Puppy handling and grooming

It’s a good practice to handle your puppy and get them used to grooming, teeth brushing, nail trims and just being on a table. I’ve started on this practice for the new families of Indy’s girls.

I have a small utility table in the puppy room. Sitting on the table and having their bodies handled gets them used to being on a table later for vet exams or at the groomers for trims.

These are my basic grooming tools and the ones I use the most; a slicker brush, a greyhound comb and a small pair of scissors. It’s probably safer to have scissors with a blunt tip for those starting out. I use these to keep the hair trimmed away from their eyes.

These nail trimmers are for a cat so they’re smaller which is great for puppies. You’ll want to get a bigger pair made for dogs. Trimming toenails once a week will keep them from getting too long. (You can search our YouTube channel for previous videos I’ve done on mail trimming. I will also demonstrate it on Puppy Delivery Day. )

It only takes a few minutes each day or every other day to set them on the table and run the brush over them. Pay special attention to behind the ears, the “armpit”, inside the back legs and the back end below the tail and the “pants”. These are the places that will likely to mat as your puppy’s hair grows longer and thicker.

Pick up each foot and gentled massage or put some pressure on the feet and between the toes. Using small treats during this time will make puppy handling and grooming rewarding for your puppy.

Flip the ear up and check inside for any discharge or smell. Floppy eared dogs, like Cavapoos, can develop ear infections if they get a bit of water, dirt or debris inside which then incubates in that warm, dark environment. Using a general ear cleanser once a week will be helpful to prevent infections. Just put a few drops inside the ear, massage before the ear (if you have enough liquid inside, you should hear its squishing around) then wipe off any excess with a cotton ball. Don’t be tempted to stick a q-tip down inside. Then let the pup shake their head to get the excess out. If you ever smell a yeasty smell or see brownish “gunk” in the ear canal it’s time to schedule a check-up at the vet. The vet can determine if your your pup has a yeast or bacterial infection and proscribe the proper medication to clear it up.

Run your had over their head and around their eyes. Should they ever have an eye injury or infection you may need to administer eye drops or ointment. If you get your pup used to you handling around their face now, it will make things easier later.

Next use your finger to check puppy’s teeth, lift the lips and use your finger like a toothbrush and run it along the gumline. Later when your puppy has all its adult teeth you can use a soft baby toothbrush and doggie toothpaste to brush your dogs teeth. Every day is ideal, but anything will help keep those pearly-whites clean. And remember in the next few months your puppy will be losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth in, so  those gums may be sore at times.

Here are a couple different types of toothpaste and gel and a couple different things to use to brush your dogs teeth. I find the exfoliating glove a bit easier that manipulating a tooth brush in the mouth. You just put some toothpaste on the index finger and rub it along the gumline. (I’ll include one of these gloves in each puppy packet).

Another good thing to practice is turning your dog on their back and holding them. This is a submissive/vulnerable position for a dog. Some may struggle a bit, but you can soothe them, rub their belly and just keep practicing. They need to know you are top dog and they can be safe with you.

Since all the girls look different we don’t need collars to tell them apart, but I still like for them to get used to wearing one since they will need that later when their owners teach them to walk on a leash.

So now Jasmine has a red collar.

Tinkerbell has a blue one.

Moana has a cream collar.

Snow White is wearing lime green.

And Ariel has pink.

Another “tool” I like to use with our puppies is an app on my phone called Sound Proof Puppy Training. It has all kinds of sounds on it to acclimate puppies to different noises. And since we live in the country there are many noises on the app that they wouldn’t normally hear out here. So it’s helpful.

One of the sounds is that of a pair of clippers. And when you turn that sound on, the phone actually vibrates a bit! So I just slowly rub my phone on the pup while the sound is going to start getting them used to the clippers. Later, I’ll get my real clippers out and get them accustomed to those.

This is all part of the puppy training and socializing process and are things you can continue once your puppy is home with you.


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2 Responses to Puppy handling and grooming

  1. Michelle Poff says:

    Great tips! Learned lots I didn’t know or hadn’t thought of. Thanks.

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