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Grooming With Love: Desensitizing Your Puppy

 

While the forefront of your puppy’s life is happiness, cuddles, and playtime, grooming as well plays a crucial role that will carry out into their adult life. Yet, if your puppy squirms at the sight of a brush or nail trimmers, grooming can quickly become a stressful ordeal for the both of you! That’s where grooming desensitization steps in to transform grooming sessions into moments of calm and connection.

 

Spotting grooming-related fear in your puppy is the first step towards combat their fears and feel more at ease. It may be as subtle as a wiggle away from the brush or as obvious as a growl or snap whenever the clipper comes near. While this can be startling, these signs of discomfort are your pup’s way of saying to you, “I need help feeling safe.”

 

Here are the steps to turn grooming into a dread chore to a bonding experience!

 

·      Starting grooming desensitization as soon as possible is always best! You don’t need a grooming appointment to get started as you can begin by handling your puppy’s paws, ears, mouth, legs and always praise with treats and gentle encouragement to create positive associations.

 

·      Introduce grooming tools gradually. Let your puppy smell and check out any grooming equipment, like their brush or nail clippers and slowly begin to use them and reward them often. Always end on a positive note when your puppy is still at ease and comfortable and begin to make each session a bit longer if your puppy is showing more comfortability.

 

·      Celebrate every small victory with praise and treats! All of this is new to your puppy and can be scary at first, so every moment of cooperation is a win!

 

·      Be patient and understanding, your puppy won’t become a grooming pro overnight, but with consistent effort, you’ll start to reap the positive benefits.

 

·      Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of professionals if you are struggling. Call your local groomer and see what they do to create positive experiences for puppies or speak to a certified professional trainer that can help! Sometimes a fresh prescriptive can make all the difference.


With time, patience, and a lot of love, you’ll help your puppy see that grooming as a special time to bond with their favorite humans, not as a scary experience. And remember that it’s not just about your puppy looking the best, it’s about fostering their confidence, strengthening their bond, and establishing healthy grooming habits that will benefit them for years to come. 



Pictured: Piper enjoying a bath at Scout's Honor

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