Brushing Your Puppy
Why do you suppose that many dogs would stand beside you all day long and let you pet them, yet not let you brush them for even a few minutes? If this is hap- pening with your puppy, consider that you might be using the wrong kind of brush, or one that’s poorly made and possibly hurting your pup’s sensitive skin. There are many kinds of brushes available, and the kind you choose should de- pend on the type and length of fur your pup has. Short-coated dogs need to be gone over with a nubby glove first (commonly called a hound glove or a curry comb) to loosen dead hair and dirt, and then brushed out with a soft-bristled brush. A brush with wire bristles, or one with hard-tipped nylon bristles, may scratch a short-coated pup’s skin. Meanwhile, a long- or double-coated pup is going to need to be brushed with something that can penetrate and separate that fur. For particularly fine-coated dogs, that might be a slicker brush (with small wire bristles set at an angle) or a shedding rake designed to “rake” away dead hair. Having lots of fur doesn’t mean these dogs can’t have sensitive skin, and no brush should be used to poke a dog,
but the right tool is important to do the best job of grooming. If you’re not sure which kind to use on your pup, ask the breeder or the folks at your pet store.
longer-haired pup like this Labradoodle can benefit from more frequent brushing — and learn to enjoy it when it’s done gently and carefully.
Brushing is also a way to work with your dog and examine more closely his coat and skin. If there are inconsistencies or infections or rashes, you’ll see them a lot more quickly and be able to counteract them much more effectively if you treat your dog to regular brushing. In many cases, brushing is the time when owners find out about things that are seriously wrong with their dogs, like tumors (usually in older dogs) as well as melanomas.
Puppies don’t have a lot of hair, so make sure to use a soft brush. Some experts use very soft human brushes, especially in the beginning. Remember that during
these sessions, you want to be making as many happy, cooing noises as possible. Hollering and spitting out commands is a bad way to try to get your pup to work with you on this. And as the puppy grows up, you want him to have a good expe- rience so that the grooming process is not a struggle throughout both of your lives.