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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