Deciding when a puppy should get their first haircut can be difficult especially for new pet owners.
Your puppy can should get their first haircut before they are 6 months old. At that point, they should have been around brushes, scissors, and trimmers to get used to them and the sounds they make.
So, how exactly do I get my pup accustomed to all the things a groomer needs to do?
How To Prepare Your Puppy
Preparing your puppy is very important if you are planning to take him to a groomer one day or maybe even cut your dog yourself at home.
You need to get your puppy accustomed to being touched all over his body, as the groomer will also need to do that to give him a full-body cut.
Just touch your pup all over the body every day or two so that he will also let you or the groomer do this when getting the hair cut, like their private parts.
You can prepare your puppy well for this by washing him yourself multiple times before going to the groomers because you’ll need to be touching him everywhere when washing your pup.
Before washing your puppy you can also try cutting the hair under the paws. This way he’ll get used to being still for a few minutes gets to know scissors and will already know the drill.
The next thing you should do is brush your pup at least once a week. This helps remove the puppy coat from the incoming adult coat. The groomer would also brush the dog first before washing and cutting.
Preparing your puppy before the first grooming experience can improve your pup’s experience greatly, as they’ll be less scared.
When Do Puppies Lose Their “Puppy Coat”?
Puppies usually lose their puppy coat at around 6 months old, some earlier and some later. The puppy coat will be shed which is why you should brush regularly, to brush the puppy coat out.
Without brushing the coat out it will matt together with the adult coat and eventually be a lot harder to brush out and will be uncomfortable for your pup.
Cutting Your Dog’s Hair Yourself
Cutting your dog’s hair yourself is a great option for you if you want to save the money for the groomer, live far out in the countryside, just want to cut it yourself or don’t like the way the groomer cuts it.
I gave my puppy the first haircut he ever got at 19 weeks and I already cut his paws before then as preparation as well as getting him used to brushing and nail trimming.
I found it best to distract my dog with lots of treats and have him sitting down or even laying down on the side to cut as in those poses he moves far less than he would be standing.
Plus, standing is far more exhausting than laying down.
I started cutting him with scissors instead of a (loud) trimmer because I thought the challenge of laying still would be enough for the first time.
I did turn on the trimmer a few times to get him a little used to the sound but having it on the whole time would have been too much.
You don’t even need special hair scissors but can just take any you have available. The only thing that you really need to pay attention to is that they are sharp.
It’s totally fine if your puppy looks a little silly at for their first cut because it can be hard to cut a puppy when they are moving around the whole time.
Cutting the face is the biggest challenge, especially getting it symmetrical.
This is what my puppy looked like before and after his haircut.
Before the haircut, he was a lot fluffier looking and after getting cut he looked a whole lot bigger and more grown-up.
The primary reason that I cut my pup’s hair was that it was the middle of summer and my puppy was constantly only looking for someplace to cool down, looking for cold tiles, going in the basement, etc.
One day I just felt so bad for him that I just wanted to take some of his hair off the legs because they were covered in a really thick coat.
Then after cutting his legs, the rest of his body looked so awkward in comparison that I had no choice other than cutting the rest too.
I may not have planned on cutting his whole body shorter but doing it leg by leg and bit by bit it actually wasn’t too difficult.
The amazing thing was that as soon as I cut off the extensive hair, my dog became a lot calmer and a totally different dog.
As it turns out he was always so restless because he was constantly too warm and took his frustration out in difficult and destructive behavior.
What To Pay Attention To
The secret to getting your dog to stay still is to get lots and lots of treats. Your dog will be distracted by the treats and he will connect getting a haircut with lots of treats and positivity.
If you can, you should get another person to feed your dog the treats while you can cut his hair.
I also think it would be a good idea to cut the privates and face first. I didn’t do that which in hindsight was a pretty big mistake.
Your pup will become restless the longer you take to cut and those areas are pretty delicate meaning that you need your dog to be especially still.
Be Careful when cutting his face and only really cut when you are sure that you’re not going to cut too much off.
The face is the area of the dog that everyone looks at so if you make a mistake there, everyone will see it.
So, really starting with the paws is a good way to get a feeling for the scissors. Nobody will look at the paws so if you make a huge mistake there or cut off far too much nobody will notice.
Then after that move to the privates and face as your dog will still be fresh and not at all restless (hopefully).
A pretty good tactic that you can also try is putting a treat in your dog’s mouth, then hold his mouth shut lightly (he’ll likely hold still and not move at all) and then you can quickly but calmly cut off come hair on the face.
Then let go of your dog and he already has a treat in his mouth so he’ll be rewarded for holding still and letting you cut.
I also didn’t cut my dog’s tail at all basically because I like the way that it’s longer than the rest of the coat.
Brushing him (and drying) is also so much easier and faster with a shorter coat that is also a lot better for the summer.
You should cut your pup’s coat before he is 6 months old because at that age they shaping phase anymore and they could become scared of the things done at the groomers instead of getting used to them.
Be sure to get your dog used to brush, nail trimming as well as washing before taking him to the groomer.
Also, ensure that your dog lets you touch him anywhere which the groomer will also need to do when cutting and washing your pup.
The groomer will likely also not cut your pup’s whole coat the first time but get him used to the setting and brushing by another person.
If you prepared your pup well even the very first grooming shouldn’t be a problem.