The equipment you will need
for grooming is important. With the correct equipment
grooming is easier and less time consuming. Spending
a few extra dollars for the proper tools will
save money in the long run.
Grooming table- you will want a grooming table
that is large enough for an adult collie to lie
down on, but not too large. 2 ft. x 3 ft. is a
good size. It is easy and inexpensive to make
your own out of plywood , banquet table legs and
rubber matting. A grooming arm and noose is nice
to have, but not a neccessity if you train the
dog to stay on the table at an early age. Another
option is to use the top of a crate, although
the hieght will be rather low, it will work. If
it is a plastic one then you can just top it with
a piece of rubber matting. If it is the wire type,
then you can buy a grooming top that attaches
to the top.
Towels- these should be heavy wieght terrycloth
bath sheet sized towels. You will need at least
3 for each dog.
Nail clippers- these should be the heavy pliers
Slicker Brush- for removing under coat and tangles.
Get a large one for the bogy and a small one for
behind the ears, under the legs, armpits and feet.
Pin Brush- nice for finishing and last minute
Steel combs- Medium, fine and extra fine. For
removing tangles and combing behind the ears.
V-rake - for removing dead undercoat. Works better
than any other tool for this.
Matbreaker- For removing mats and thinning coat.
The best one I have used has a plastic handle
with curved blades that are replaceable. It is
called The Matbreaker. It will keep you and the
dog from getting cut if it slips.
Scissors- Get the best you can afford and they
will lastfot years. you will need a 7" pr.
for general trimming, a small pr. for feet, and
a curved pr. for trimming whiskers and between
Thinning Shears- get a good pair and they will
last a long time. These look like scissors with
a comb attached.
Shampoo- Use a quality shampoo for dogs, not humans,
as human shampoo is not ph balanced for a dog.
Sprayer- A plastic or metal hose with a spray
head makes bathing and rinsing easier and faster.
Apron- A plastic apron is nice for keeping your
clothes cleaner and drier.
Blow dryer- A heavy duty blow dryer with cool
and warm settings and adjustable air flow.
Collies should only be bathed all
over when absolutely neccessary, as doing otherwise
will destroy the natural oils in their coats,
thereby causing them to lose the roughness which
is needed to protect them from the elements. Of
course if you have a dog that you show, baths
will be needed more often. You would be surprised
at how clean they become after a thorough grooming.
Even if the dog is muddy, if you towel off whatever
you can then let him dry, and the mud will come
out with a good brushing. A good rule of thumb
is to groom first, then decide if one is needed,
unless of course they have gotten into something
they shouldn't have. Sometimes all that is needed
it to wash the white parts.
First gather all your supplies together where
needed, so you are not having to leave the dog
to get something. Then place the dog on the grooming
table (you may need help if it is an adult male).
If you have a puppy, all the better to get him
used to the grooming table at an early age. Pups
that are started when young will stay on the grooming
table and will learn to enjoy being groomed this
is especially nice if you show. (check out Blaise's
pic and you will see what I mean, he will not
get off the table unless he is lifted off). If
you have an adult that you are starting, they
make be shaky for a while and want to lie down.
Just treat the matter as no big deal and be patient.
They will get more comfortable each time. The
posistion you want the dog in is a matter of personal
choice, I like to have them stand, others like
them to lie on their sides.
1. Check for mats and tangles.
NEVER bathe a dog with mats, the water will cause
them to get so tight you will have to cut them
2. We will assume you found some mats. Start by
pulling the mat away from the skin and isolating
it as much as possible from the surrounding fur.
Try to spread it apart with your fingers. Then
comb out the mat with the Matbreaker tool to break
it up further. If it is large you will have to
push the blades into the middle of it and using
a sawing motion work outwards, away from the skin.
Repeat starting closer to the skin, until the
mat is broken up well. Then brush out whatever
you can with the small slicker brush. Next try
combing it out with the medium steel comb, working
down to the fine comb (extra fine if it is the
silky fur behind the ears) until the fur has no
tangles left. Working it out gradually like this
makes it painless for the dog and leaves the most
fur intact. Repeat the process on all mats.
3. Skip this step if the dog is not blowing coat.
Using the V -rake
comb through the coat gently in short strokes
with the lay or the fur, working one small area
at a time until that area is no longer picking
up much undercoat. Continue until the dog has
been totally raked (except for the face, legs
4. Take the large slicker brush and brush the
coat layer by layer working from the skin outwards,
against the lay of the hair. it is helpful if
you mentally divide the dog into sections and
work one section at a time (top of neck, back,
top of rump, tail, petticoats, thigh, side, shoulder,
side of ruff, front of ruff). Be careful in the
front of the dog to work from the center out,
as there is a bone that protrudes at the center
of the chest. Continue until you have brushed
the entire dog in this fashion (except for the
5. Using the small slicker brush, gently brush
the fur in the armpits, between the front legs,
inside of rear legs and feathering with the lay
of the fur and legs and feet against the lay of
If you have decided to bathe the dog, off to the
tub. Wet the dog thoroughly soaking the undercoat
as well. Do not wet the head, or he will shake...we
will save that for last. Put a small amount of
shampoo in you hands and rub it into the coat,
one area at a time squeezing the lather through
the coat until the dog is completely lathered
down to the skin. Now carefully wet the head while
holding the ears closed. Use very little shampoo
here (the more you wet it the more he will shake).
Then rinse the dog completely, from the top down
squeezing the lather out of the coat. Rinse the
head last. When you think the dog is totally rinsed,
do it again. Soap residue will cause skin irritation
if left there, so it is better safe than sorry.
Now it is time to let the dog shake...hold up
your bath sheet and let him go. The more he shakes
out, the less you have to dry. Now towel dry him
off, wipe out his ears and take him back to the
table. Towel him off with the second towel. Then
towel him off again with the 3rd towel if needed.
Now set the dryer on cool/high air flo and dry
him layer by layer, using the pin brush to lift
the coat. Direct the air into the brush brushing
outwards as you go.. Dry the undercoat completely
as moisture left in the undercoat can cause hot
spots, so make sure he is totally dry.
6. Trim the nails. If the dog has white nails,
you can see the pink or quick through it. If not,
then cut the nail where it hooks. It is best to
trim a little at a time with black nails, if you
are a little too close to the quick the dog will
let you know when you barely squeeze the clippers.
Just move them further down the nail and try again.
If you happen to cut the quick, use a syptic pencil
or quick stop to cauterize it. If you are uneasy
doing this, then have your vet show you how and
where to cut.
7. Using the larger scissors trim the fur on the
edge of the foot even with the bottom of the foot
and the nails. Now brush the fur upwards with
the small slicker. If there are clumps, just comb
them out. Using the blunt tip scissors, trim the
fur sticking up on the top of the foot at a 45
degree angle to the leg. Now take the remaining
hair and trim it to round out the entire foot....when
done the foot should appear to have a powder puff
on the toes. Now pick up the foot and trim the
hair around and in between the pads. The curved
scissors are good for cleaning in between the
toes, and the blunt tips for the rest. Repeat
on the other 3 feet. Now stand back and admire
those cute little feet!
8. Now it is time to trim up his head and ears.
Take your thinning shears and lay them on the
top of the skull behind the eyes, scissor at the
base of the hair, parallel to the skin as you
work towards the backskull. Repeat until the top
of the head is smooth instead of fuzzy. Then do
the same along the sides of the skull working
into the ruff to smooth out the cheeks. Now take
your blunt scissors and pulling the hair around
the ear out straight, trim the edges of the ear.
following the natural curve. Then clean out any
hair inside the ear with your blunt scissors.
Now holding the ear up straight,take the tip of
the ear and bend it over a bit. With the thinning
shears, trim the hair going across the top. Bend
the ear a bit more and repeat. Continue until
you reach the base of the ear. If the dog has
low ears you may want to take off more hair. Now
trim any straggly hairs from around the base,
using the thinning shears. Repeat with the other
ear. If you are showing the dog in confirmation,
you will want to also trim all his whiskers down
to the base with the blunt or curved scissors.
9. If you didn't bathe him, this is the time you
will neaten and fluff his coat with the pin brush.
10. Now get out your camera and take a picture
of your beautifully groomed dog,...... and e-mail
me a copy.
These are the basics for grooming a collie at
home, to make him look gorgeous. If you are showing
confirmation, there is some extra ring side grooming
to do, other than what I have outlined here. A
great book to show you how to groom for the show
ring is Collie Concept by Bobbie Roos. It includes
step by step pictures.
Ear carriage is essentail to the collie
expression. When your puppy is growing , his ears
will go up and down. This is the time to train the
ears as the cartilage is still developing. Do not
leave the ears go for more than a few hours without
correcting them. Although it is not impossible to
correct ears of the adult, it is a lot more challenging.
There are several methoeds used to train ears:
Bracing- Used for low ears. Some people will brace
to help hold the tape used to make the ear tip even
if the ears are not low set
Supplies- Mole skin ( you can get this at the drug
store in the foot care dept.)
Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls
Starter fluid spray(optional)
Start by trimming the hair inside the ears and cleaning
them thoroughly with rubbing alcohol. Let dry. Cut
out 2 pieces of mole skin to encompass the area inside
of each ear from the button to the breaking point
(where you want the ear to tip). Peel off the backing
and if you like you may lightly spray with the starter
fluid, and let dry. Then cut a piece of duct tape
to a length that will cover the mole skin on both
ears as well as leave a space between them. Visually
divide the tape up into 3rds, cut 1/3 of the way into
the tape at the first 1/3, do the same with the second
1/3. Now turn the tape around and do the same. Take
the center flaps that you made by cutting and fold
them down so they are not exposing a sticky surface..
So now your tape looks like a bridge between 2 buildings.
Now you are ready to apply the mole skin. Place the
moleskin into the inside of each ear just above the
button. Be careful not to catch hair under it. Rub
firmly into place. Now take the duct tape and put
one end (building) onto the moleskin in one ear. Then
take the other end and do the same. The "bridge"
should be in between the ears. Press firmly into place.
Be sure you don't catch hair under it, if you do,
it will make the puppy scratch his ears to relieve
the itching, and your work will only last 1 min. or
less. Now take 2 small pieces of duct tape and roll
them up sticky side out. Place this on the inside
of the ear over the tape. Then fold the tip down to
where you want it and press it into place on the tape.
Now you are done, unless you want to make sure the
pup doesn't get it off anytime soon, like me. Then
you can take thin strips of duct tape and wrap it
around the ears leaving the tops of the ears showing
as well as the bottom. *Tip - try to tape as little
fur as possible. Leave this "training bra"
on for 2 weeks, or until pups gets it off. If the
ears need it still, reapply.
Glueing- used to make pricked ears tip.
Supplies- Rubbing Alcohol
Tacky Glue (washable fabric glue)
Clean ears well with rubbing alcohol. Take a small
amount of glue and dab it on the tip of the ear. Let
glue set a bit till tacky. Then fold ear over and
stick it to the inside of the ear just above the button.
Repeat with other ear if needed.
Weighting- putting a heavy subtance on the tip of
the ear to make it tip. This should not be used for
puppies as the muscles in the ear are also developing
and the weight only acts as resistance and makes the
muscles stronger, resulting in permantly pricked ears.
Works well for grown dogs though.
I have heard of many substances being used for this.
I use tacky glue on the inside tip of the ear, then
dip the glue into colored sand to match the coat color
of the dog. You may need to use a couple of coats.
Others use a poultice called antiphlogostine. But
this tastes sweet and other dogs will lick it off.
It is also sticky for a while, but you can correct
that by dipping it in powder after putting it on the
ear. I have also seen duct tape rolled and stuck to
the inside tips (and have tried it myself with some
If anyone else has a way of doing ears that I have
not listed, please e-mail me with it and I will add
it to the page.
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