I’ve been meaning to make a start on trimming Kasper for…months and months.
When we first adopted Kasper at 9 months old, his previous owners had never taken him to the groomers before. The best thing you can do with a puppy that’s going to be groomed when older is to take them when they’re young, before they need grooming at all. Bring lots of cookies or even higher valued treats, such as cheese or cooked meats. Let them explore things, say hi to the staff, inspect the scary implements. Keep it short and very sweet.
You can also follow this protocol at the vets, too, although as vets do have to do painful things such as microchipping and neuters, there’s always the chance your puppy will fall out of love with them!
Anyway, back to Kasper. Back when we were total dog noobs, we thought we’d take Kasper to the groomers. We’d only had him for one week (doh!) and we didn’t check out the groomers before hand (double doh)! It was our local pet shop, and although I knew she was good with small pets I had no idea how knowledgeable she was with dogs.
We left Kasper with her. When we returned an hour later, Kasper’s fur had been massacred! There were short bits, long bits and in between bits. The pet shop owner said he hadn’t like having his fur trimmed, and he had been flat out terrified of the shower and dryer. There you have it people, take your pups to the groomers as puppies!!
Ever since then I have been doing all Kasper’s grooming myself. Partly because it’s so much easier for me to counter condition him to being groomed, and partly because I really don’t trust groomers to have the time to help Kasper feel comfortable. Or, in some cases, the dog knowledge.
It’s been over four years since Kasper’s first experience at being groomed, and he’s come a long way since then. He still not a huge fan of having his hair cut, but he tolerates it well. Whereas it used to be a two person job (I’d snip away whilst my partner continuously fed Kasper kibble) I can now do it on my own.
I trim his fur in short bursts, never more than ten minutes at a time, and always when he has been exercised and is relaxed. A few days ago I trimmed the fur on his paws for the first time. They had been looking really shabby, and were bugging me. Fur was exploding from between his toes and the bottom of his feet.
I thought Kasper would be much more unsettled with me snipping around his toes, but he did real good. They look much nicer now!
I also trimmed the fur at the very base of his tail. For some reason that patch of fur always grows faster than anywhere else, resulting in a thick patch of curls! Here’s all the fur I stole from him; the pile on the left is from his paws, and the pile on the right from the tail base.
After I’d finished bothering him with the scissors I took him outside and gave him a good thorough brush. I don’t do this nearly as often as I should, and I’m lucky he doesn’t need too much grooming!
Likewise Kasper used to hate being brushed (he would bat the brush away, try to chew it or roll onto his back in surrender) – now he comes running when I pick up the brush. My dad was once visiting and picked up Kasper’s brush, and Kasper raced to his feet and sat swishing his tail 🙂
He looks a little smarter now. Just a little. I still want to get his fur a little shorter before summer really begins.
I also need to work up the courage to trim his nails; luckily I haven’t had to do it so far as both pups keep them short on walks. I’ve worked extensively with both pups on having their paws handled, and with Kasper I’ve even worked with the nail clipper. I can touch it to his nails and apply pressure…but I’ve never taken the plunge and actually cut his nails.
I find it terrifying, especially as most his nails are black. All of Zoey’s are almost translucent, making it really easy to spot the quick. The one and only time I’ve ever cut one of Kasper’s nails, not a ‘normal’ nail but a dew claw, I cut the quick. Kasper didn’t mind half as much as me but…yeah, scarred for life! 🙂
Anyway, I don’t think Kasper finds grooming too traumatic anymore. Here’s where he was five minutes after his ‘ordeal’ 😉
Oh, I have only just noticed Zoey in ‘her’ camping chair in the background!