Though I regularly groom my four dogs, how to groom my fidgeting puppy was the biggest challenge. Small, adorable and full of long fur that droops over her eyes, mouth, nose and chin, my little puppy had to be groomed if she was going to see where she was going or eat anything beside fur. The problem was that being a rescue puppy, the little girl was never groomed until I got her, when she was around one year old. Learning how to groom my fidgeting puppy was essential to avoid injuring her in a terrible way.
Avoid Pet Grooming Clippers
The first challenge was that my puppy would not let me use clippers to comb and cut fur off her face, though this was the safest method. The moment she heard the buzz of the pet groomer she was off. I had to groom my puppy with dull-tipped scissors (which you can find at pet stores). The first puppy groom took 2 hours and I had a sore back at the end of it.
Swaddle Your Puppy Before Grooming
The biggest challenge in grooming a fidgeting puppy is that the front paws keep getting in the way of your scissors, while the furry head beats time to the dance. I discovered a way to neutralize my puppy and make her relax. It’s the same principal used to calm infants. I swaddled my puppy before grooming her.
Use a Soft Blanket or Towel
I like to swaddle my puppy in a small blanket or a towel. I spread the blanket on the bed, then place my puppy on her back a little to one side with the head sticking over the edge of the blanket. I wrap this shorter side around my puppy, then wrap the bottom over her legs and finish by wrapping the other side all around her. When you swaddle a puppy before grooming make sure the paws are comfortably tucked away.
Let Your Puppy Relax in Her Swaddled Safety
To groom your swaddled puppy, place her upside down in your lap with your knees bent, so that her head is elevated and facing you. You can also groom your puppy as you cradle her with one arm. Expect your puppy to keep fidgeting as you start to groom her face. Maybe a paw will slip out as well. Just tuck the paw gently in and keep the puppy swaddled securely. Speak to your puppy in a soft voice, telling her what you’re doing and that after your groom her she’ll be beautiful. Soon your fidgeting puppy will relax and realize that there’s no point fighting when you can’t really move.
Groom Your Puppy All Over
Once your puppy is relaxed you’ll have an easy time slowly unraveling the blanket to expose bits of her. Remove any tangles and knots with scissors. Brush your puppy with a bristle brush to make her fur silky. Once you get to the point of removing the blanket all together, keep your puppy calm all through the groom by caressing her on her stomach or face.
Over the years, I have gathered many professional grooming tips that make it easy for me to take care of four rescue dogs at home (here’s my article). The best tip of all is about you rather than your dog. The more calm and authoritative you are, the more your fidgeting puppy will relax and trust you.