Grooming Starts Early (or, It Should...)
At PVSP, we start introducing grooming to our puppies early. I often times see other breeders sending their puppies to their new homes ungroomed. This is a HUGE PROBLEM!
Grooming will be a normal, and should be routine, part of all Standard Poodles lives (this also includes any Poodle mix breed as well). Every Poodle's coat needs daily maintenance to avoid matting and to prevent unhealthy skin conditions. Getting them used to grooming should start early and here's why.
Puppies are only scared of things foreign to them. Our puppies are introduced to the clipper "buzz and feel" at days old. We turn the clippers on and rub the butt end (not the blade end) on the puppies so that they become very familiar to the clippers by the time they are ready for a shave. They have also been in the room when the adults are fully groomed (this includes bath, blow-dry which is very loud, and clipper work). So, while being in the room, they are becoming familiar to grooming noise and practices early on.
At 5 weeks old, they receive their first groom which only includes the face shave. We then do feet and sanitary the next week. This allows each puppy to have short grooming sessions and we try our best to make it enjoyable. We give treats during and after and sweet talk them during the process. They are introduced to water at 4 weeks old and have water play most days, especially when it's hotter temps outside. A full bath won't take place until 6-7 weeks and includes a towel dry. We will wash them every few days after, even if it's just a water bath and no soap is used (we don't want to over bathe and strip their coats of necessary oils). Before going home, they have been fully groomed (washed, blow dried, clipped) twice- this is the whole process but cut up in to sessions so that no one grooming session takes more than 5-10 minutes.
By gradually doing these things, our puppies are not scared and should go home understanding appropriate behavior on the grooming table. Sure, they will need reminders every once in a while, they are just puppies after all. But, they should not be afraid or become afraid of any grooming session. If they do become fearful, an evaluation of the puppy's groomer needs to be performed.
Other breeders who do not practice early grooming on puppies are doing their puppies a dis-service. Those babies have enough going on and enough other things to stress about during the first few days to a week in their new homes. Grooming and brushing should not be one of them.
I enjoy teaching families about grooming and am available for one-on=one and group grooming sessions to help you become more familiar with the process and what you should be doing with your puppy. Even if you didn't get a puppy from us, please don't hesitate to ask me questions!
Check out our "Shopping List" page for grooming tool recommendations too!
Below is a video of one of our Mia&Bunker Puppies at 4 weeks old being de-sensitized to the feel of a clipper. I had our 5 year old son (don't mind the video-graphing skills lol) record the video of me to help demonstrate what we do to help our babies become familiar with clippers so that when it's go time, they won't be scared at all. Enjoy!