Owning a puppy for the first time is both an exciting and challenging experience. One of the main highlights here is grooming the doggo for the first time – first bath, first brush, first nail clipping. All of these can be messy, especially for a doggo that has never experienced the splash before. However, for dog owners, the question is this: at what age can you groom a puppy?
Remember, the first grooming session with your Pitty is crucial for some reasons. First, you’ll introduce the pup to new stimuli. Depending on how you do it, the doggo may associate the experience as a positive or a negative one.
As pups develop their fears at this point, it’s important that grooming becomes a worthwhile session. If not, you’ll be mired with pawing and struggling for the years to come.
At what age should you groom a puppy?
Experts recommend that you wait until your doggo turns eight weeks old. This way, the pup has lactated well and has mingled with its litter properly.
Also, I recommend that you establish familiarity between your pup and its new home. Too much of new stuff can overwhelm and scare a little pupper.
What age to groom a puppy? In my opinion, the best age for first-time grooming for puppies is around 12 weeks or the time when the pooch got its second round of shots.
Still, I recommend that you start slowly with the process. In professional standards, dog grooming includes bathing, brushing, blow drying, trimming, clipping, and so on. For pups that are being groomed for the first time, it’s not ideal to give them a full trim.
Why is this so? Trimming requires your doggo to stand still. And with a young pup, you simply can’t expect it to follow your commands for an hour and a half. Just imagine asking a one-year-old to keep still while you trim its hair. It’s too much to ask and the risk can turn disastrous.
Still, it’s important that you introduce grooming to a puppy before it turns six months old. At this age, the doggo would have fully established its fears. And since the older pup isn’t used to the stimuli of grooming, it will be problematic and a challenge, even for professional groomers.
How long should you groom a Pitbull pup?
The ideal session shouldn’t last longer than 45 minutes. Make grooming time as fast as possible but as equally gentle. As a medium-sized breed, Pitbull pups are relatively smaller than other doggos.
Also, if you’re not confident that you can groom your pup for the first time, it’s best to tap the help of a professional groomer. After that, your pooch may need to have succeeding grooming sessions every eight weeks depending on the condition.
Still, some pups may adjust better to lengthy sessions where it’s allowed to lick and sniff the tools. This way, the process won’t feel as restricted as it is. So at what age can you groom a puppy? Not after it turns six months old.
First time to groom a Pitty? Here’s Papa Kleb on his first time giving his Pitbull a bath:
What happens during puppy grooming?
Usually, this starts with a quick bath. Professional groomers will use only no-tears puppy shampoo. After that, the doggo will be blow dried until its coat is brushed properly.
When it comes to Pitbulls, coat brushing is much easier, although you should pay attention to possible irritation on which they are very susceptible.
Next, the groomer will perform spot trims. This will include face trims and feet trims. These sanitary trims ensure that the fur on your pet’s feet won’t mat and that its face isn’t mired with overgrown fur and whiskers.
These are the usual process for first-time puppy grooming. The groomer may ask you to bring the pup back after a month or two for maintenance grooming.
Wondering how professional dog grooming works? Here’s a day in the life of a dog groomer:
Your role during professional grooming
At this point, we have to factor in the behavior of your dog. Some would be best groomed without their owners on their side. If this is the case, wait until the groomer call you once the session is over. It’s not good for your pup to hear your voice or see you mid-grooming. The pooch may get over-excited and panicky.
But if the groomer asked you to stand by, make sure that you observe the grooming process properly.
Most groomers will teach you the proper way of brushing your dog’s coat or bathing it.
If you’ve groomed the pup at home, it’s still advisable to ask the opinion of a professional groomer. As much as these people aren’t miracle workers, they are still more skilled in handling these tasks. At some point, you may miss some parts that only a groomer can notice.
After all, it’s not just about what age to groom a puppy. If you’re planning to groom at home, here’s a step-by-step process that you can follow:
How to make your pup love grooming
It all boils down to how you introduce the process. Don’t force a dog to do what it doesn’t want to do. If you do this during grooming, the pooch will just hate it and it will give a fight the next time.
Consider grooming as part of your puppy’s training. By exposing the doggo to the restraint and new feeling of being handled, it will only take a few months until it gets used to it.
I suggest that you keep some treats handy. If the doggo lets you brush its coat without fighting back, let a snack slip. Do this with other grooming processes. Still, don’t overfeed or spoil your pooch. The treats should go away after a few grooming sessions.
Here are more ways to teach your pup to love grooming:
*Get your puppy used to touch
What age can you groom a puppy? The first step is to let your puppy associate handling with nice things. You can give the pooch a treat if he lets you wash his back and face.
Remember, slow your roll. If your pooch snarls or bites, you might have gone too fast. Start with the chest and back until your Pittie pup relaxes. Once your doggo is used to this, move on to more sensitive areas like the face, paws, tail, and their bottom.
Continue desensitizing your dog to grooming tools. Remember to take your time on some notorious items like nail clippers and trimming scissors.
*Let the puppy get used to restraint
During random moments, try putting your hands on both sides of your pup’s ribs. Do this as gentle as possible and observe how your pup will react.
This will simulate the restraint your doggo will experience once it’s on your tub. The pup may try to wriggle. If it does, loosen up your hold a bit until the pooch relaxes. Don’t forget to give a treat once your doggo relaxes on your hands.
*Move its limbs
Puppies hate it when you touch their limbs. And since this will happen during grooming, it’s just right that you made them accustomed to it.
Start by gently touching your Pitbull pup’s paws. If he doesn’t react negatively, try lifting each limb as if shaking hands with your doggo.
You have to do the same with the ears, tail, head, and mouth. All these would be touched during grooming and veterinary check-ups.
*Introduce the equipment properly
Puppies can get scared on the buzz of a nail grinder, feel of the blow dryer, and the presence of just about any grooming tool. You’d want to let your Fido realize that all of these are harmless.
Just hold each of the tools near the doggo’s face and let it lick and sniff. This way, they will get familiar with the item. Each time you will show a tool, give the pooch a small treat. After a few repetitions, try using the tool; say a brush, with short strokes.
Here’s a short video in training your dog to love grooming:
Puppy grooming checklist
So you know how to do it, but do you have the right tools to get it done? Before you perform home grooming, here are some things that you should shop for:
✔️Brush and comb. For your Pittie, use a bristle brush and a medium-tooth comb. These are necessary to keep your pooch’s coat in check.
✔️Nail grinder or clipper. Depending on what works for you and your dog, always get a trimmer for your dog’s toenails.
✔️Dog toothbrush and toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste in cleaning your Pitty’s teeth. Always purchase a dedicated dog toothbrush and toothpaste that are fluoride-free. Also, dog toothpaste is flavored and made to be ingestible.
✔️Dog shampoo. Pitbulls have sensitive skin so always get a pH-balanced and hypoallergenic shampoo with all-natural ingredients.
These items will get you started with puppy grooming. If you know how to trim your dog’s coat, you can purchase trimming scissors. Still, this is something I prefer leaving to the experts.
Are you doing puppy grooming right?
It’s true that professional grooming can cost a lot. This is why most dog owners prefer to grooming their doggo at home. However, it’s easy to miss some aspects when you don’t have professional guidance.
Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you should visit a professional groomer now:
🐕Your pup has a skunk smell
🐕You can’t handle expressing anal sacs
🐕Your pup’s coat starts to mat
🐕There’s weird smell on your pup’s ears
🐕You hit the quick while clipping your dog’s nails (visit a vet too)
Even if your pooch isn’t exhibiting the following problems, it’s still ideal to tap the help of a professional every once in a while.
What to avoid when grooming a puppy
To avoid accidents and problems while grooming your pooch, here are some things you should avoid:
🐕Not opening the drains
If you’re bathing your pup in the tub, make sure that the drain is open or the water level isn’t too high. Contrary to beliefs, not all dogs know how to swim right away.
🐕Not brushing before bathing
Even if your Pitty has thin fur, it’s still important that you brush it off before getting wet. This way, you can remove dust and muck that may stick further if wetted.
🐕Skipping groom time during winter
A lot of dog owners think that during winter, they are not supposed to bathe their dog. Even if it’s cold, your pup can still get dirty and smelly. You may also need to brush and trim their coat a little to manage the shedding.
You shouldn’t groom your pup just when it suits you. Always schedule and allot time for this activity. As much as your dog can go on for weeks without a bath, you’re still required to brush its coat regularly. Also, you should brush the pup’s teeth at least twice a week.
🐕Being too hasty
Some pup owners just want to get grooming done. This also means that they sacrifice thoroughness. It’s important that you pay attention to small details like the small fold of skin, ears, neck, tails, and other spots. You’ll never know when a parasite might be hiding in it.
🐕Punishing your dog for not cooperating
Remember, grooming is unchartered territory for pups. Not until you train them, they will be scared of it for life. Also, it’s not fair that you punish the pooch when it tries to escape. Doing so will only make him fear grooming.
🐕Letting the dog out
So you successfully finished grooming and as a reward for your cooperative pup, you let it outside. And in just a few minutes, the doggo came back covered in mud. It’s best that you take your pup for a short walk before groom time so it won’t come home all covered with muck.
Grooming a puppy is different than doing it with an adult dog. You need to practice patience and care to ensure that it will be a positive experience for your pet.
If you’re not sure, it hurts less to pay for a professional grooming service. This way, you won’t end up hurting your dog plus you can skip the hassle of grooming the pooch on your own.
At what age can you groom a puppy? Aside from knowing this, you should also be armed with the knowledge and tools to succeed on your pup’s first splash on the tub.