The Furrific Way: 4 Simple Steps to a Properly Groomed Dog

4 Steps to a healthy, happy and beautiful dog! Every dog can have a brilliant, tangle-free coat!

Step 1: Build Rapport – This is the “handshake” before the groom, comparable to a dentist giving you a warm greeting before starting. Investing some time before the groom to establish trust and respect will help the entire grooming session be pleasant and enjoyable. Step 2: Prepare the Skin – This is the most important step in the grooming process. Carding (removing excess/dead undercoat) the coat helps to clear the pores ensuring the water and shampoo will have room to clean the follicles. It is like taking off our dirty clothes before a shower, or pre-scrubbing the dishes before running the dishwasher. The bath is meant to condition and clean the skin, not the hair – healthy hair does no good without healthy skin beneath it. It is healthy skin that produces a bright, healthy coat. Step 3: Wash & Rinse – After the skin has been prepared for the bath by thoroughly carding the coat the dog is ready for the bath. Always use the mildest shampoo possible and use cool water to help soothe and heal the skin. A good rule of thumb is to rinse for at least twice as long as it takes to lather to ensure all shampoo residue is rinsed out. Remember that too much water can also dry out the skin. Up to 20 minutes is good for moisturizing the skin, but after 30 minutes the water begins to dry the skin out – like when our hands prune under water. I’ve learned from Michelle Knowles, CMG that adding a quality conditioner made specifically for dogs is an absolute must. After clearing away the natural oils from the dog’s skin, we must add in clean natural oils to replace what we washed out. Step 4: Styling – Once the dog is completely dry and combed out, it is ready for trimming, clipping, and styling. Avoid using heated cage dryers/blowers and always keep the heat moving when using a blow-dryer. I like to compare this part of the process to finally putting on the new paint on the walls after they have been prepped. This is the “fun” part. The prep work usually involves most of the physically demanding labor. By following this process you will promote a healthy skin that will produce a beautiful and brilliant coat.

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