Lockdown Life - A Grooming Guide
Day 1,364 of lockdown and I don't know about you but 'normality' feels like a lifetime ago! I'm getting the feeling that returning to work will be like your first day of school after the Summer break and forgetting how to hold a pencil and write your name!
Anyway, I digress...
You may or may not have noticed that I've been somewhat quiet on our social media when it comes to video tutorials or tips on clipping your dogs during lockdown.
There are several reasons behind this, the main being;
Risk of Injury: Grooming is not just about trimming a coat and getting sleek, scissored legs - the correct handling is vital and should the less confident owner find themselves with a pair of scissors near the face of their fidgety Cockapoo, I dread to think of the outcome and wouldn't want to be encouraging of this.
Deterioration of behaviour: We work meticulously with all of our dogs, providing reasurrance and helping to promote confidence with their grooming experiences from a very young age. This is built over considerable time but can often be heavily knocked by a single negative experience. With this in mind, it is - in my opinion - yet another reason to avoid taking professional grooming in to your own hands, for your groomer to have to rectify these behavioural issues in the long term.
Lastly - It's unnecessary! The long and short of it is that as long as you are keeping your dogs brushed out correctly you will be enabling their coat to remain matt free, in good condition and allowing oxygen to penetrate their coat freely, helping them to regulate their body temperature as the warmer weather sneaks in.
The only TWO tools you'll need are a soft/medium slicker brush and a comb - both available from us at Hurley's but links are also below.
Technique: Use your slicker brush both with and against the direction of the coat. If removing knots and tangles, use your fingers to hold the hair close to the skin to avoid painful tugging as you brush through the matt. Use a dematting spray (available at Hurley's) on the dry coat to assist with this part of your brushing routine.
Use your comb to ensure you're brushing through the entirety of the coat, reaching the skin and thus preventing new matts from forming.
Key Areas: Friction areas will need most attention during brushing - behind the ears, legs and areas that are covered by harnesses, too.
Whilst I've no doubt you'll be greeted each morning by a very hairy hound, this should be a manageable way for you cope until Hurley's HQ reopens.
This being said and after having spoken with several of you over the phone/via text, IF you are finding that your pups are increasingly struggling with a thicker coat, I would advise the most beneficial and simplest form of clipper work needed would be what us dog folk call 'the landing strip'.
This, as shown in the photo, is a singular clipping line using a short blade down the centre of the belly, from the hygiene area to just before the elbow of the dog. Doing this allows your dog to keep cooler and saves you snipping away, too!
*YOU MUST make sure that your blade length is no longer than 1.5mm to avoid nipples or loose skin getting caught between the blade teeth.
One other key issue most of you might be finding is nails.
Nails that become too long risk curling back in to pads and may prove painful for dogs whilst walking. Again, this is something that I've tried to coach some of you through but for those wanting to attempt trimming nails then please see our top tips below!
Nail Scissor: Arm yourself with a nail scissor or clipper like these - they're the easiest to use and give you the most control. Avoid guillotine style nail trimmers as these tend to put tension on the nail as it's cut and most dogs aren't huge fans!
Angle: Angle your nail scissor as shown below, allowing space to avoid cutting the quick (blood vessel).
Bit by Bit: There's no need to remove a large portion of the nail. Even by taking the very ends off the nail, you will encourage the quick to retract back towards the nail bed, allowing you to remove a little more in another weeks' time.
"Oops": You cut too much? Little Teddy has yelped? There's a little blood? DON'T PANIC! This can happen. More often than you might think and definitely more so with black nails. Simply press a cotton pad to the tip of the nail to help stop the bleeding. If this persists, grab a pinch of flour or bicarb to clot the blood.
Hey presto! You've got yourself a freshly manicured pup, a sweaty brow and an increased need for a beer! Simples, right?!
Finally, if you're bathing your dogs during meltdown, I mean lockdown...
You must make sure you're drying the coat thoroughly whilst brushing the coat out. Allowing the coat to dry naturally will only be counter-intuitive as matts are more likely to form and will be trickier to remove.
Watch our very own Eric's home grooming video and his Mums sterling efforts (taught by yours truly of course!)
Remember that brushing, bathing and any other grooming requirements are such a fantastic way to make a necessary part of their life, enjoyable. Not only this but people can often overlook how great an opportunity it is for you to bond with your dog, too!
I'm hoping these tips will keep you all going for what will hopefully only be a few more weeks but as always, please do not hesitate to call or text if you need further advice. I'm also more than happy to offer video support through your attempts whilst at home.
Have a great week folks, stay safe & give those hounds a whole heap of love from the Hurley's Angels!
Team H x