Are you a new owner of a curly coated puppy? Then this post is for you! With the excitement of a new puppy, there is a lot to keep you busy with toilet and behaviour training in the weeks ahead. Your puppy will also need to be seen regularly by a dog groomer. Having a grooming regime in place will make sure your dog is kept comfortable with its lovely curly coat. Being a poodle cross, your puppy has a coat that appears to shed very little. However, the combination of an undercoat and a curly coat can produce matting, should the dog not be brushed on a regular basis. It is also a coat that grows very quickly and needs to be kept trimmed and tidy for the welfare of your dog. By starting early in introducing your puppy to brushing, washing, drying and clipping will make a happy dog on the grooming table. We suggest that you make your first visit after their final vaccination and before 16 weeks old. Before their first visit, here are some things that you can help make your puppy feel at ease on the grooming table: Brush, Brush and Brush Brushing a puppy can be a challenge as they will see this as a game and the brush as a toy to chew. This however is vital “training” as they are a dog that needs to be brushed regularly throughout their life. Buy a soft bristle brush to begin with and use this every day in the first few weeks. Make sure you gently brush them so that they get used to this. By doing this regularly will make a massive difference in them accepting being brushed and will make sure your dog’s coat keep tangle and mat free. As they get older and accepting of being brushed, move on to a pin brush which will help with any tangles and knots. Gently Handle Their Feet And Ears As soon as you bring your puppy home, start to gently handle their ears and feet. These are areas that dogs are notoriously sensitive too, especially when it comes to trimming nails to clipping ears. Every day handle your dog’s paws, touch their nails and smooth around their eyes. Gently stroke their ears and touch their coat. The more they get used to this, the easier it will be for your dog groomer to tidy these areas up. Use A Hairdryer Around Them By turning on a hair dryer around them will make them used to the noise. We don’t suggest blasting hot air over them as little puppies but just for them to hear the noise on a regular basis will help immensely when it comes to drying your dog when it has a full groom. Towel Dry Them No doubt they will get wet out on their first walks, particularly through the muddy months so make sure they are used to being dried with a towel. Again the more they are used to be handled in this way, the less they will react in the dog grooming room. These simple steps will help your dog immensely in accepting being groomed. So when should you bring your dog to a grooming salon? Arrange A First Visit To Your Dog Groomer As mentioned you need to think about bringing your puppy to a dog groomers after its last vaccination and ideally before 16 weeks. Your first visit will be a very relaxed affair just to introduce your puppy to the surroundings and the groomer will play, treat and make it an enjoyable time for them. The groomer will decide if any grooming is to be done whilst your pup is there and if you have done your “grooming training”, then they will do as much as they think the puppy can deal with without causing any stress or anxiety for them. Your groomer will then arrange a second visit for your puppy to be washed, blow dried and a nail clip. Clipping your dog’s coat is normally introduced to them around six months old but this can be flexible pending condition and circumstances with the puppy. How Often Should You Visit The Dog Groomer? A dog groomer priority is to ensure your dog’s coat is in top condition by regular professional maintenance. Being a curly coated breed, we recommend six to eight weekly appointments with regular home brushing in between visits. Some coats are more difficult than others to keep tangle free but if regular brushing is not done, the coat will become “pelted” which is when matting becomes very tight to the skin. This is not only very uncomfortable for your dog but can cause irritation to the skin together with being a lovely warm home to ticks and fleas. If the mats are not removed, they become thicker as the coat grows and sometimes this is not obvious to the eye. When brushing it may feel that there are no mats and this is mistaken for skin. This is known as “surface brushing”. By putting your fingers into the coat and deeply feeling all over, you will feel clumps that are matted fur. So make sure when you are brushing your dog, you are gently brushing them thoroughly and always check for mats. What Happens If A Matted Coat Cannot Be Brushed Out? There is no other option but for the coat to be clipped short if there are thick felted mats in the coat. Your groomer will give you their professional advice and a course of action to make sure your dog is comfortable. There are areas of the coat which are difficult to keep tangle free, for example under the armpits from friction and feet where they tend to get wet. But if your curly coated dog is not regularly brushed out, to clip or shave your dog short is the only solution to remove matted fur. Many owners do not like seeing their dogs clipped short and a dog groomer really does not enjoy clipping a coat off completely. But it is the kindest solution and it gives the owner a chance to get on top of brushing and combing the dog as its new coat starts to grow keeping it well maintained. What Tools Do I Need To Keep My Dog’s Coat In Good Condition? There are a few tools and products that you will need to keep your dog’s coat in good condition. We recommend the following: Soft Brush Start gently with this brush when your puppy is in their early weeks using it every day. Pin Brush Once your puppy is used to being brushed and as it coats grow, gently introduce a pin brush to keep them tangle free. Slicker Brush These are excellent in removing excess hair, dirt and knots from your dog’s coat. They have slightly sharp fine toothed bristles allowing it to penetrate deep into the coat. The slicker brush needs to be used with care, so ask your dog groomer who can show you how to brush your dog gently but effectively. Detangler A bottle of detangler really helps keep a coat tangle free. Ancol Coconut Luxury Detangler and Wahl Detangler are ones we recommend. Remember to always follow the instructions on the bottle. We know life is busy and brushing your dog is something that may be forgotten. By simply having a routine where your dog is brushed out for five minutes every few days will make a very happy dog! Most dogs will love having this time with you brushing them and actually most enjoy it. Just by having some grooming together, will keep your curly coated dog in tip top condition. Any questions you have, Samantha from Country Barn Dog Grooming is always happy to help or speak with your local dog groomer. Most of all, enjoy your puppy!