the wonderful world of allison
IDEAS, THOUGHTS, IMAGES AND GRATITUDE TO MAKE EVERYONE'S WORLD A LITTLE MORE WONDERFUL
A couple weeks ago I had a post about the proper way to mix and use shampoo. If we don’t start with the very basics and make this perfect then we will never have our finished product turn out to be the best that it can be.
The same I feel goes for brushing and combing. There are many times I am asked to help trim a line on a dog and I cannot get a comb through the hair properly. You can stand at ringside and see double-coated breeds that have obvious “clumps” of hair. Dogs that are going through a coat change that have hair literally falling out of them and sticking to your clothes as you pass by. I have also been told many times that they don’t want to brush their dog too much as they are “blowing” coat and want the coat to “hold” until the show in two weeks!
Once your dog is properly bathed and dried, as is the custom for your breed, they very best thing you can do is to make sure that they are completely and properly line brushed and combed. Now not all longer haired double coated breeds need to be line combed, but to be honest I do comb them all.
A note about “blowing coat”
When the hair follicle decides to let go of the hair and your double coated dog is going through a coat change (either seasonally or hormonally) your best bet is to get that old dead hair out of there as fast as possible. The sooner the dead hair is out of the way the faster the new hair can grow! The new hair is stronger, healthier and most likely an ideal colour as it has not been damaged by sun or other elements. I brush my shelties that are blowing coat EVERY day to get the old hair out and the new coat in. (Typically they get bathed/brushed once a week when not going through a coat change) Make sure you are line brushing your dog right to the skin and use a wider toothed comb as well to get as much old coat released as possible.
Line brushing and combing.
None double coated breeds, and most double coated breeds benefit greatly from a proper line brushing and combing after each bath and of course before each trim or before each time they are shown.
Line brushing is actually exactly what it sounds like. You start from one area of the dog and brush the hair to the skin in small sections in a straight line. I like to start from the shortest hair of the dog and work towards the longer hair and I will often use a parting comb to make sure I am getting all the way down to the skin. Check out my You Tube tutorial here or at the right of this post.
Magic finishing comb.
My new favourite thing to use is the Utsumi 9 inch quarter comb (the half and half is also lovely). This comb is constructed so that the teeth are so fine that it absolutely picks up every little strand of hair and makes it stand out from the dog in an amazing way. In Canada Canadian Grooming Distributer has an excellent price on these combs.
Keep your supplies close at hand
Not everyone has a designated grooming space. Regardless of if you do or you have to stash your supplies in a closet I love these “Cylinder Shear Holders” from Canadian Grooming Distributer. (I use the for everything not just shears) and with the code ORGANIZE you can get 20% off of them until November 23, 2017.
(CGD also has free shipping on orders over $100.00)
The wet towel
If you have ever seen me at a dog show you may have noticed that before each dog I show enters the ring that it is standing on a wet towel.
And of course if you have never seen me at a dog show I cam going to tell you that before each dog I show enters the ring it does indeed stand on a wet towel.
And here are the reasons why.
First, there are the physical reasons. Dog show footing surfaces are often slippery. Having the pads of your dog’s feet wet acts the same why it does when you lick your fingers and count your money. You have better traction. Even of you are showing outdoors the grass can get stamped down from previous dogs being shown and then it gets slippery as well. I like the wet towel better than a product like “tacky paw” or similar as when you put something sticky on your dogs feet they tend to pick up all the dirt, dust and hair from the show and then the product no longer works. Also we are putting product on our dogs’ feet that could block some of the “sweating” ability of the dogs pads. I don’t like dogs to lick this off of their feet and being allergic or having it upset their stomach. An added bonus is that wet towels are free and the vendors never run out of them.
The second reason for using a wet towel is the mental component. As our dog’s handler we know when we are in the ring. We have watches, schedules and we know what class is in the ring before us. Our dogs do not have any of those abilities. It is vital to your dog’s performance that they can also mentally prepare themselves to enter the ring. The wet towel provides the cue for them to get ready.
If about 10 minutes before each time you enter the ring you have your dog on the wet towel you will provide your dog with nice wet, cool feet and a better than average chance of not slipping in the ring. In addition you will also provide your dog with a mental cue that they are about to go into the ring. This is as important for your dog as it is for you.
You should tell yourself that once your dog is on the wet towel that this is the time to focus on your dog and what you are going to do. In my experience the wet towel also acts as a “marker” for the people around you. They tend to not step or stand on the towel. This in turn gives your dog a little more personal space before they have to enter the ring. I like to call it my “doggy green room”.
Next time you are at a show take an extra towel, get it wet, wring it out and give this method a try! If you would like more information on this method or any others take a look at my “The Ultimate Guide to Handling Your Dog“.