Brushing your dog is not only the most fundamental grooming technique, it’s also a key aspect of dog care and should be considered an essential part of dog ownership. By brushing your dog’s coat regularly you will not only remove dirt, loose hair and burrs, which will prevent knots from forming in the coat, you will also spot parasites or any skin problems that may be developing, allowing you to treat these before they become problematic and possibly require expensive veterinary intervention. By following a regular brushing schedule, you will strengthen the bond with your pet, and your pooch will start looking forward to these interactive session and will be less likely to resist. Follow the dog grooming tips outlined below to get your dog’s coat looking great.
It is crucial that your dog associates brushing sessions as a pleasant experience that he would love to repeat. Puppy owners should begin training their pup soon after they acquire it to so that it gets used to being groomed from a young age, and to prevent any knots from forming in the coat. If your pup has to endure having matts brushed out of his coat at his first grooming session he will associate grooming with a bad experience. This could lead to long-term behavioral problems associated with grooming – all because the initial grooming session was a painful unpleasant experience.
Before you start brushing or combing, ensure that your pooch is relaxed and comfortable. Place your dog on a grooming table that is comfortable for you to work at. Alternatively, if you own a large dog, you may prefer to have him lie down on the floor, or if you own a very small dog you may prefer to let the dog lie in your lap while you brush it. Reassure a nervous dog by talking softly, handling the dog gently, and working with him slowly, rather than trying to rush through the job.
When the brushing session is over, reward your dog with a tasty treat. Alternatively take him for a walk or throw a ball for him. It is important that your dog associates this regular grooming activity as a rewarding experience that he will look forward to repeating regularly. Generally a dog will lavish the one-on-one attention he receives during these sessions, which will be reward enough.
In order to limit distractions, gather all the tools you will need before you begin brushing/combing your pooch. This will not only save time, but will be less distracting to your dog, who may become restless if you disappear in the middle of the operation.
There are a wide range of dog brushes, combs, and detangling tools available on the market. The tools and equipment you require will depend largely on the breed that you own. One of the most versatile and widely used dog brushes on the market is the universal slicker brush, which should form part of every dog owner’s grooming arsenal, and is essential for owners of long-coated breeds.
One question that is commonly asked is what is the difference between brushing or combing a dog? While the motions are the same, brushes and combs are used for different purposes. Dog brushes are typically used to remove loose hair, stimulate the skin, and disperse oils throughout the coat to make it healthy and shiny. Metal dog combs are used to work through tangles and to remove any knots that may have formed – the size of the comb and gap between the teeth will depend on the coat type; a wide-toothed comb being more suitable for coarse, thick coats and a finer comb being more suitable for dogs with fine, silky coats, while combing with a fine-toothed flea comb will remove fleas from the coat and skin. A slicker brush is useful because it can remove dead hair and work through knots effectively.
If your dog has any stubborn mats that will not brush out easily during routine brushing and combing, it is vital that you tackle these first. Use the following procedure to work through mats in the fur:
Once you have successfully removed all the mats from your dog’s coat you can begin brushing to remove loose hair. Depending on your preference, you can either comb the dog’s coat entirely, followed by brushing – simply follow the steps outlined below with a comb, then repeat using a brush. Alternatively, you can work through one step at a time with a comb, followed by brushing before moving onto the next step.
The best way to avoid difficulties is to groom your dog regularly so that he gets used to the routine and learns to enjoy the attention. However, there are always some dogs that just hate being brushed, and if yours is one of those, it is wise to take precautionary measures to avoid being bitten. If necessary invest in a muzzle – this can be removed at a later stage if your dog accepts brushing without too much fuss. Also, it may be beneficial to start the initial grooming sessions with tools that are kinder to the dog – even if they are less effective – until you build trust with your dog and he settles down and starts to accept grooming more readily.
Some breeds have a tendency to shed hair more than others. The FURminator Deshedding tool is a wonderful grooming aid that can be used for removing dead hair from the coat. It is available online from Amazon.com in a wide range of sizes for dogs with long or short coats, but is particularly useful for dogs that have a dense undercoat. The tool doesn’t cut the hair, it only removes loose dead hair from the coat, but it does a remarkable job in no time at all, leaving the dog feeling better and your furniture – well, not so full of fur…
It is important that your dog is free from mats and tangles before you run the FURminator over its coat.
When brushing dogs that have long coats, it is imperative that you brush all the way through the coat, penetrating right down to the dog’s skin, rather than just brushing the surface of the coat. Comb through the hair with a metal comb first to untangle any knots, work through any mats with a slicker brush, or use a mat splitter or dematting rake on more stubborn mats. Remove dead undercoat with a deshedding rake or a FURminator, which will remove excess dead hair to thin the coat out. Then thoroughly brush the coat against the grain of the hair, then finish by brushing in the same direction as the hair.
While combing may not be necessary for short-haired breeds, short-haired dogs still tend to shed a lot. A FURminator is very effective for removing loose hair to prevent shedding all over the house, carpets and furniture. Choose a brush that is appropriate for your dog’s coat, and finish off with a rubber curry comb, which will remove surface hairs and give your dog’s coat a nice lustre.
Follow the rest of the articles in this series for expert dog grooming tips and step-by-step instructions on how to groom a dog at home like a pro:
Featured Image by Llima Orosa, via Flickr
Planning on welcoming a new pet into your home? Learn how to make you home…
Check out this video to learn more about the causes and symptoms of chocolate poisoning…
A team of Swedish scientists have used national register information in more than one million…