred to have particularly curly coats, long glossy fur and so on, which rarely occurs in nature and is not, therefore easy for the dog to maintain themselves.
Whilst different breeds will have different grooming requirements, nearly all will need some level of grooming and it helps if you can get your pet accustomed to this from a young age.
Here’s how to do it:
Stroking your puppy simulates being groomed by the pack. It helps to build a bond and provides comfort - most owners won't need any encouragement to do this but beware of children with sticky fingers.
Many dogs are sensitive to having their feet touched so play with them gentilly and get them used to it. Our soft carpeted homes do not provide the same wear and tear as when running wild so not being foot shy will be a big help to them later if they need their nails cut or fur between their pads to be trimmed.
Similarly, many dogs are also sensitive about their ears and, through the resulting lack of contact in this area, can go on to develop all manner of wax, discharge and hearing problems. Again, play with them until they become accustomed to the sensation which will allow you, a groomer or a vet to more easily prevent any conditions that may occur.
Take your puppy to an 'Introductory' grooming session with a qualified and experienced groomer. For puppies of up to 16 weeks, these sessions usually last about an hour. They are designed to build confidence and allow your dog to get used to the sensation of being bathed, combed, brushed and even lightly clipped.
So, far from Puppy Pampering, getting your pet used to a regular grooming regime from an early age is the ideal way to help maintain their skin and coat throughout their life. What's more, for those owners who have selected a particular breed for the way they look, being confident on the grooming table will help the groomer achieve the look you like, in less time and, consequently, often at a lower price than when dealing with a more 'difficult' dog.