A Dog’s Guide to a Healthy Holiday Diet

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The whole family is gathered.  Everyone is having a great time sitting at the table, eating and drinking and laughing.  Then, out of the corner of your eye, you spot him: sitting just out of view, or maybe hunched under the table.  He’s got those big, sad puppy eyes, and he keeps licking his lips and looking at you hopefully.  It couldn’t hurt to give him a little bit of your meal.  The holidays are all about sharing, after all.  But wait!  Before you prepare a plate for your pooch, remember that their digestive systems aren’t the same as ours.  Things you wouldn’t even consider as dangerous foods can cause a real health risk to your dog!  So what is and isn’t safe?

No: Onions, Scallions & Garlic, Nutmeg, Sage

thanksgiving02Onions, scallions, and garlic are a seasoning in most foods, especially holiday staples like stuffing and mashed potatoes.  But they’re not very good for pups!  However delicious we might find them, they contain sulfides, which are very toxic to dogs. Nutmeg, found in popular desserts like pumpkin and apple pies, can cause central nervous system problems such as seizures. Sage is less dangerous, but can still give your dog quite the upset stomach.

Yes: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley, Cinnamon & Turmeric

Not only do these herbs and spices give your meal that extra pizzazz, they may also put a skip in your pup’s step.  Many of these are anti-inflammatory and/or antioxidants, as well as being high in various vitamins and minerals.  You may want to look up their properties to see if they fit your dog’s needs, but when you’re seasoning that roast feel free to sprinkle a bit of these onto your dog’s kibble!

No: Wine & Beer (for people)

thanksgiving04This one should be a no-brainer, but many people think that a single lap or two of wine and/or beer is harmless.  Remember, though, that alcohol is technically poison and a dog’s digestive system isn’t as hardened to it as ours is.  The mild symptoms we see with a healthy 150-pound adult human can and will quickly become lethal in your 50-pound canine companion.

Yes:  Wine & Beer (for dogs)

thanksgiving05If you really feel the need to share a Budweiser with Bud or a Cabernet with Coco, there are still options!  There are, believe it or not, a handful of companies that make drinks for your furkids!  Beers are generally more of a dog-safe soup broth, while the wines are made with peppermint and chamomile to help mellow your pup out.

No: Turkey Skin, Ham & Cooked Bones

thanksgiving06Turkey skin sure is tasty!  It seems like a safe treat for Fido, doesn’t it?  But turkey skin retains all those juices that the turkey itself is cooked in, and remember that all that onion and garlic doesn’t sit well with pups.  Furthermore, fatty foods like skin and ham can lead to pancreatitis.  Cooked bones are pretty well-recognized as an unsafe treat for dogs.  Not only are they a serious choking hazard, but further damage can be done after your dog’s managed to swallow it.  The splinters can cut or tear the inside of a dog’s intestines, and larger pieces can cause a serious bowel obstruction.

Maybe: Raw, Meaty Bones

thanksgiving07Did you know that, although cooked bones are out of the question, raw bones are generally safe for dogs?  As long as it isn’t a mammal’s weight-bearing bone (leg bones from a pig or cow, for example), uncooked bones don’t splinter.  The rule of thumb is generally making certain that the meaty bone is large enough that your dog cannot swallow the whole piece and must take their time to chew it – a turkey neck would be much too small for a Labrador, but would probably be fine for a Jack Russell.  However, now may not be the right time to introduce raw to your pup’s meals if they’ve never had it before.  Like any diet, raw diets take lots of research and acclimation.

Yes: Cooked Turkey Flesh 

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Turkey is a great meat for dogs!  It’s lean and is a wonderful source of protein.  Breast meat is especially best, as it doesn’t absorb as much of the flavor we previously mentioned that the skin retains.  Be very cautious, however, of leaving the turkey carcass in reach of your dogs.  It smells amazing and it can often make your dog second-guess their manners.  No turkey?  No problem!  Lots of pet stores carry jerky for pups.

No: Chocolate, Dough & Batter, or Nuts

thanksgiving09Everyone – even people who don’t have dogs – knows that chocolate is a dog’s kryptonite.  The purer the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pup.  But other dessert ingredients don’t make for very good dog snacks, either.  Dough and batter can rise in your canine’s stomach, causing severe abdominal pain, bloating, and other intestinal issues.  Nuts come with their own set of problems, and different kinds of nuts can cause different issues: upset stomach, liver failure, kidney failure, and even something called “walnut poisoning” that can cause mild to moderate neurological symptoms.

Yes: Cooked Sweet Potato & Pumpkin

thanksgiving010Not only are the vitamins and antioxidants in sweet potato and pumpkin excellent for your dogs on a regular basis, you may want to keep some aside for post-Thanksgiving pick-me-ups!  They are filled with fiber that helps even out both diarrhea and constipation in dogs.  In fact, you can make your dog some delicious sweet potato chews right alongside your slow-roasted turkey: cut your sweet potato in slices 1/3″ thick and bake them for  about three hours at 250 degrees.  Also, keep in mind that if you buy canned pumpkin for your pooch, it should be 100% pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.

thanksgiving011With the extra hubbub of visitors your dog may or may not have seen in a long time and the air filled with delicious scents, it can be hard for your pup to remember how to behave.  Other items like toothpicks from appetizers and left-over corn cobs are items that are both enticing and extremely dangerous for dogs.  Above all, as with many things in life, moderation is key!  If it’s more than a snack-size treat, it’s probably too much.

The holidays are an awesome time to bring family together.  But your dogs are family, too. So remember that they’re depending on you to keep their best interest at heart!

What the Heck Is a Puppy Cut?!

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“Puppy Cut” – we get asked almost daily to do this trim from owners of a plethora of breeds from Airedales to Yorkshire Terriers – and every mixed breed inbetween! The problem is, however, is that using the term “puppy cut” gives your groomer very little information on how you’d like your dog groomed.

PoodleStacked2The origin of the puppy cut lies in poodle grooming. As a puppy poodle begins to mature into an adult poodle, they are prepped to eventually get fancy poodle clips like you see at dog shows with bracelets and jackets. The intermediate trim is one of medium length where the legs are slightly fuller than the body, the head and tail both have poms, their face and feet are shaved clean, and some hair is left on the back of the dog’s neck to begin to form the crest. This differs from the kennel clip which does not leave any crest hair on the neck, the legs are the same length as the body, and often the overall length of the trim is considerably shorter than a puppy cut.

ShihTzuPuppyCutOutside of the world of poodle grooming, a “puppy cut”, “teddy bear trim” or “kennel clip” all just imply a simple, cute haircut that maintains the same length over the body, legs and the top of the head (how a puppy’s coat looks when they’re young). Ears and tail can be trimmed however you like, and the face is usually fluffy and round. The length of the hair on the body and legs is usually short but still with the appearance of being fluffy. I frequently suggest roughly a 1/2 inch of hair left on the dog if the owner is unsure. This length is manageable but rarely shows skin through the hair like shorter trims do.

yorkie-groomingRemember – as long as the hair is not matted, you can ask for whatever haircut you want! If you don’t like it, we can do something different the next time – dog hair is one of nature’s great renewable resources.

What’s The Matter With Matting?

 

What is Matting?

“Matting” refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat.  If a coat is not properly and/or frequently brushed, loose and live hair become embedded in large masses.  Sometimes mats can be combed out but, if left too long, it is impossible to do without seriously harming the animal.

Taz beforeMats can form in both the outer coat as well as the deeper undercoat.  Sometimes severe mats form in the undercoat and are unnoticeable because of a heavy outer coat.  If left completely unattended, a pet’s fur can become matted to such an extent that the only recourse is to shave the entire coat.  (This is an animal we would refer to as “pelted”, as the mats are so tangled together they look like an animal’s pelt.)
As groomers, we are presented with two options when given a matted dog: we can either shave the dog or de-mat the dog.  De-Matting is the process of removing the mats from a pet’s coat by very careful brushing techniques.
Dangers of De-Matting
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrushing matted fur causes live and dead hairs to be pulled out of the skin which is painful to your dog. Even mild matting can cause your pet a great deal of pain. Tight mats can cut off blood supply to the outer layers of skin on extremities such as toes and tips of the ears, plus deny regular air circulation to the skin.  Skin denied fresh air and stimulation from regular brushing becomes quite unhealthy.  The skin will become irritated, open sores can form, even organic matter – like weeds and stickers – can become embedded in the skin. Mats can contain urine, feces, and even fly larvae that further irritate the skin. And even if we can de-mat, it may cause your dog’s skin to become irritated and itchy. Remember; sometimes these mats and their consequences can be completely hidden from view. Some severely matted pets may require the attention of a veterinarian.
How Do I Know If My Pet Can Be Safely De-Matted?
Mats03In most cases, it’s about the volume and tightness of the matting. Many pets will have small areas of mats, such as the chest, belly, in between the back legs, arm pits, collar area, behind the ears. If your pet is matted in a couple of these areas, often we can de-mat or shave the area and blend it in to the rest of the coat.
Insides of back legs, belly and armpits are areas we often shave and it’s unnoticeable unless the pet rolls over and exposes their belly. If your pet has extensive matting on the bulk of the body, outside/back of the back legs, extensively on the front legs, these are areas that we must either de-mat or shave short. If the mats are not tight to the skin or are clumps of blown undercoat we may be able to de-mat them. Dogs, like people, have varying levels of tolerance for discomfort. If we feel we cannot de-mat safely and without pain and irritation to your pet, our next step is to shave.
My Pet Is Too Matted to Safely De-Mat; Now What?
If we have determined that we cannot safely de-mat your pet without causing excessive pain, our only other option is to shave your pet.
matting03Shaving a matted coat is a delicate and slow process requiring experience and expertise.  In order to shave the mats, we must select a blade length short enough to fit between the mats and the dog’s skin – which can be a tight squeeze! A dog’s skin is thin like tissue paper, and dense mats can cause it to become loose due to the weight of the matting. Clippers can easily cut loose skin. After shaving, a pet may develop an itchy skin response. This can be due to irritation from the matting, or from circulation returning to areas which were constricted (this often occurs on pets with matted ears causing them to shake their head frequently). Owners should watch to ensure that constant scratching or head shaking does not cause the skin to become irritated. Some pets will also have areas that appear bald – this is from large amounts of hair becoming uprooted by the mats, and new growth being choked out.
We’ve Shaved Fluffy, How Do We Prevent This From Happening Again?
(b) comb outBrush, brush, brush! Regular, thorough brushing is the only way to prevent mats. If you don’t have the time to brush at home, then talk to your groomer about maintenance baths and brush outs. Most groomers offer a bath/brush, or “tidy up” for pets in between full grooms. If you go this route, plan on visiting your groomer every 2 weeks, more if your dog has an active outdoor lifestyle (and therefore gets dirty and matted faster). Another option  includes keeping your pup’s hair in a short (less than 1/2 inch) trim, which is easier to keep up with.
Mats02An added benefit is that you may see your pet’s attitude towards grooming improve. When a pet only goes to the groomer a few times a year to get matting brushed or shaved off, it makes their experience uncomfortable, and they view it as a random punishment they are forced to endure. On the other hand, dogs who are frequent flyers at the groomer’s learn that grooming is a pleasant, regular part of life – which is a win for everyone!

Talking the Talk: Dog Body Language, Part II

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Here at daycare, we’re all about love and not war!  We spend a lot of time introducing new pups to our existing “pack” and even more time making certain everyone has a good time with all their friends.  But just like any other environment, there’s always going to be a disagreement or two.  One of our many responsibilities as daycare supervisors is knowing how to keep the peace between our pups.  Canines give lots of signs and cues when they’re starting to feel uncomfortable with a situation, and we spend a lot of time learning what they are so we can keep daycare a fun, stress-free, positive environment.  The following is a primer on dissatisfied dogs.

(Part I of this series is an intro to play and can be found here.)

BodyLanguage18A lot of dogs tend to get a bad reputation as bossy troublemakers.  However, the truth is that dogs don’t actually want to have squabbles amongst each other.  They prefer to resolve conflicts instead of escalating them.  Mugen, the dark brown lab mix, and Remy, the corgi, are having a debate.  The lighter brown lab mix, Maggie, has always been a peace keeper.  She walks in between the two boisterous boys.  By putting herself in the middle, she’s signaling to them, “Hey, guys.  Let’s all calm down here.”  You can see that Remy is already willing to walk away from the situation.  Mugan gives Maggie a disappointed glance over his shoulder before walking in the other direction.  Being willing to be the middle man is a great skill for a dog to have; it means that they understand the value of balance within a group and want to help keep the status quo.

BodyLanguage05Dogs have quite a few ways of politely, but firmly, telling other dogs to simmer down.  Tonka, the white husky mix, is one of our long-time daycare attendees.  Juneau, the flat-coated retriever, is a young newcomer.  She’s very exuberant and extremely friend – common for the breed – but sometimes her zest for life is a bit overwhelming for her friends.  She’s been giving Tonka endless kisses and nose bumps for several minutes now and, while Tonka has been politely turning her head away, Juneau just doesn’t seem to get the message.  So Tonka does something called a muzzle grasp: gently putting her mouth around Juneau’s muzzle, she says, “We’re friends, but that’s enough.”  A direct reflection of behavior seen in the wild, canines also muzzle grasp to reinforce a bond of trust and friendship.  It’s a very flexible language!

BodyLanguage13Not every dog is so eager to be diplomatic, though.  To our four-legged friends, daycare is an awesome place with unique experiences.  While we provide plenty of toys so that everyone gets a turn, there’s always going to be someone who might not want to share!  Carol, the black lab, is standing over a tug-o-war toy.  Carol loves mothering younger dogs, but that means she feels that she gets to call the shots.  She may look innocent enough to the average person, but take a closer look!  Her head is down so that her neck is level with her spine.  Her floppy ears are flat against the sides of her head, and her eyebrows are furrowed.  You can see just a little of the white of her eye, and she is looking in the direction of the other dogs without looking them in the eye (this is called a hard stare).  Her lips are pulled forward over her teeth, almost like she just ate something sour (also known as a C-Pucker). These are all signs of a dog who is not pleased.  She is saying to her young puppy charges, “Listen, kid.  Back off.  I’ll play with you, but this toy is mine.”  In a situation like this, staff members will act the way Maggie did: walk in-between the dogs to diffuse tension.  We also take the toy away and give it to another dog.  This way, Carol sees that not sharing means she loses both her friends and her toy.

BodyLanguage04Which dog do you think is the unhappy one in this picture?  You might be surprised!  Some dogs take play very seriously.  Tuck, the fluffy black Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle mix on the bottom, looks awfully intimidating with his teeth out.  However, this is a very common playface for him!  He’s not being aggressive at all.  Hallie is the smaller black lab mix on top of him.  They were happily tussling on the floor right up until Carol shoved her nose into the middle of the game.  Hallie isn’t too impressed with this!  She freezes, stiffening her legs.  Her mouth is shut and her lips are pulled forward just a little.  She gives Carol a hard stare and says, “WHOAH!  You spooked me and it made me upset!  Don’t do that again!”

BodyLanguage16One of the reasons we are constantly watching the daycare dogs is that it can often be hard to judge a situation based on seeing just a few moments of the scene.  Context is incredibly important in any language, and dog language is no different!  Here, Rumor the Doberman looks quite terse.  We see the hard stare yet again, this time coupled with a bigger C-pucker and an almost unnoticeable wrinkling of her upper lip.  She is turned towards Chevy Mae, the red and white blur in the corner, and she looks like she means business.  But look a little closer.  Rumor is backed up into a corner, her body curved.  She is leaning ever so slightly away from Chevy Mae.  That’s because a few moments prior, Chevy Mae was taunting Rumor!  She trotted over to her, prancing in front of her and nosing her with an incessant need to tease and play.  Rumor showed many of the signs we’ve already discussed, but when Chevy Mae blissfully ignored her, Rumor pulls out the big guns to say, “LISTEN!  I mean it: buzz off!

Dog language is complex and layered, with each glance, prance, and wiggle signifying individual words that, when used together, complete the overall sentence of the scene. So it is important to understand each signal and what they mean, but even more important to understand what they mean all together as part of a canine conversation.

Stay tuned for Part III of our dog language series: Indecision and Fear!

 

Talking the Talk: Dog Body Language, Part I

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Isn’t it weird to think that dogs are the only species that has evolved directly beside us as human beings?  Whether it was for guarding, herding, hunting, or just to keep us company, every single dog breed was created because we needed them for one reason or another.  And yet, for someone who has been at their side for over 16,000 years, we’re not too fluent in their language!  While most people can take a look at a dog and tell if they’re generally scared or angry or happy, there are several smaller signals and motions that many of us may miss.  In fact, there are some subtleties to dog language that we are still learning!  Here at daycare, we spend a lot of time studying the nuances of dog body language.  It’s a critical skill that is invaluable when you are supervising a room filled with twenty (or more) dogs.  Here are some of the sentences and phrases we see every day from our own canine students:

BodyLanguage10Let’s start with something simple: Play!  Play behavior is usually very loose and wiggly, but it can change in style depending on the type of dog.  Bully breeds, for example, are more muscular dogs and tend to be pushy and loud when tussling with friends.  Retrievers, meanwhile, often prefer to have a toy in their mouth while they play.  Here, Max – the spotted spaniel mix – is laying on the ground and his mouth is slightly open while his lips are loose.  His front legs are slightly spread apart and not directly in front of his body, while his back legs are off to the side.  It’s not easy to get up from this position quickly, so Max is showing that he is comfortable and trusts Roxie, the Vizsla.  He’s saying, “Hi Roxie!  Won’t you come play with me?”

BodyLanguage09Then, Max rolls over.  Sometimes a dog presenting their belly is seen as a dog that might be afraid.  But Max is a very confident dog.  He is showing Roxie his belly to let her know that he isn’t a threat.  Roxie tends to be very assertive when she plays.  This isn’t necessarily a bad style of play; all dogs have different play styles, just like children.  Max knows that Roxie likes to be in charge and is letting her know that he’s alright with her calling the shots.  In return, Roxie gives him a sniff.  Dogs sniffing each other is a fairly well-known polite behavior, but a dog inviting a sniff is even more polite: it’s the difference between saying, “Hello,” and, “Good afternoon.”

BodyLanguage08Roxie responds perfectly!  She says, “Of course I’ll play with you!” with one of the most recognizable words in dog language.  With her forelegs out, head down, and rear high in the air with her tail straight up, she is showing a textbook play bow.  It’s a combination that’s unmistakable: the game is on!  Dogs will often play bow right in the middle of a game.  It lets their friends know that they’re still having lots of fun.  Max’s tail is held horizontally and is swishing back and forth.  He’s ready to go!

BodyLanguage15Sometimes play can get a little awkward.  We see this a lot with young dogs who are still working out the kinks of communication.  Xavier the Great Dane is a huge dog!  Though his body language is wonderful, especially for a ten month old puppy, his size sometimes intimidates his friends.  Mugen, the brown lab mix, climbs up onto the play gym to get a better survey of the situation.  His ears are forward and his legs are very straight and tense.  He’s saying, “Hey.  I want to play with you, but I want to be in charge!” Xavier, meanwhile, isn’t sure how to take his new, lower, perspective.  He lifts one paw off of the ground to say, “Please don’t be upset with me.  I just want to be friends!”  Raising one paw is one of many of what dog behaviorists call a calming signal, which a dog will usually display when they want the approaching dog or person to relax (or even outright cease and desist).

BodyLanguage01Like with any interaction, sometimes one dog wants one thing and the other dog wants something different.  Here, Pons – the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel on the left – really wants a friend to frolic with.  He bounds up to Gigi.  She’s a real rocket and loves to play, but usually on her own terms!  She is turning her head away from Pons.  It might seem rude to us, but it’s actually a very polite behavior!  This is another example of a calming signal.  Gigi is saying, “I see you, Pons.  But I’d rather not play with you right now.”

So what happens if dogs don’t always see eye-to-eye?  Just like us, dogs can and do have disagreements.  This is one of the most important, yet difficult, parts of supervising any group of dogs! We, as daycare staff, must recognize these behaviors and minimize those disagreements: making certain that the dogs understand both us and each other to then maximize the number of positive play interactions.

Come back next week when we take a closer look at some daycare disputes!

Booms Beware! Preventing Firework Freakouts

 

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Summer summer summer time!  If you love relaxing outside in the sun or swimming in a pond – and anything in between – this is the season for you.  And the beginning of summer is almost always heralded by one steadfast tradition: fireworks!  They’re exciting and amazing and beautiful… if you’re a human.  If you’re a dog, they’re loud and unexplained and terrifying.  While some dogs are indifferent, it’s not uncommon for dogs to go from uncertain to downright petrified when fireworks are going off.  In fact, July fifth is one of the busiest intake dates at shelters, as dogs frequently get frightened and bolt from their homes and yards.  But you don’t have to worry and your dog doesn’t have to be afraid!  Here are some tips and tricks to help you both get through the holiday hoopla safe and sound.

Fireworks02You may think that preparing your dog for fireworks begins a few hours before the festivities, but there are actually steps you can take starting right now!  First, find a recording of fireworks, something like this.  Play it at a very low volume for about ten minutes.  If he responds positively (which is by not responding at all) then provide your dog with whatever their favorite downtime activity is.  Maybe he likes to chomp on an antler, or perhaps he prefers a Kong stuffed with peanut butter.  Repeat this every other day or so, raising the volume just a tiny bit over the course of time.  This is called “counter-conditioning”: teaching a dog that something fun happens during a stressful event, thus making the event less stressful!  Remember; if at any point your dog shows signs of being distressed, stop the soundtrack for the day and start again the next day.  You want to set your furkids up for success!

Fireworks03As it gets closer to showtime, you may want to consider investing in some products that will make your pup’s life a little easier.  From ear muffs made just for your dog to shirts that swaddle your pup with deep-tissue anxiety relief, there are a multitude of items made to help your dogs weather the storm, both literal and rhetorical.  There’s something to be said about natural remedies, as well.  Rescue Remedy is a well known herbal supplement that many people have reported helps with anxiety in both people and dogs.  Essential oils like lavender, geranium, bergamot, and ylang ylang have all been commonly used for calming aromatherapy.  And of course, make certain your dog has an ID that clearly states their name and easier way to contact you!  If worst comes to worst, and your pup runs off into the night, you want to make certain they come back home as quickly as possible.

Fireworks04So you’ve done all your preparation and the fourth of July is upon you.  Early in the day, take your dog for a nice long walk or play a good long game of fetch.  A tired dog is a happy dog, and it’s harder to be stressed about fireworks when you can’t keep your eyes open!  If your dog is fond of Kongs, stuff one with peanut butter and freeze it (frozen peanut butter  takes longer to eat!).  Put on some calming music to help drown out the sound of the fireworks, like classical or smooth jazz.  Whatever you do, though, don’t bring your pup to the show! No matter how much more comfortable you think he might be with you, he certainly will be more comfortable in his own environment.  It’s hard to see our furry best friends so stressed out by something that gives us so much joy.  But taking the steps to ensure that your pup is safe and sound will make this time of year more enjoyable for both of you!

Pleasing Your Pampered Pooch: Making Grooming Fun for Your Puppy

 

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Congrats on your new puppy! Puppy needs your help to learn about all of the fun sights, smells and experiences he’ll encounter through adulthood. And if your puppy likes to get dirty (what puppy doesn’t?), he’ll likely visit a groomer at least once in his life. And if he’s a breed with a long or double coat, a visit to the groomers will be a regular necessity. Dogs aren’t born with a natural tolerance or understanding of the grooming process so it’s up to us to help them understand that it’s ok – and can even be fun!

copper.jpgTeaching your dog to accept and enjoy grooming begins very early. As soon as your little bundle of fluff joins your family, it’s important to teach them that handling is fun and rewarding. Play with their feet, their ears, their faces and their bums. Give lots of treats and praise – make it fun! Put your fingers in between their toes, lift one leg at a time into the air (being careful not to pull their leg outside of it’s normal range of motion), rub in between their eyes and rub the opening to their ear canal.

Don’t wait until your pup’s hair is beginning to tangle to teach them about brushing. Spend a few minutes every day running a comb through their hair. They’ll get used to the sensation so when you do encounter a tangle, your pup will hold still and let you gently work it out. Keep a brush by your couch, so when you’re watching TV and your pup is sleeping on your lap, you can take their collar off and spend a few minutes brushing their neck and ears – this is a common place for tangles.

brushing02If your dog has hair in between their eyes that will need to be trimmed, you can begin acclimating the to the process by gently rubbing the back of the comb (not the teeth) in between their eyes. Having a strange object there can be scary!  If your puppy has long hair and will eventually need an all over haircut, you can begin to desensitize them to the clippers using an electric toothbrush. Use the vibrating handle to gently rub your puppy, beginning near their rear end and working forward. The goal is to be able to rub your puppy all over – including feet, in between the eyes, and around the ear canal openings – with the vibrating toothbrush handle.

brushing03Many owners give their young puppies baths at home at first (puppies like to get dirty!). The same rules apply – go slowly and give lots of praise. Make sure the water is comfortably warm (not hot), and be prepared that the puppy may not accept having it’s face washed (avoid the eye area, even “tear-less” shampoos tend to sting!) , or being dried by a hand dryer. Be sure to thoroughly comb your puppy after his bath to prevent tangles.
Puppy02Don’t forget to give them lots of treats and praise! It’s important for your puppy to make a positive association. Don’t give up if your puppy struggles, but don’t push them past their limits either. Go slowly and if your puppy seems stressed or very afraid, back up to the last thing they were comfortable with so you can end the session on a good note. Puppies have a short attention span, so working for only a few minutes at a time is often best. Teaching your puppy to accept and enjoy being groomed will take time and patience, but your puppy will thank you every time he goes to the groomer!