Poodle Crosses

The poodle crosses have delightful characters with stunning coats.

However the fur can be difficult to maintain, so some owners, understandably so, have the coat clipped quite short so that the dog is not troubled by matts and debris remaining in the coat between grooms.

However if the coat is to be left a little longer it needs to be brushed/combed regularly, especially around friction areas such as behind the ears or in the arm pits. This is the case for all poodle crosses! And yes on average a visit to the groomer every 6 weeks is essential to prevent the coat getting out of hand.

Smooth Coated breeds

These are the simplest of breeds to groom and many go through there entire lives without a brush or bath.

Fair enough, except that the benefits of grooming are obvious if given some thought. Any brushing helps the dog shed coat but a dog groomer will brush before the bath to remove dead coat and more dead fur will be removed during the bath. A groomer may use what is called a blaster before the dog gets out of the bath. This removes more coat and then the drying process where the dog is groomed throughout the drying of the coat.

Now think of this as a human at a spa. The dog will feel so much better after a bit of pampering. The act of brushing, shampooing and brush drying is basically a well deserved massage! As with all breeds, your groomer is also giving your dog a thorough visual health check and will often be the first to notice any changes such as new lumps or bumps in the dog.

Double Coated Breeds

These are your Collies, German Shepherds, Labradors and many others.

I know that the amount of coat that comes from these dogs can sometimes leave the owner wondering how on earth the dog isn’t bald! These dogs have needed thick coats for the jobs they did. Some still do. But lets face it, most live indoors in lovely centrally heated rooms and are pampered in the way they should be. However because of this comfortable lifestyle dogs are shedding dead hair throughout the year.

Your dog will feel so much more comfortable after a trip to the groomer and there will be less hair in your house…..for a while at least! Once again, I believe the health benefits are obvious.

The dog gets a thorough massage whilst being shampooed and the skin gets stimulated by the act of brushing improving circulation. Not only this but the groomer is handling the dog continuously for well over an hour and will often notice changes to the skin and temperament that you may want to alert a veterinarian to.

Cocker Spaniels

There are two different types of English Cocker Spaniel.

The Working (Field) Cocker and the Show Cocker with its domed head and much longer ears. Both types are incredibly loyal to their owners and have boundless energy! The coat on the Working Cocker is all about practicality and being able to be out in the field without accumulating too much debris. The Show Cocker has greater furnishings on the chest, legs, ears and tail.

Not so practical but does make for in my opinion one of the most beautiful of dogs but I am biased as I have one myself. Saying this, due to the enthusiastic nature of the breed and its liking of following its nose and being in water, many Show Cocker owners have their dogs clipped quite short otherwise the ‘feathering’ ends up containing a full variety of vegetation.

Matted dogs

A common problem for groomers that see certain dogs infrequently is a matted dog. Although there are areas of the body that are more prone, matts can occur in the coat all over a dog’s body.

It is more of a problem in some breeds and types than others. Even if a dog is regularly brushed, quite often the act of brushing alone does not remove the knots as it simply brushes over the knot. A friend of mine calls it tickling the coat! The longer the knot remains in the coat it gets worse and eventually becomes matted. Just because you can’t see a knot, it doesn’t mean it is not there! When a groomer tells you they found lots of knots, they are not exaggerating or trying to judge you.

Most groomers enjoy the work of scissoring, the skill that they have trained to use.  They also enjoy developing a relationship with the dog, an animal they love and chose to work with.  Because of this your groomer will prefer a knot free coat and certainly will not want to cause your dog pain.  If a groomer is pulling on a matted coat the relationship between dog and groomer could be damaged, possibly for the rest of the dog’s life.

The de-knotting process is not acceptable if the coat is badly knotted, so a groomer will suggest that the coat is clipped off short, which is the only solution that is pain free for the dog. The fur grows back! The coat is then easier to maintain and with more frequent visits to the dogs groomer the coat can be styled painlessly. For those trying to maintain a coat that knots easily, as I mention above, don’t just use a brush but a comb as well.

Make sure you are running the comb through the fur touching the skin as you go. If your dog has a coat that is prone to matting, you need to do this daily but especially after the dog has been wet. Wet dogs matt even more readily! Get the dog dry, and run a comb through the coat. This regular maintenance will get the dog into a routine which he or she will not object to and will often end up enjoying. There are knot busters on the market. These basically get under the knots, cutting them out of the fur but I cannot stress enough that these are designed for the odd knot, not to remove many.

Pulling on a dog’s coat causes pain. DON’T TRY, ask for the coat to be clipped short. It grows back!

Hand Stripped Coats

Hand stripping remains popular. Those dogs such as the Border Terrier, the long legged terriers, Westie or even Cocker Spaniels as well as many others that are to be shown will not be clipped but handstripped. 

These show dogs will be tinkered with by their owners, a little like a classic car owner does with car engines to keep it maintained, similarly these dogs will have dead hair pulled daily or weekly to keep them looking good. The disadvantage for the pet owner that wants their dog handstripped, aside from the expense because of the time the process takes the professional groomer, is the time it takes to ‘tinker’ between visits and that the dog can start to look a little scruffy if this isn’t done. It can then become difficult for the groomer because from time to time dogs will be presented too early or often because the dog looks shaggy but the coat is not ready to be pulled to create the look the owner wants.

In these circumstances a groomer will not be willing to cause the dog pain and probably will suggest waiting longer or that the coat be regularly clipped so that it is easier to manage. However if this is the choice, an owner should not then get the dog handstripped at a later date as the coat often becomes softer and will not come out easily. The owner should also be aware that the colour sometimes dilutes a little when clipped.

Any dog that is handstripped should not be bathed on the same day as handstripping can allow infection into the pores. Leave it a few days. Many groomers will have the dog back for the bath and will take the opportunity to ‘tinker’ a little further.