Rain, snow, swimming, and humidity are ain, snow, swimming, and humidity are Rthe number one enemy of dogs with an number one enemy of dogs with an Rundercoat (Poodles, Bichons, Old English, Cockers, Schnauzers, etc.), because water causes the soft, cotton-like undercoat to mat very close to the skin when the hair dries. If you took a cottonball and put it in a glass of water,it would absorb the water. If you then took the cottonball from the glass and laid it on the side until it dried, you would see what happens to your dog’s hair. Just like the cottonball, it will mat very tight to the animal’s skin. This is why it can be so dangerous and painful to demat the hair.
A dog groomer’s clipper blades cannot cut the matted hair. The blade will attempt to cut below the matted hair and dangerously close to the dog’s skin. Bathing a dog with matted hair can cause major skin irritation. The matted hair does not allow the soap to be rinsed cleanly from the dog’s skin. Matted hair should be brushed with a curved wire slicker brush. Be aware that while a slicker brush is effective for dematting a coat, it can tear and damage the hair. Use it carefully and only when necessary. Keeping a dog’s coat groomed and in good condition can avoid the problem of matted hair. The most important skill in grooming is brushing. Here are a few brushing tips:
1. Designate a location for grooming and groom your dog there every time. Your dog will learn to associate this location with grooming and will remember what is expected.
2. Take time to teach your dog what behavior is expected. If you want your dog to stand while you brush the hind legs, place the dog in a standing position, give the command “stand”, and offer praise for performing your request.
3. Don’t expect your puppy or adult dog to sit still for long periods of time. Be sensitive to your dog’s attention span.
4. Don’t allow your puppy to chew on the brush as you try to groom it. You must teach your puppy that grooming time is not a time for play. Correct the puppy with a firm “No” and continue brushing.
5. Do not feed your dog the morning of their grooming. Some dog’s should not be fed the night before if they get diarrhea while being groomed.
Ask a professional dog groomer what type of brush is best for your dog’s coat. Brushing improves the overall appearance of the dog’s coat, increases circulation, distributes oils, and removes dirt and dead skin. The result is healthier skin and hair and less chance of matting.
My experience has shown me that most people do not have the time to care for their pet’s coat. From the dog’s point of view, being groomed professionally on a 4 to 6 week schedule can be a lot faster with much less stress on your pet. Many groomers offer discounts for pets groomed on a regular basis.
For more information, contact Tim Wray of Maryland School of Dog Grooming at (301)585-4311