How to Get Your Puppy Accustomed to Grooming, Ear Cleaning, Toothbrushing and Nail Clipping

Puppyhood is an important time for your dog, as it’s a time when your pet is open to new experiences. For a puppy, nearly everything is a first! Therefore, it’s easier to teach a puppy to become accustomed to routine care and grooming procedures. This makes for an easy-to-handle adult dog, who won’t struggle during nail clippings, brushing and other grooming.

Many pet owners make the mistake of failing to train their puppy to be accepting of these routine procedures and they end up with an adult dog who is frightened and resistant to handling and grooming.

The following schedule will help your puppy learn to accept grooming and handling.

Clipping a Puppy’s Nails

Clip your puppy’s nails every other week. Puppies will not fear the nail clippers, so as long as you make it a non-frightening and avoid clipping the dog’s nails too short, your dog will grow up into an adult dog who tolerates pedicures without a struggle. Be sure to keep your voice up-beat and offer treats and lots of praise during the nail clipping, so the pet associates pedicures with good things!

In addition, it’s important to get your dog accustomed to having his feet handled. This too will make it easier to clip his nails as an adult. Tap the nail clippers against his nails, hold and manipulate the puppy’s paws on a daily basis. A foot massage is also enjoyable for many puppies.

Cleaning a Puppy’s Ears

Clean your puppy’s ears on a weekly basis. He may not need weekly ear cleanings, but it’s important to go through the motions so he becomes accustomed to this procedure.

Offer plenty of treats and praise during the cleaning. Also, on a daily basis, handle and manipulate the dog’s ears so he’s comfortable with his humans touching his ears.

For additional information, see our related article on How to Clean a Dog’s Ears.

Brushing and Bathing

Brush your dog’s fur on a daily basis so he becomes accustomed to the brush. This is especially important for double-coated dog breeds and breeds that will grow up to have long hair. In these dogs, grooming is a vital part of everyday life, so it’s important that the dog becomes accustomed to being brushed.

In addition, bathe your dog every other week. Whenever possible, let your dog play in water. This way, your dog will be comfortable with baths and he will not fear water due to inexperience.

Brushing Your Puppy’s Teeth

Brush your puppy’s teeth on a daily basis to get him accustomed to having his teeth brushed. This is a routine that should continue throughout the dog’s life, to maintain good dental health. Therefore, it’s extremely important to get the dog started on the routine as a puppy (a very good time for this, as puppies explore the world with their mouths! Therefore, most don’t mind a toothbrush and some chicken-flavored toothpaste!)

Photo Source: Asia Jones on

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

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    First, I wanted to say you write very good informational articles. How to Get Your Puppy Accustomed to Grooming, Ear Cleaning, Toothbrushing and Nail Clipping is a great way to bond with your new puppy. My older dogs hates me trimming her nails. I should have done it more when she was a puppy. When the time comes and I get another puppy I will start at the early age.

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