Home Grooming Techniques
Even with regular grooming salon appointments, your dog may also require regular home grooming at the hands of your good self to keep their coat in prime condition between appointments. Breeds such as Poodles, any poodle crosses like the Cockerpoo and Labradoodle, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Schnauzer and Fox Terrier will all need daily maintenance to ensure their coats don’t get knotty. When these knots join together over time, they form a mat, and once you have them, you’re in trouble.
Mats are difficult and painful to get out, and your dog will become distressed as you or your groomer has to battle with them. The best favor you can do for your pet is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Easier said than done. Groomers over the years have struggled to get across just how difficult dealing with matting is. A lot of owners try for a time to keep their dog brushed, but when the dog plays up because they don’t like it, they often give up. If the dog doesn’t like the owner brushing them, guaranteed they won’t like the groomer doing it either. But the good news is there is a way to maintain the coat even with the most reluctant of pooches.
Speak to your groomer about what tools you should get to use at home in case your dog requires anything specific. But in general, for a double coated dog like a Husky or Golden Retriever, a deshedding tool will be your best friend (pic 1). If you have a long or curly coated dog then ensure you have a slicker brush (pic 2) and a comb (pic 3). But your first line of defense is a de-matting brush or rake (pic 4). Your pet supplier will have a number of options to suit your dog’s type of coat.
A good quality de-matting spray compliments the de-matting brush perfectly. You shouldn’t need much to massage into the mat, leave for a few minutes and then carefully pick through with the mat breaker to tease away the knots in the least stressful way possible for your dog. But be under no illusion, this takes time. If your dog is heavily matted through most of their coat, this is not hours of work, it’s days. If your dog does get this matted, you should seriously consider having them clipped/shaved short. This is where the groomer takes a blade short enough to cut under the matting to take the coat off in the easiest and most pain free fashion possible. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing your dog has ever looked, but they’ll be a lot happier and it will grow back. To maintain this sort of coat, you should give them a brush through on a daily basis. Check the coat with a comb. It should go root to tip without getting stuck.
For double coated dogs, depending on the time of year and when they shed, you may need to comb them through anything from once a week to every day at the height of their shedding season. It can be quite therapeutic, but be careful to keep an eye on their skin as over brushing can run the risk of brush burn. Brush burn is a reddened area of skin with a pinprick looking heat rash. If you have to brush daily, try to keep it to a maximum of ten minutes for the entire coat with light to medium pressure.
Lastly, if your dog does the inevitable and rolls in something smelly, then off to the bath they go. With long and curly coated breeds, be aware when you towel them off, the friction of the towel on the coat creates a breeding ground for mats to form. Give them a spritz with the de-tangling spray and comb or brush them through with the de-matting tools and a slicker brush and they will be tangle free and ready for action.
Pic 1: De-Matting Rake
Pic 2: De-shedding Tool
Pic 3: Slicker Brush
Pic 4: Comb