Saturday, April 20, 2013

Puppy's First Trim

Puppy Grooming

Sven's First Trim 

Sven is a 7 month old, male, semi-hypoalergetic mixed breed.
Sven's first trim 
Because Sven was recently recovering from being neutered, the owner was not able to keep up the brushing maintenance which resulted in a very serious case of matting from head to toe.

Being a puppy, Sven was very hyper and disobedient (as he is had never been groomed or fully trained yet). His quick, unpredictable movements made cutting out the matts on the skin quite difficult.
Several matts were so close to the skin that I had to use the shortest shaving size to remove them (safely). This resulted in a couple bald patches on his side. If the white skin didn't show through a close shave, I would have shaved Sven shorter to address the matting faster and easier.

4mm was the shortest I could trim him without seeing the white skin through the black coat.
This meant that while tending to his puppy behavior, I had to cut out every matt before brushing and trimming (while maintaining a positive grooming experience).

About 10 minutes into the process, I decided that this grooming appointment would be mostly about the experience and comfort and less about the style. The only styling I focussed on was saving 4mm of length as much as possible.

Sven also had a lot of hair growing out of the ears. Unlike most puppies, Sven allowed me to pull out the ear hair without a problem.

To help rejuvenate the dry, irritated skin resulted from the matting, I used a puppy shampoo and oil replenishing conditioner and lotion.

Puppy Grooming

Brushing & Matting 


Puppies have a much softer lighter coat. As they get older, the adult coat grows in and the lose their puppy fur. Because of this transformation, it is extremely important to keep up with brushing. 
This is even more important with hypoallergenic breeds (like Sven and poodles) because they don't shed their coat. Puppies that don't lose their fur get matted and tangled  very easily. Because their fur can grow infinitely, matts can form directly on the skin causing tension, dryness and irritation of the skin. 
The irritation causes the dog to scratch and roll around collecting dirt in the matts. Bacteria close to irritated skin leads to greater discomfort which makes it very difficult to brush the dog.

Thin, fluffy puppy fur tangles even easier, especially when the adult coat starts to grow in.
 untrained, curious, & playful, brushing a puppy can be quite a challenge. Teething makes them want to bite everything… Nevertheless, it is extremely important to keep up with brushing. 
Not only does puppy fur tangle easier than adult fur… puppy skin is also thiner, looser, and more susceptible to irritation & discomfort. 
De tangling a puppy's cut is a lot more difficult. Not only is the puppy curious, biting, untrained and playful, it is also not used to basic brushing and let alone, detangling & grooming.
With matting close to the loose, dry, irritated skin; cutting out the tangles is also very difficult (regardless of the obstacles associated with puppy behavior).


Loose puppy skin can easily get nicked by grooming clippers and cut by scissors. This contributes to all the challenges of detangling & grooming a matted puppy.  Irritated puppy skin can also get ripped by trying to brush out matts close to the skin. 

It is really important that puppies have a positive grooming experience. Especially breeds that require regular grooming. A puppy that is brushed by the owner is groomed much faster. It is also a lot more comfortable and easier allowing the groomer to focus on positively interacting with the pup. 
Grooming a matted puppy has to be done very carefully and takes a long time. The groomer has to focus more on cutting out the matts with as little pain as possible. Instead on interacting positively with the pup, the groomer has to focus on restraining and safety. Not only does the puppy have to withstand being groomed by a stranger, it is also unfamiliar with the brushing and other grooming tools.

Puppy Grooming Tips:


  • keep up with brushing maintenance to familiarize your dog with brushing 
  • Have your dog groomed and trimmed before any operation 
  • Cut out matted fur to avoid matting on the skin, irritation, and discomfort. 
  • Get a puppy/dog you can care for (check what maintenance the dog requires before getting it)
  • Get your puppy groomed early; before adult coat has grown in

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