Getting Puppy Used to Grooming

I just got my first puppy... yey... now I would just love to know how I can get my puppy to behave and stay patiently when it comes to grooming- just like I have seen those dream pictures on this website (especially in a grooming tutorial by Carl Lindon- that dog was just waiting and waiting. I thought 'aaaw'..... now how do I do that?)

I would love to bathe her, brush her and all that fun stuff but once her coat kicks in, I know it will take even longer. How do I get her to cooperate starting now? Shes 10 weeks. So far, I tried to trim the hair between her paws and I think I tickled her :lol: And unless she is laying down, she tries to go after the brush, and run away from the conditioner spray. I know shes just a puppy but I also know I have to start somewhere. I have read lots of info on training, but didnt come across.... 'grooming training?' I have been on this site long before I got my puppy, so I was just thinking this was the place to go.

Thanks in advance!
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Hi Rosa and welcome to the forum, here is a link to give you some tips on how to get your pup use to grooming, great advice there, scroll down to where Carl Lindon has posted, I am sure it will be a great help to settle your youngster :wink:

Your new little girl is just so adorable. :D
Welcome to the forum! :)
Welcome! Your puppy is cute. :)
Try short grooming sessions when she is tired. Quit before she gets all squirrelly and starts wiggling/nipping. Having her up on something usually is more succeassful than on the floor - just make sure she is safe. Try and make yourself be calm and relaxed - if you get tense about it, she will feel it.
Randomly handle her whole body when you are petting and playing with her, so she understands you can touch her anywhere and it's not a negative thing.
What I have learned from this forum is to touch them all over when they are pups so that they know that it's ok. I have done that since day one with both my dogs . When they were pups, I would run my hands all over them, their paws, their ears, open their mouths and I always ended with a belly rub :) I do that also with my little 12wk. old Elliot. This has worked for me. Hope it helps :)
Welcome to the forum!
Thanks everyone-

I guess I got most of it down, my puppy is pretty used to being touched but I guess the biggest trouble I have is with the spray- do I just hold her down or what? Could it be the spray is making her skin uncomfortable?
As a puppy you really don't need spray... if you do use it, just a light mist, not soaking the coat.
I would just get the pup used to being on the table and the feel of the brush for now. Make sure it's a pleasant experience, relaxed and calm.... as they mature so does their tolerance for staying still any length of time :)
For the spray - you may not want to spray directly on
the puppy. Spray your hand and then rub it on the
area. That way the dog gets used to the sound of the
pumping action of the spray. You are on the right
track getting your puppy used to all the grooming
now! Remember to play with the feet, especially if
they are ticklish!

Another trick for the spray: although you don't need it now, you're right it does help them to be used to the sound, etc. I let Bingley drink from the tip of the bottle. As soon as he knew it was a nice thing it didn't bother him at all!
Mop lover wrote:
I let Bingley drink from the tip of the bottle. As soon as he knew it was a nice thing it didn't bother him at all!

That makes so much sense... but the spray I used (Dog Spa) is a eucalyptus/tea tree oil/clary sage (to repel fleas) with aloe vera gel- so... did you mean to get just any spray bottle and fill it with water? I dont think she could drink the spray I'm using... and I also wanted to tell you... the shot you got at the beach is amazing! I wish I had nice weather/nice beaches around here!
We started London out at 8 weeks by putting her up on the grooming table and just a few strokes of the brush and then a treat and down. We did this everyday and increased the time she was up on the table. Now at 9 mths - she will sit still as long as we are brushing or trimming her. She knows she will get a treat and loves the attention.
I need some helpful advice and fast, My Toby is 13 weeks and huge, I've tried grooming him every day from day one ( got him at 6 weeks). The trouble is he bites at the brush or my fingers when i'm trying to groom him. I give him treats but when they run out he nibbles on me or the spare brush and gets more and more hyper and biting harder. Nothing i try seems to work. It's becoming a nightmare. Help Me!! :( :?
tobymellor wrote:
I need some helpful advice and fast, My Toby is 13 weeks and huge, I've tried grooming him every day from day one ( got him at 6 weeks). The trouble is he bites at the brush or my fingers when i'm trying to groom him. I give him treats but when they run out he nibbles on me or the spare brush and gets more and more hyper and biting harder. Nothing i try seems to work. It's becoming a nightmare. Help Me!! :( :?


Chances are Toby is just being an obstinant poop about grooming but if he is that upset you need to check a few fundamental things first.

First off are you using the right tools and are your grooming tools in good shape and free of any sharp edges which may be hurting him? For example if you were using a slicker as your primary brush that is pulling on his coat unnecessarily and the cut wires are very sharp and painfull to his skin. Is your pinbrush a straight pin brush with no balls or nubs on the tips, is the suspension pad soft and allowing the pins to lean over properly and are all the pins straight, not bent or broken and are they "floating" in the pad properly, not sunken down? If any of these conditions is wrong even a good pin brush can be irritating or even painful on his young skin.
Check that your technique is not causing him any discomfort. Remember that brushing is a gentle activity. If you press too hard on the skin or brush too fast, even if you don't scratch him brushing can irritate the skin and cause a lot of blood to the surface which will make the skin hot and uncomfortable.

Secondly, if your tools and techniques are correct check for any skin conditions that may be aggravated by grooming. Are there hotspots anywhere? Does Toby have any other skin conditions which might make grooming uncomfortable? Is there any possibility he has hurt his ribs while rough-housing or twisted a leg joint. If he has a lingering sprain he will be trying to protect the injury by keeping it away from you and trying to stop you from touching it. It is a long shot but worth checking just in case.

Finally you may also have a "maturity" issue with him since he came to you at 6 weeks. Most breeders set 8 weeks as the earliest they will send a dog to his/her new home. Toby has missed a critical time in bite inhibition and general behavioural conditioning from his dam and sibblings. How does he respond if you "yelp" when he bites at you? Yelping at him after he bites may be the trigger he needs to realize how bad he is being. and ignoring him for a "time-out" may be something you need to work on to get him to behave in general.

Okay, so if everything else is okay you have a "little" boy who thinks he is above grooming! This is a serious problem for a Bobtail baby whose lot for the rest of his life very much revolves around grooming. Please check my post at as referenced above by lisaoes.
It is particularly important to "set the tone" for grooming by doing it in a place distinct from where he plays, eats, sleeps and that it be done in as regimented a routine as possible, in terms of time, place and technique. You captialize on the dog's sense of routine as much as possible in this way and he will come to associate certain times and activities with being submissive to the pack leader - YOU.
Whilst my grooming training mantra is minimum force - maximum bribery which you are clearly trying to do, Toby is being very aggressive about his grooming objections so for a while anyway, you will need help in physically restraining Toby until he learns what is required of him and that he MUST submit to you. Have someone help by holding him down while you groom. (There are of course reasonable limits here. If Toby is going to squirm so much that he could hurt himself you have to let him up and start over for shorter training periods.) Once you have him lying down give him a single small treat before starting grooming. As you groom, quite superficailly at first just to begin the training process as outlined in the linked thread, offer him a small treat or praise periodically, not continuously.
Acclimatizing Toby to grooming is not going to be quick. He has settled into a bad behaviour trait that needs to be reversed through consistent and concerted effort over a number of weeks. It will undoubtedly take a few months before he becomes to accept the longer periods of grooming that will be necessary as his coat grows.

Finally, even when they are well trained and experienced with grooming, there are going to be some days when these guys just won't want to cooperate for grooming. Even my boys, who some here question their status of living when they are on the table, have their days when grooming is just not something they want to tolerate. On those days be persistant long enough to get a small victory (groom a leg, the head or side of the body) and then cut the grooming sesson short to start again the next day. Just don't "give-in" while they are actually objecting, this way they learn that you get YOUR way and then they can get down and play.
Some people advocate letting them play to exhaustion before grooming. Personally I don't like this as grooming when tired can be a big stress source to the dog and in my opinion the aim is to make grooming a pleasant and readily accepted activity - association with stress will preclude this.

Hope there is something here to help you move forward a bit with Toby. As always don't hesitate to ask for more help or better explanations as necessary.

Good training and persistence.

Hi thanks for the advice, My Bobtail baby thinks grooming is a game... i've read your post. He starts out offering me a leg, then quickly changing it to the other like he's trying to swat me... I'm always gentle, espicallly on his inner legs tummy etc... my grooming tools are new and reccomended, soft bristle one and one with plastic bristles with rounded off ends, I managed a good 8-10 mins today, though he was continuley trying to get at the brush which in turn left me looking like i'd gone through a thorn bush. He is not still at all,unless i do his ears.. He does not growl or make any loud or angry noises., he caught me good and proper when i'd finished, He jumped up to grab the brush and caught my hand slashing it with his needles and pins ouch!
So..... My plan of action will start by putting him higher, I was using cane/wicker furniture about 24inches off the as it's easy for him to get off, higher he goes, hopefully giving me more control, he will not win this battle and will be a beauty in a long full coat (IF NOT A LITTLE OVER WEIGHT FROM THE TREATS).... when the time comes....I love my little monster to bits and wouldn't changed them for the world..

Thank you for your time and reply

Fingers crossed :roll: :lmt:

Michelle... Toby's Mommy.
It doesn't sound like you do have the right tools....

Could you find pics of what you are using online and post a link to them please?
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