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Grooming

Equipment

  Technique

Ear Training

 

Equipment

 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 type.


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 touch ups.


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 the toes.


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.

 

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  Technique

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 out.
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 and feet).
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 face).
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 the fur.


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.

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Ear Training

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.)
Duct tape
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 success).


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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