How to Brush a Puppy's Face

Easy
10 - 15 Minutes
4 Weeks

Introduction

Your puppy is soft, cuddly, maybe even fluffy, and very high-energy and excited. This could potentially mean getting him to stay still long enough to brush his face might become a challenge. Brushing your puppy's face can be simple to do but might require some patience as your puppy sniffs and gets to know the brush and the routine of brushing his face along with the rest of his body. 

When you brush your puppy's face, whether he has short hair or a long beard, it's a good idea to give him a tasty treat at the beginning of your grooming session and while you work. This will help give your puppy something to do and focus on instead of being distracted during his facial.

Dog's Perspective

Your puppy is discovering his entire world. Sitting still while you brush his face is never going to be top on his list of things he wants to do. You will need to keep him in a place free of distractions and reward him for giving you his attention while you're brushing his face. Your puppy might also be a bit nervous about having something like a brush so close to his eyes or mouth. Give him some time to get used to it and reward him with some treats.

The Long Fur Face Method

Effective
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Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Proper tools
Make sure you have proper tools lined up before you begin to brush your puppy's face. If he has long fur you may need a specific facial comb. This comb will be short so it fits well on the face with tines appropriate for combing through beards and long fur. It's always helpful to have some tasty treats around, especially since you will be working so close to your puppy's face.
Step
2
Place puppy
Place your puppy on a table in front of you or set up a bed on the floor where he will be comfortable. You will need to be in front of your puppy, either on the floor with him or standing in front of your grooming table.
Step
3
Treat
Start by giving your puppy a treat. As your puppy is eating his treat, begin to gently rub his muzzle and face.
Step
4
Comb
Using your facial comb, gently brush down on one side of your puppy's face through his beard working out any tangles.
Step
5
Continue treating
As you are combing through your puppy's beard and facial hair, be sure to offer him a treat every now and then. This will keep him entertained and rewarded for good behavior.
Step
6
Opposite side
Repeat combing your puppy's beard and muzzle on the opposite side while offering him tasty treats and rewarding good behavior and tolerance.
Step
7
Eyebrows
Be sure to use the comb on other areas of your puppy's face such as the hair above his eyes and his eyebrows.
Step
8
Praise & rewards
Once you are done brushing your puppy's long fur, be sure to give him lots of praise and rewards. This will help your puppy get used to being handled and having that long fur on his face, which will tangle easily with each meal, brushed thoroughly.
Recommend grooming method?

The Puppy Handling Method

Effective
0 Votes
Comb
Step
1
Treat
Start off your facial grooming with your puppy with a tasty treat. Position yourself in front of your puppy and give him a treat.
Step
2
Touch face
Hold another treat in front of your dog's nose and with your other hand, touch various areas of his face. This will help get him used to you touching him on his face. Every time you touch him somewhere on his face give him another treat.
Step
3
Brush or comb
Begin to brush or comb small areas of your puppy's face rather than touch your puppy. As you are brushing or combing the fur on his face, continue to give him treats.
Step
4
Break
Your puppy does not have a long attention span. So, if he has long fur or a lot of tangles you may need to give him a break. Stop touching. Stop giving him treats. Just talk to him. Make this break short and then start over, repeating the steps above.
Step
5
Redirect
If your puppy is overly excited and will not let you brush his face without staying still, consider holding a treat inside your hand and holding that hand up to his nose to keep his attention without allowing him to have the whole treat.
Step
6
Continue
Continue to reward your puppy for tolerating a comb or brush on his face as you brush him. Because your little guy is just now learning how to be handled, you want to do this as often as possible with lots of rewards.
Step
7
End
When you are done brushing your puppy's face, end your session with a treat and lots of verbal praise saying his name a lot. Without the brush or comb in your hand continue to touch his face, rub his neck, and pet him behind his ears. You are conditioning your puppy to get used to being handled and having his face brushed.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Your puppy is learning all kinds of new things. Knowing how to be handled and how to sit during a grooming session will be important for his entire life.
  • Never hesitate to get your puppy's attention by using a treat. He does not need large treats, he will work pretty hard for a tiny morsel of food.
  • If you need your puppy to be still while brushing his face, you can hide a larger treat or a larger piece of meat or cheese in your hand and only let him get to a portion of it. Keeping the rest hidden beneath your fingers with a little bit poking out of your hand will give him access to try to get to the treat while you focus your attention on brushing his face.
  • If your puppy has a beard or long fur on his face, consider brushing his face at the end of every day. You can wait until he's sleepy and do it at bedtime. Definitely, do this after meals.
  • Using a wet washcloth for a puppy with long fur might help remove any food or debris from his fur before brushing.
  • Your puppy might be more relaxed lying down than sitting up. If he's anxious, change positions.

Conclusion

Your puppy is going to spend a lot of his time being handled throughout his entire life. Whether he needs to know how to be handled for dental care, ear cleaning, or for just general grooming, starting with brushing and touching your puppy's face will help him to understand what your expectations are for his behavior during grooming sessions in the years to come. Never hesitate to pamper your pooch early in his life.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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