The Tao of Grooming
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee has been a huge inspiration in my life and the way I approach grooming. I love his philosophical approach to his art form, and how he took inspiration from wherever he could find it. “Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it” Bruce Lee. This inspired me to learn from as many professional groomers as I could, and I would spend countless hours every night learning as much as I could on the subject. By keeping an open mind, and being open to new information, I have developed my own personal philosophy on dog grooming that I am eager to share with you. This is the result of years of personal struggle, and countless hours of study and application.
Brush more, and bathe less. This is my philosophy in one simple sentence. There are several articles online that say it is ok to bathe once a week, but in my opinion, that is not the best way to care for the dog’s skin. There’s an article written by Dr. Marty Smith called Bathe and Brush Dogs the Right Way, where he states: “If you use the proper shampoo, you can bathe your pet more than once a week and not damage the coat.” You may not damage the coat, but you are damaging the skin on a cellular level. Skin care is much more important than coat care, in my opinion, because it is a healthy skin that produces a healthy coat and not the other way around.
According to Pam Lauritzen, founder of the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC; www.petstylist.com), the normal skin cycle speeds up when it is disrupted on a cellular level either by washing or clipping the surface of the skin. “It should be noted that when conditioning damaged skin, it must be given at least 2-4 weeks restoration time.” ISCC Certification Study Guide; Section 1, page 2.
“Anything that disrupts the normal functioning of the skin, strips the dog of its protective covering, leaving it vulnerable to its environment. While topical conditioning to restore the surface conditions of the skin may be necessary, it must be recognized that treating the symptoms while neglecting the cause is only half of the solution.” ISCC Certification Study Guide; Section 1, page 4.
After learning so much from the ISCC, I’ve come to believe that it is best to wash our dogs no more than once a month. Rather than washing frequently, I believe it is much better to brush them thoroughly on a regular basis.
Next week I will cover the importance of using the right shampoos and conditioners, and why dogs smell so strong even after we wash them.
“Brushing and combing before the bath has three purposes. First, it loosens dirt and dander, and foreign matter. Second; it removes hair shed. Third, it stimulates the skin and allows natural hair oils to circulate….
Initial brushing and combing (and de-matting as necessary) is usually done before the bath. Dogs freed of undercoat before their bath are more quickly bathed. Also, the advantages of a bath are greater without undercoat because shampoo, conditioner and rinse water is reaches through the coat down to skin far more easily.”
Thank you all so much for reading my articles, and helping me in my mission to create awareness on the importance of proper grooming. I truly appreciate your support, and I look forward to sharing more with you next week!