Well, you may be disappointed to learn that your dog could very well be better off with a wig like William Wegman's Penny shown above. Of course, in her case it's not because she needed to shave off her beautiful locks of hair, it's because she was modeling for National Geographic. (hear about the photo shoot here: William & Penny )
Sadly for many dogs, the truth is that they simply don't have the option to have their fur combed out. Having a groomer doesn't mean you don't have work to do at home. If your dog hasn't been brushed in months, or brushed properly, than you lower your options for keeping that lovely winter coat.
Real Quick about why we can't always save a coat:
When was the last time you tried to brush a knot, or worse, a dread-lock out of your head? In case it's been a while, let me tell you that it hurts. So imagine having messy hair all over!! Ouch. Certainly some knots and tangles can be worked out, even a few matts here and there, but more work = more time = more costly for you. And if the fur is so bad it causes excess pain to your dog, we won't do it. It's just not fair.
But we can be tricky and hide shaved out spots. Check out this little pup who was matted pretty darn solid around the chest, armpits, and belly and had to be shaved super short in those spots only:
But before we start: Don't get stressed out! This is not a contest and we don't judge people or condemn them for their busy lives and lack of proper brushing We understand that life gets in the way.
Here we go:
1. DON'T BE OVERWHELMED: Don't tell yourself you need to brush the entire dog every night, or all at one time. Break things down for yourself to make it easier. A dog has 4 legs (God willing), 2 ears, 1 tail, a fluffy head, a hairy face, and of course everything in between. Pick one or two areas on your dog to work on a day.
2. HAVE THE PROPER TOOLS: Most dog coats will require a slicker brush and a comb (see our previous post about these tools here: "Grooming Tools For You!" ) and you may also be in need of a good de-matter similar to something like this:
4. ADD A STEP TO YOUR WALKING ROUTINE: With longer hair, a collar, harness, and sweater can cause major trouble spots. The hair underneath a sweater, even just a collar, can quickly tangle - it's like having "hat head" but worse. Keep your brush and comb near your dog's leash, and after you remove your walking equipment, give those spots a quick brush through.
5. MAKE IT A GOOD TIME: This isn't punishment for you or your dog. It should be a great bonding experience. Many mammals in families or packs often groom each other just to show love. If your dogs hates it, bring some treats to the event and teach them that being brushed is an awesome experience!
6. BE CAREFUL BATHING: Some people think a bath at home is a good way to keep their dog in good shape. But if you let that wet hair dry naturally, or wet hair that's already matted, you may be adding to the problem. Be sure that your home baths always include brushing and combing as well.
7. GET HELP: If you are a regular customer AND have had an appointment within the past MONTH, we offer free eye scoop/trim so your dog will look just a bit fresher and neater in between groomings. We can even help with a quick trim on the "back end" for sanitary reasons should that be required.
8. GET MORE HELP: If you have succeeded in achieving your long coat but it's just looking shabby, make an appointment for a grooming. Just because you're going to a groomer doesn't mean you have to be getting a short haircut!! I don't use my hairdresser for just drastic haircuts! I need her on a pretty regular basis to help me keep my hair long and healthy. The same thing goes for your dogs' hair. A Full Grooming is a bath, nails, ears cleaned, hair brushed out, and the haircut of YOUR CHOICE. If you've done your work at home, we will gladly shape up your dog and leave as much hair as you'd like. Check out Buddy here after his holiday trim up. He's trying to grow in a longer coat so he didn't really get any length taken off, just brushed out and shaped up all over:
As always, feel free to ask us any questions; we're here to help!