The most important thing about grooming your puppy when you
first bring him home is to get him used to the process!

We bathe our puppies quite often in the beginning (once a week) ,
even if they are not dirty. We teach them to sit in the wash tub
without hanging their heads over the edge - which develops into a
large puddle of water around our feet and they learn to hold still
and tolerate the bath. After being towel dried we finish the job with
the blow dryer. Young pups may be quite frightened of the
intimidating sound and the rush of warm air - so we hold them in
our laps to dry them until they are reassured about the whole
process.

You should always use a puppy shampoo as people products have
a different PH level and will dry out their skin. Take special care to
thoroughly rinse the shampoo from the coat. Following up with a
conditioner is recommended in order to prevent dry ithcy or flakey
skin.

If your puppy is going to have long hair as an adult you should also
get him used to being brushed and combed. A good time to start
this is when he is exhausted from playing hard. As he is laying on
the floor - sleeping, sit down next to him and gently begin brushing
him. You should do this several times a week. Be sure to brush
each area of his body. Pay close attention to those areas that are
more likely to become matted - like under the front legs and behind
the ears.

Another good hint is to get him used to his feet being handled.
Keep in mind that your puppy will need regular nail trimmings. It is
very difficult to clip a dogs nails if he does not want it done or if he
is frightened. If you are sitting with your pup, take one paw at a
time and firmly massage each toe. Continue rubbing  while holding
it as if he were being clipped. This should be done everyday until
he does not fight or pull away at all. This can be done even while
you are watching TV.

Ear care is important. Some breeds are more likely to get ear
infections than others. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the
best way to clean ears. Most pet shops carry ear cleaning liquids
that will explain how to use them in their instructions. It is
advisable to clean your dogs ears at least once a month.

Some people do brush their dogs teeth, but this is not always
realistic for all families. It is a very good idea to handle your
puppies lips by gently pulling them open, feeling his teeth and just
generally handling his mouth. This will help if you ever need to
have his teeth cleaned. If his teeth get very bad he will need
anesthesia for the cleaning. We routinely scale our own dogs teeth
if necessary. If you have your vet check his teeth at his yearly
appointment he will advise you on what cleaning may be
necessary for the next year.
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