HANDLING: From the moment you get your puppy, you should start stroking and touching them all over their bodies, especially their legs, feet and ears. Some ideas; Hold their paws, stroke their pads, lift their ear flaps and move their tail up and down. You should also get them used to being picked up and put down. Ask family members and friends to do the same, they need to be used to being handled by any human.
BRUSHING: I would recommend a soft brush to begin with - Tangle Teezers are ideal, but you'll need to research which brush to use on your breed of dog once they are used to being brushed. Start by introducing your puppy to the brushes, let them sniff and lick. Do one brush on their back, give praise and a treats. Then two brushes, praise and treats, and carry on until your brushing their whole back. Do this same technique for the legs, tail and head. You may want a helper to give treats and distract.
BATHING: Baths can be scary for a puppy. Start by just putting your dog in the bath, let them walk around and sniff, praise, take them out and go for a play. Do this a few times. Next day do the same, but turn on the shower head on, and don't point it at them. The following day, do the same but slowly move the shower head towards them, and wet their feet. If your puppy seems happy with this, you can wet the whole body the next day. Avoid spraying water on eyes and inside ears, this will be uncomfortable for your puppy and could put them off being bathed. Only use dog friendly soaps on your dog, human shampoo will harm their skin and coat.
DRYING: Dryers are also very scary at first! Begin with getting used to just the noise. Turn on your dryer, leave it on a worktop for 5 minutes and carry on with your daily routine. Do this a few times a day. Next step, get a helper to hold the dryer, point it at the floor from two metres away. Sit under the dryer with treats and encourage your puppy to walk into the air for a treat. Get your helper to gradually move closer with the dryer, and give treats for walking or sitting in air. Finally do this process again without you sat on the floor. Monitor the temperature and distance of dryer, dog's skin will easily burn.
TEETH: Dental hygiene is very important for a dog's overall wellbeing. They should have their teeth cleaned regularly at home. To introduce this, lift your puppy's lips and look at their teeth then praise and treat. Do this a several times over a few days, and gradually introduce touching the teeth with your finger. Once they are used to this, introduce a tooth brush. Let them sniff and lick a dog friendly toothpaste off the brush. Then try touching a tooth with the brush, praise and treat. Then touch two teeth with the brush, praise and treat. Keep increasing until your puppy lets you touch all the teeth, and add in some scrubbing.
EARS: Dog's ears can get quite dirty and smelly and some breeds are very prone to ear infections. To get your puppy used to having their ears touched and cleaned, start by just stroking the inside of their ears, ensuring you are very gentle on the actual ear opening. Once they are used to this, introduce wiping with a dry cotton ball, and then a cotton ball with dog friendly ear cleaner or warm water. You should only ever clean the ear as far as you can see. Do not stick your finger or cotton ball into the ear canal.
NAILS: The majority of dog's will need their nails trimming at least every two months. Nail trimming is often one of the hardest parts of a groomer's job, most dog's just hate it! Get your puppy used to their feet being touched, teach them paw, hold their feet, touch their pads and stroke their nails. It is highly recommend that you get a groomer or vet to trim their nails, or get them to demonstrate the correct technique you so you can do it at home. Remember one wrong clip will put your puppy off nail trimming, so make sure you do it correctly.
KNOW WHEN YOUR DOG HAS HAD ENOUGH: It is so important to make sure that every grooming experience they have is a positive one. While your puppy is young or still learning, keep all grooming tasks little and often. If they start getting grumpy or very fidgety stop and try in a few hours. Forcing a puppy to be brushed or bathed is only going to make them scared or hate the experience. Similarly bathing a dog before any introductions to the tub or shower will completely overwhelm them, and they will likely hate it.