Many people acquire a dog and don’t give grooming a second thought until the dog smells bad or is shedding to the point that dog hair tumbleweeds are rolling across the floor.It’s important to know that when you adopt a dog you understand what her grooming needs are so you can address them before she is uncomfortable and you are frustrated.
Rule number one is to start young. If you are working with a puppy, start right away, even if she doesn’t need to be brushed. I suggest handling paws, looking in ears and lifting lips to look at their teeth on a regular basis to get your dog used to handling. If you adopted an older dog, he may panic because he is not used to being restrained and handled, so be patient while you work with him and make the experience positive with treats and praise. Putting your dog through basic obedience classes that will teach your dog that you are leader and won’t hurt her might be important in helping to make grooming sessions successful.
For just about any breed, a slicker brush is the best choice.I find slicker brushes work much better than two sided brush because the pins and bristles on a two sided brush just tend to bounce off the top of a dog’s coat and do very little to remove loose hair. Rakes are useful to have on hand to pull out a lot of loose hair that a slicker brush won’t get, and a small metal comb is useful for small areas and mats and to remove hair from the brushes.
If you have the room for it, a sturdy grooming table is a really great tool to have.Taking your dog even a foot off the floor puts your dog in a different place psychologically, which is why your dog often behaves better on the veterinarian’s exam table that he does anywhere else. Without a table, grooming can often be a two person job: one to brush and one to hold the dog on a short leash. Your handler should keep one hand on the leash and one on your dog’s shoulders.
When you brush, make it a positive and routine experience.Start from the same place every time – I begin at the bottom of the back legs and work my way towards the front. Make sure to thoroughly brush your dog from the skin out,and clean out the brush as you go. How often you brush your dog depends on the hair coat. If you have a single coated cottony dog, he may only need a 15 minute brushing every week. If you have a dog with a double coat, brushing too often will create static which can cause mats. Double coated dogs may only need monthly brushing except during the twice a year seasonal shedding. When a dog blows his coat you will need to brush more often to remove the soft undercoat.
Matting of the coat occurs in the dog’s moving parts: behind the ears, in the arm pits, around the tail, and spreads from there. When a dog gets wet, it opens the hair cuticles and predisposes them to locking together in a mat. Shih Tzus, Afghans and Tibetans have very fragile hair that can break and split which can also cause matting. If the matting is severe, your dog might need to be shaved,however be aware that shaving a double coated dog such as a golden retriever can change the hair coat. It can grow back softer and shorter, a different color, or not grow back at all. Brushing your dog on a regular basis will prevent mats from occurring and make a big difference in both your lives.
If your dog has waxy ears, it is a good idea to clean your dog’s ears at the same time you brush, and then finish up with some praise and delicious and healthy treat. That way, you dog is sure to look forward to grooming sessions and with minimal fuss, your dog can be the best looking pup in the neighborhood.