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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?
I was in your shoes (had dogs all my life - they never needed more grooming than a bath) and had to learn from scratch. You should start on day 1 - at first just turn on the clipper and run it with the wrong side up along the body. 20 seconds if that - and do that as often as you can. The first time you use it do it on the body. Ideally your pup already had its face and feet trimmed at least once at the breeders. My breeder sent me a video of him having his face done - which helped me to see that he was fine. Mine is more ticklish in his feet than on his face, but I was more freaked out about doing his face than his feet... I was grooming with my hands shaking at first - and calming myself and him with this sing-songey voice singing along- it was quite funny - but I got used to it and he got used to me doing it. Don't show that you are scared so your pup does not pick up on it! Friend on my said to shave my legs with the clippers so I can see there is almost no way to cut yourself (and if you do it is just a nick like with shaving - it really is no drama at all). I watched every video I could find on here and on YouTube and it helped a lot! And ask questions - lots of very knowledgeable and helpful people here..
 

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as a groomed puppies are often started of with just a trim on the sanitary area, pads and face. it best to keep the session short and often. I agree the face should always be shaved on puppies even if left a little longer. ensure you get your hands all over the puppy daily, paying a lot of attention to the feet (between pads and nail) as they are a big problem for most the dogs I groom. give the coat a brush everyday, all over.
 

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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.
My retired female breeders came to me when they were around 7 years old, so their habits were locked in. My largest spoo - who weighed in at 70 lbs -- would always fall asleep when I groomed her. I could hardly believe it and it always made me laugh. This was great for trimming feet and face. But when I wanted to groom the other side of her body, it was like picking up a noodle. My other two girls were NOT so easy!
 

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Teddy doing well with unskilled Mommy doing grooming

Teddy, our mini phantom sable, is having to deal with grooming at home while we wait for all of his puppy shots to be finished. I had never groomed a dog before but watched several YouTube videos and read lots of Internet postings before beginning...along with this site

To begin with, I was nervous so that transferred to Teddy but he did a better job than I did. I did end up with a "divet" or two but overall he has had three grooming sessions and is doing better with each one.

I feel much more comfortable with both the clipper and the various scissors...and have been able to trim all of him including his face and feet. Hopefully some future groomer will appreciate all of the hard work we have both put in.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I am sure your pup's future groomer will appreciate the early work to get him comfortable with the process. I was super happy with how good Javelin was based on the early grooming his breeder did.
 

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reiterating on consistency-keep at it

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.
I would like to reiterate Moni’s recommendations on #4 consistency ! Short sessions and do not let too much time slip in between!

I have a shihpoo who is 14 months old now. When I first got him I shaved his face, feet and periodically did his body. Then I let it go on his face for a few months and just did his feet when I needed to clip/dremel his tiny nails. Now I can not get him to relax for me to do his face! I can pretty much do his legs, feet,..body… but he refuses to let me do his face. He is not even 6 lbs but he sure controls the situation! I remember thinking when I first did it … “this is easy”!… LOL, not anymore!! My little Lion King has gotten the upper hand on me and I need to start over. I have the time now to invest in upkeep… I just need to be sure I do it!!!
 

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Thanks so much for this thread! We have 2 dogs right now, a mini poodle and a terrier mix. We had 4 until this summer when we lost our 2 older dogs, both 15. We’ve been taking the poodle to a local groomer every 2 months, with me doing in between baths, trims, sanitary and face with scissors. Our terrier gets clipped once every year whether she needs it or not.

We’ve had it pretty easy, but in 2 weeks we have 2 9 week old Spoo puppies coming(squee...puppies!). I need to get clippers and the nerve I’ll need to maintain the new girls in between professional grooming sessions. After reading this, I’m not nearly as nervous. Thank you again!
 
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