Once you get your new puppy home and settled, about two weeks, begin brushing your King Charles Cavalier at least daily. I like to start by brushing them on my lap every night while watching TV together. Start SLOW and VERY GENTLE! Show them the brush and then brush down their back, then to ears, and so forth. I recommend a small slicker brush when they are puppies and once their fur starts getting long, switch to a medium sized brush, as it will cover more area. Daily brushing helps the dogs coat, as it helps to release the natural oils in their coat. Cavaliers do not need baths often, only about every 5-6 weeks as washing them too often can dry out their skin.
Please make sure that you brush your Cavalier prior to washing them in order to remove knots and/or tangles as the bath could make them worse. Purchase a good puppy shampoo that is tearless, I also use a conditioner on all my Cavaliers. Be sure the water used in the bath is warm, not hot nor cold. Once you have completed the bath, towel dry lightly, as you don't want to cause any tangles. Use a hair dryer on low heat setting gently brush to smooth out his/her coat. Getting use to dryer as puppy makes it easier as they grow into an adult dog.
As your Cavalier grows and begins with tangles and knots, use a metal comb with two different sizes of round teeth at opposite ends. Gently try to pull the tangle slightly to loosen the tangle/knot and then use the large teeth to begin removing the knot. Please do not pull hard on the knots as it could hurt your puppy. Also, if you see your dog has knots and you can not get them out, please go to a professional groomer to have them removed. You do not want the knot to get to the skin and follicles as it is painful for your Cavalier.
I suggest that once your puppy is six months old and has had all his/her shots, take them to their first grooming appointment. The puppy needs to get use to the environment and it will make it much easier for him/her. The first grooming appointment should be a quick one. They will do a bath, nails, teeth and then a haircut, depending on your wishes.
Grooming is a perfect time to bond with your new bundle of joy and energy. Giving him/her a favorite toy to play with while being groomed decreases the chance they see the comb/brush as a toy. First attempts maybe present challenges but keep working at it. Praise the good behaviors and redirect when not not so good.
Tips on use of treats to follow later in our series. Potty training coming up next...