Caring For Your Dogs Coat

For Full Coated Dogs

So, you want to grow your dogs hair longer. I hear this a lot. Dogs are beautiful with long flowing coats. That natural, scruffy, shaggy, puppy look is adorable. You try to keep the hair brushed, you really honestly do.

But your dog is young. She needs to learn. She doesn’t like it, That’s okay, that’s what a professional is for, right? Wrong! Pet groomers are actually pet stylists. The one responsible for caring for the condition of the dog is the owners of the dog. The reason for this is that the maintenance of the coat is a constant routine. The level of difficulty depends upon the length of the coat, and other factors such as:

1. Do you wash the dog?

2. Does the dog swim or go into a wading pool?

3. Do you leave a harness on the dog?

4. Does the dog wear clothing?

5. If the dog is in full coat, or has a lot of hair around the neck, does she wear a collar?

6. If you wash your dog, do you that very same day, thoroughly brush and comb that dog over every inch of it’s body?

All of these factors determine the amount of work necessary to maintain the coat. I specialize in maintaining a full coat. My own dogs, and many of my clients dogs have had coats in amazing condition.

It is a labor of love. The secret is dedication. It is not a chore, it’s actually a bonding time for you and your pets IF and only IF both of you enjoy it.

Sometimes it can become frustrating, the dog fights the brush, or you give the dog a quick bath with no brushing only to later realize that was a disastrous decision. Or you leave the cute Christmas sweater on for 3 days while we have freezing temperatures, only to end up with a completely shaved down dog.

Sometimes, clients think, no worries, the groomer has special techniques, special tools, and wonderful conditioning treatments that they are trained to use in the event that your dog gets a few little mats. And to an extent, this is true.

The problem is, when we brush out matted hair, it hurts. And when the dog already hates the brush, it can be traumatizing. Sometimes I can do it once, to save the dogs coat, but the next time, the dog says NO.I often have clients prefer for me to save the coat, to please keep the hair that I trimmed short underneath the last time, and to let the coat grow. But if the coat is matting at this shorter length, why should we grow it longer?

The dogs owner must listen to the pet. If the pet cannot tolerate the brush, then keep the hair shorter until the training and routine are established.

The routine and tools depend on the desired length of coat and the type of coat that the dog has. Long flowing silky coats benefit from the use of an Artero or Chris Christensen Pin Brush, an Artero Comb, a Chris Christensen Poodle comb, and a Chris Christensen Face Comb.

Curly bushy coats benefit from the use of the Artero slicker brushes and the Chris Christensen Poodle Combs, and Artero Combs. The type of pins on the slicker depend on the depth of coat and the area you are brushing. I use both and go back and forth using both brushes on each dog, using the stiffer shorter pins on mats, the legs, and sometimes under the arms, and the longer pins in the areas where the hair is longer and thicker.

Oh, the dog won’t let you brush and comb??? Okay, let’s cut the hair shorter for now. We can ease the dog into the routine, or change the game plan all together.

Like for instance, my dog, Ammo. He is a Champion Poodle. He is gorgeous in a traditional style. But he hates having his feet shaved which is necessary to create that style. No amount of conditioning or training helped him to accept it. So I changed my expectation of what I wanted. He is adorable in his custom style, and best of all he is happy.

People often ask, “Should I brush every day ?” Or “How often should I brush?”. The answer is different in each situation.For me personally, If I am in charge of keeping a long flowing coat, such as the one on my Cocker Spaniel pictured below, I would wash, blow dry, brush and thoroughly comb every 5 days. That is a general rule for me, even my Poodles in show coat were done every 5 days.

Some will argue that point, but the proof is in the result.

Most people don’t want to pay the groomers for this time this often, so that is why, if it’s important to you, that you must learn to do that part at home.

I will add some how to articles to help you.

I often will refuse service if I feel that a dog will be traumatized as I am trying to help a client get through the learning curve. This does not mean that I am unhappy with you, or that I think that you are a bad pet parent. It is to help you move towards learning to do the work needed, or to help you to come to the decision to change your game plan.

Recommended Tools

For long , silky coats, these tools are best:

For Fluffy coated dogs:

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