Today I struggled with grooming a young dog , who had a deep fear of grooming and it translated as aggressiveness when I tried to groom him. As a self employed groomer I can’t afford for a dog bite to force me to take time off, so in cases like this I have to use a muzzle and cone to prevent me or the dog getting hurt while I groom the body. However when it comes time to do the head and face, there isn’t a lot I can do.

To avoid this situation every occurring with your dog, I recommend getting your dog to the groomers as soon its had its jabs and is allowed out. For puppies this will be around 3-4 months old. This is a key time in their socialisation and is ideal to get them used to the idea of grooming. Choose a groomer and stick with them, at least for their intros and first few grooms, they’ll take to it easier the better they get to know a person. I personally feel, a one to one groomer is better to start a puppy off on their grooming life, no other dogs around distracting them, potentially frightening them and they will have the full attention of the groomer.

Make sure they are started off slowly, just a visit for the first time, if its a salon, take the puppy to meet the groomer, let it have a sniff around the room while you talk to the groomer, let the groomer cuddle play and treat puppy. If you like the idea of the groomer coming to you, ask if they could stop in to meet you on a day they are in your area for puppy to look around the van. Then you can book a puppy introduction, I offer this from £25 (depending on size of dog and amount of coat to dry.) Puppy gets lots of cuddles and treats, nails trimming, ears cleaning, a gentle bath in puppy shampoo and a blow dry, I can also tidy up face and feet if needed. For puppies that take to it well i then book them a full groom for 4-6 weeks time, some puppies will need more than one intro session to get used it it before they are ready for a full groom. You can stay while puppy is groomed or not, depending on how puppy takes to it.

There are lots of things you can do at home to get puppy used to being groomed too. Right from when you get them, get them used to have their paws picked up and nails touched, get them used to have their ears looked at and holding their face still from the hair under the chin. When you are blow drying your hair, have puppy in the room with you, with its crate or bed/safe place so that it gets used to the noise from a place that they feel secure. Never play chasing games with the hoover!
If you are concerned that puppy might be developing issues with the clipper noise, get it used to being in the same room as something that makes a buzzing round (electric toothbrush, mens electric razor, epilator etc). Then with lots of treats and rewards when puppy does what you want, get it used to the buzzing near them, build this up slowly over a few weeks and by the next groom puppy should be more than happy with the clipper.