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I have often thought of this, but have a few minutes now to post on this topic here.


Given that I think we all have either had a hard time with certain aspects of grooming puppies or seen some upsetting YouTube videos of dogs really suffering through grooming I would like to see us collect important ideas about helping puppies with learning how to accept and even enjoy being groomed. It is such an important part of a poodle's life for this not to be scary or painful.


Here are just a couple of thoughts I have, but I hope groomers here will add based on their experiences.


1. Even if you want a fluffy faced groom later on shave a puppies face so they are used to it.


2. Remember to always end on a good note even if you haven't totally finished the groom. Pay puppies for relaxed behaviors often and generously.


3. Touch every part of a puppy's body every day as part of play. This will make it easier to groom feet and ears and check teeth if you start early and continue throughout life. We still play caught your feet, show me your snarly teeth and other silliness with all of our dogs everyday.
 

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Thank you for starting this! I am a long time lurker/researcher on this site and will be bringing home my first Spoo in less than two weeks! I'm hoping to learn to groom on my own and have been doing a lot of reading. Will be learning slowly and supplementing with professional grooming by someone willing to help teach me.

Please keep the information coming!
 

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One thing that a lot of people do is every time the puppy slightly pulls away or fusses they stop and let go. This teaches the puppy that if they don't want something to happen they just have to put up a fuss. If you're puppy tries to pull it foot away, gently keep holding it until the puppy stops fussing then let go and reward. If the puppy really thrashes around then take a step back and try to figure out why. Some puppies are simply more dramatic than other puppies but make sure you aren't pushing the puppy too far doing too much at once for it's temperament, or that you aren't holding the leg at an uncomfortable position.
And sometimes you have to be a little firm but gentle. If the puppy is continuously biting at the brush or comb (and you're being careful and not brushing too hard) it's ok to tell the puppy 'that's enough!', and when the puppy stops trying to bite at the brush stop and praise/reward.
So many dogs are bad for grooming because the owner's ***** foot around it too much.
I had a grown dog come in for nails a few weeks back. Owner said to muzzle it because the dog will bite and is terrible for nails. I rarely muzzle anything so I put it in my set up the way I do for dogs that may be bad (a grooming loop around the head and a leash wrapped around my pole at collar height attached to their collar) so that the dog virtually cannot reach me and I went about doing it's nails.
It screamed, it attempted to bite, it thrashed around. I gently and calmly kept holding whatever leg I was working on till it calmed down enough for me to get it done.
I told the owner that I felt that it would improve if she kept coming back to me. She brought the dog back in 3 weeks later. The dog stood like an angel and was way more calm and relaxed. And since she was calmer, she could actually THINK during the nail trim and realized that it really wasn't that bad which should help her to become even more calm as time goes on. She was just a dog that was allowed to get away from doing something she didn't want to do by fussing and biting. Once she realized that I was gonna calmly keep going, she could relax.
 

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Thank you for starting this thread! I was determined to get off on a good foot with Saffron since it took 2 years for Sage to calm down for grooming (by me - and he still isn’t great with feet!)
There is so much to work on that I have done minimal introduction to the dryer and clippers. funnily enough both of my dogs love the electric toothbrush right away - has anyone else had this experience?!
 

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One thing that a lot of people do is every time the puppy slightly pulls away or fusses they stop and let go. This teaches the puppy that if they don't want something to happen they just have to put up a fuss. If you're puppy tries to pull it foot away, gently keep holding it until the puppy stops fussing then let go and reward. If the puppy really thrashes around then take a step back and try to figure out why. Some puppies are simply more dramatic than other puppies but make sure you aren't pushing the puppy too far doing too much at once for it's temperament, or that you aren't holding the leg at an uncomfortable position.
And sometimes you have to be a little firm but gentle. If the puppy is continuously biting at the brush or comb (and you're being careful and not brushing too hard) it's ok to tell the puppy 'that's enough!', and when the puppy stops trying to bite at the brush stop and praise/reward.
So many dogs are bad for grooming because the owner's ***** foot around it too much.
I had a grown dog come in for nails a few weeks back. Owner said to muzzle it because the dog will bite and is terrible for nails. I rarely muzzle anything so I put it in my set up the way I do for dogs that may be bad (a grooming loop around the head and a leash wrapped around my pole at collar height attached to their collar) so that the dog virtually cannot reach me and I went about doing it's nails.
It screamed, it attempted to bite, it thrashed around. I gently and calmly kept holding whatever leg I was working on till it calmed down enough for me to get it done.
I told the owner that I felt that it would improve if she kept coming back to me. She brought the dog back in 3 weeks later. The dog stood like an angel and was way more calm and relaxed. And since she was calmer, she could actually THINK during the nail trim and realized that it really wasn't that bad which should help her to become even more calm as time goes on. She was just a dog that was allowed to get away from doing something she didn't want to do by fussing and biting. Once she realized that I was gonna calmly keep going, she could relax.
Brave! I do get what you mean. I have no trouble doing the odd bang cut or nail trim on my friends’ dogs when I dog sit. They are all uncomfortable doing it and I find it pretty easy to do some basics even if they protest (I am still a total beginner). But as soon as it’s my own dogs and they are crying or acting like I’m killing them I have a total stress response:( It’s so much easier for me on other people’s dogs...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
JenandSage I think you hit an important point which is owners' emotional investment in their own dogs. It can be much harder to take that calm objective approach that a professional groomer has in spades.


Mysticrealm I am so happy that you added early on here. You will help a lot of new puppy folks and the groomers that they take their dogs to in your good advise on how to support puppies while they learn this process.


One other thing I think of this morning is how much easier it was to start grooming Javelin right when he came home than it was Lily. His breeders had bathed, done nails and FFT three times before he came home. Lily had not had such extensive early practice with it. It took a lot longer for me to be comfortable doing much more than nails and comb outs.
 

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I would also suggest in investing in a grooming table, particularly for Standards. You might be able to get by with some smaller other table for Minis and Toys, but since grooming tables are made specifically for that purpose, have a non-skid surface, can have a grooming post attached if needed, etc. I would use one for all varieties. They are not hugely expensive and last for years, so the initial investment is well worth it in my opinion. While I can cut nails, brush, clean ears, etc. anywhere, I almost always do all my grooming on the table. The dogs know exactly what is expected of them on the table and have been trained to behave properly when they are on it. I never use a post, except maybe for a short time when they are puppies and I am working with them and they are trained to stay on the table until I take them down.
 

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Eclipse, yes for sure a grooming table is a must in my book too. I have a deal with my dogs that no serious grooming is done anywhere except on the table.
 

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Great thread!
Enthusiastic home groomer here.
My top recommendations:
1. Ask questions! Here or a groomer you trust or your breeder.
2. Get the best equipment you can afford.
3. Line brush every single day.
4. Consistency is key- short session everyday that are upbeat and gentle BUT firm. Kindness is key but don't let naughtiness win.
5. Keep the sessions short - if you groom everyday you can get a lot done in a 5 - 10 minute session and there is always tomorrow. Make it a good experience every time!
6. I love my handheld vacuum to pick up the aftermath!
7. If you have a hard time with face or feet - I found the mini clipper an eye opener.
8. Choose the look you have time to maintain. There are some gorgeous poodle do's out there but the reality is the dog has to be comfortable and you have to be able to invest enough time for upkeep.
 

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Thanks, Moni. What type of mini-clipper do you use? Many members recommend the mini Bravura. But I also read many online reviewers reporting that it breaks easily. So I am hesitating...
 

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I have found a height adjustable grooming table invaluable or saving my back when grooming Poppy (toy). At first I used a nonslip mat on a kitchen counter, but the table is much better, even if it is heavy to set up and take down. When getting pups used to grooming I would really emphasise the importance of brushing right down to the skin (and running a comb through to check), and never letting the coat get into a state where grooming hurts - far better to shave down and start again.
 

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Great thread! I did invest in a grooming table for Renn. I am surprised I have never done so in the past for the many dogs I've had. It certainly is a lot easier then bending or trying to teach them to stand on a washing machine or table. Much more steady which keeps them much more calm.
 

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I have dropped my Bravura Mini and it has endured!


Through great crowd sourcing we are really accumulating a good library of information here. Does anyone want it to be a sticky?
 

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This is a lot of great information. My countdown is now 7 days :). I have my brushes as recommended by breeder, combs should arrive this week. What is the most important thing to start with on a 10 week old puppy (standard)? I've read on here a couple places that line brushing everyday is important- problem is I didn't find a good description (maybe I'm searching wrong?). Can someone describe for me?
 

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I have dropped my Bravura Mini and it has endured!
The groomer I used to take Babykins to dropped her Bravura and a piece broke off that hold the blade on.

PaninisMom, lots of things will break if they fall from a few feet - I wouldn't let that stop you from buying a quality mini-clipper. I have both a Bravura and a miniArco which is very similar to the miniBravuro and is from the same manufacturer. When they are not in use, I store them in a drawer. When I'm using them I keep them safe on top of a storage container next to my grooming table.



Do get your poodle puppy used to the high velocity blow dryer or a regular blow dryer. Even if you don't groom your dog at home, it's a good to be prepared to be able to wash and dry your dog yourself at home. If you are grooming your dog yourself, a high velocity dryer is well worth the investment and you can find good ones at a reasonable price.
 

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From the other side - I so wish I had done my grooming when Asta was a pup. I was a new poodle owner and I guess I was worried about so many other things and grooming kinda was in the back seat. Puppy owners don't make my mistake! Groom often, shave their faces regularly and handle their feet and tails.

Asta these days will put up with grooming but it is not his favorite thing - and sometimes he lets me know. I have to take a very firm stance with him now when grooming - I always win. He has gotten better with time, but believe me you don't want to try convincing a grown poodle that grooming is a good thing - Teach your pups.

Lily I totally agree that this should be a sticky.
 

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Ditto - I have dropped both Bravuras several times - butterfingers + wiggly puppy - both are fine although I upgraded to the steel comb attachments after breaking the side teeth off the plastic ones...
 

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From the other side - I so wish I had done my grooming when Asta was a pup. I was a new poodle owner and I guess I was worried about so many other things and grooming kinda was in the back seat. Puppy owners don't make my mistake! Groom often, shave their faces regularly and handle their feet and tails.

Asta these days will put up with grooming but it is not his favorite thing - and sometimes he lets me know. I have to take a very firm stance with him now when grooming - I always win. He has gotten better with time, but believe me you don't want to try convincing a grown poodle that grooming is a good thing - Teach your pups.

Lily I totally agree that this should be a sticky.
Agree with this 100% - every single day you have to handle and groom something - even if it's just lifting paws - or brushing or 2 minutes worth of looking at them on the grooming surface while they have to stand still. Louie doesn't love grooming (who does) but falls asleep rolling his eyes... my biggest issue right now is that he wants to sleep lying down (and he barely can keep his eyes open) and that works beautifully for parts of the grooming process - feet - head - body - but to get the legs done in the back and the belly is kinda hard...I used to groom mainly when he was a tuckered out pup - for least resistance - but now I will have to switch my strategy I think to when he is more awake.
 

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Thank you for this info. It's very helpful. I find myself checking PF almost every day now :) For someone who has never used clippers on a dog, would it be wise to even try grooming the face and feet?
 
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