The newest member of your family has four legs and fur, and is just about the cutest little bundle of joy you ever did see. And now, along with the pleasure of enjoying your new puppy, you've also taken on the responsibility of keeping him healthy by feeding him whole foods, exercising with him, and keeping him well groomed.
When it comes to grooming, most dogs have coats which wouldn't normally be found in nature, and it's simply not possible for them to groom themselves. That's where you come in, and you have a couple of choices. You can take your puppy to a professional groomer, or, with a little bit of know-how, you can groom him yourself at home.
Whichever choice you make, it's best to take him to a professional groomer for his first few dates with the bathtub and clippers, while he is young and curious. This serves a couple of purposes. Most importantly, it exposes your dog to grooming in a studio environment while he is at the learning stage in his life, and therefore most accepting of new things; this is the time when his mother would be teaching him about the world and it's many wonders. Later, when his mother would naturally wean him, he'll begin questioning new things, and be wary as a means of survival. At this point, introducing new experiences becomes considerably more challenging.
So even if your puppy doesn’t need a bath or haircut just yet, it’s the experience which is most important! Even if you plan to do your own grooming, there will probably come a time when you require the services of a grooming studio; you may move to a smaller home, you may leave him with someone who isn't able to groom him, it may become difficult for you as your dog ages, or you simply might decide you don't want to do it anymore. The point is, you never know what the future holds.
Visiting a professional groomer also gives you the opportunity to learn which brushes and tools are best suited to your dogs coat type, and just as importantly, the correct way to use them to achieve the best and safest results. She may also be able to give you some tips and tricks to make grooming at home easy and enjoyable.
So, back to our original question of when should you take your puppy to the groomer for the first time. I usually tell people "a week after you bring him home" as a good rule of thumb. If he's eight weeks old when you bring him home for the first time, give him some time to adjust to his new surroundings, then visit your new groomer when he's nine weeks. Ideally, you would have already chosen and met with her - you'll feel much more at ease leaving him there for the first time, and if you're at ease, he'll be at ease.
Remember, dogs mimic our moods because we are taking the roll of their mother, and that's who they learn behavior from. So take your puppy to the groomer early and often while he is very young. This investment will make for a smooth and stress free lifetime of good grooming and good health.