Equipment and Home Grooming for Dogs
Many owners of long-coated breeds positively
enjoy grooming their dogs, often achieving and maintaining near
professional results. It demands a great deal of dedication, and time -
the show trim of a poodle, for instance, is the result of several days
hard work in total, possibly spread over a week or more. Owners of
short-coated breeds are likely to be less dedicated to such perfection,
although regular grooming is still necessary to maintain the dog's skin
and coat in good condition.
Whatever the intention, you will need the
proper equipment. For trimmed breeds, clippers are essential. Electric
clippers are probably the most expensive item of actual grooming
equipment, although grooming stands or tables can cost any price,
depending on their construction and how firmly you feel it is necessary to
restrain the dog. Professional clippers do the best job and last longest,
but a compromise on price and effectiveness can usually be reached.
Whatever the make or cost of the clippers, they must be regularly
sharpened. This is a job for the expert, and there are several companies
in every country that specialize in a prompt and inexpensive service. Do
not be tempted to economize. The dog won't like it, and you won't be happy
with the result.
Most breeders of long-coated dogs do their
own grooming. They will be happy to advise on the equipment that is
suitable for your level of skill, and they usually will help the novice to
get started. But don't expect show-winning results immediately, even with
the best tools.
In addition to clippers, you will need a
suitable brush and comb. There are many types. Again, take advice from
breeders. The hard brush that is suitable for a mixture of massage and
loose hair removal for a Boxer, say, may be death to the silky coat of an
Afghan, and, conversely, a comb will do very little for the short coat of
an untrimmed breed.
Many people give up on some of the
long-coated breeds. They love the dog, but hate the regular chore of
trimming and grooming and the coat-matting that is the inevitable result
of failure to do both. Taking the scissors to such dogs is not an option.
If you were tempted by a beautifully shaggy dog but find the reality all
too overwhelming, there may be no alternative to taking most of the coat
off. But please let the professional do it. Both you and the dog will feel
less embarrassed at the result.
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