Most shops won't take them until they are complete on their shots. Mobile groomers usually don't have an issue with vaccinations and will usually come earlier. Between 12-16 weeks is a great time to start, although you probably won't want a true hair cut at this time. It is best to first introduce a puppy to the grooming process early and with just a bath and blow dry, face, feet. The grooming process is noisy and scarey for a baby and it is best not to do it all at once if you can help it. Then later, in about 4-6 more weeks, you can do a fuller groom. This is where you may decide to clip the hair down. Puppy hair usually doesn't mat, so it may not be necessary. I usually don't give poodle puppies a full cut with clippers until they are around 5 months old. They look so cute with the puppy trim! I will usually just scissor, but not everyone wants that or does that. Just be aware that puppy hair is very soft, and when it is clippered it may appear uneven for a while. Of course, the dog probably won't be a perfect customer so allowances to the groomer must be made
yup, once she has all her shots book her in for a face/feet/tail and a bath & dry; it gives her a chance to meet the groomer and see the shop etc and work out what it's all about. You can talk to the groomer then about further grooming and whether you want to start the pattern in next time, or keep her fluff for a bit longer still.
I agree that it's best to introduce grooming asap. The more exposure the pup has to grooming, the better. Where I work, we offer a "puppy series" for a discounted rate to get the pups used to grooming slowly, rather than trying to do a full groom right from the start (it's just too stressful for most puppies and it doesn't make for a great first experience).
We like to get pups used to all the different noises of the shop and slowly introduce tools & clippers (a lot of puppies are scared of them the first time they hear & feel the vibration). If you can't find a shop to take the puppy in before it's fully vaccinated, then do as much as you can at home. Get the pup used to brushing (slickers & combs), touch its feet as often as possible, handle legs, ears, muzzle, etc. Always make everything a positive experience. Even if the grooming shop won't groom the pup yet, you could ask to stop in with her, give her treats there, ask for a nail trim, etc.. just to get her used to the place.
When you go for the groom, I'd recommend going slow. Maybe start with brushing & nail trim, possibly light scissor trim if she's doing well. Then have a bath & brushing, exposure to clippers, etc.. you just don't want to overwhelm her right from the start.
Lastly, I'd like to mention that in the past year I've seen more than a handful of matted pups for their first groom. The owners come in with 5-7 month old puppies that are matted all over. The puppies then have a negative first grooming experience because matting is uncomfortable to remove and can take a lot of time. After all the dematting, they're then bathed, dried, brushed, trimmed further to even everything out, and they have their nails trimmed, ears cleaned & plucked if necessary, etc. It's a long process and stressful, especially for a first experience. It's so important to make grooming a positive experience, so brushing at home is essential, especially if professional grooming can't be introduced sooner.
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