Leave 'em Fluffy

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Being a pet stylist, and a salon owner I hear on a consistent basis please leave him fluffy. We don’t like him short. The biggest reason why I can’t provide what the client wants is because their pet is to matted. It is matted because they aren’t being brushed and combed at home, or an owner has never had proper tools or instruction on how to brush their dog. I also get told time and time again “ he doesn’t like it” or “he tries to bite” Just like with everything else owning a dog. Training, and being consistent. If you're trying to brush your dog without any type of restraint, they are going to try and run in the beginning. If you are trying to hang onto a body part, and they are trying to get away, they are possibly trying to bite. The easiest solution I have found for this because pet owners don’t own a grooming table is, buying a yoga mat, or some sort of anti slip mat, and putting the pet on the washer, and or dryer. NEVER walk away and leave a dog unattended if you choose to do this. Hook a leash to the collar, and close it in the door or the dryer, or lid of the washer. It is much easier this way, then to have a dog on the floor, or sitting in a persons lap.

Picking the brush that is best suited for dog is the next step. Being a pet stylist I have 8 different brush types in my arsenal. I need to have one for each different coat type, or I cannot properly brush out a dog. Using a conditioning spray while working on a coat is important as well. The more the coat is damaged, the easier that dogs coat is going to get knotted and matted. Keeping damage to a minimum is important.


Best brushes to get out the undercoat, and shedding fur I have found is a rubber curry brush, and a soft slicker brush with coated pin tips. I like both of these because they are simple to use, and get the job done. To use the Zoom Groom, rub in a circular motion all over the dog. For the Paw Brothers slicker brush, always brush in the direction in which the coat lays. 



This is where it can be a little tricky on finding the right brush. The pins need to be long enough to penetrate and help pull out dead coat, depending on the breed and the thickness of coat will help with the selection of brushes. There are two brushes I recommend for these double coated breeds and both are made by Chris Christiansen, Big K and Big G Long Pin Slickers. The pins are long and curved, and help grab onto the dead coat. Best method for these breeds is called line brushing. Line brushing is taking sections of coat lift it all up and hold with one hand and and the other brushes in lines gradually pulling down the hair that is being held up. Always make sure to use some type of coat spray when brushing, it helps to keep the hair pliable, and conditioned.


This is applied to so many grooming breeds, it would take a page in itself just listing them all. This is for dogs that are in pet trims, and not kept in “show coat”. A topic like that requires its own article. Depending on the coat length choosing which pin length on a brush is a factor. For a dog who’s coat is an inch or under I would select a brush with shorter style pins, and for a dog who’s coat is longer than that a brush with longer pins. Again using a coat spray of some type is important. Brushing a dry coat, can damage it. The coat doesn’t have to be wet, but each section should be lightly sprayed as it is being brushed and combed through. When brushing coats like these, I start out at the foot, and brush all the coat against the brain, or against the lay of the fur. When a coat of these lengths are just brushed with the lay of the coat, it isn’t being brushed close to the skin, and only the topcoat is being brushed out. When combing, I always comb in the direction in which the coat lays. Pictured are different brushes I recommend for these types of dogs. Andis slicker brushChris Christiansen slicker brushesOscar Frank Universal slicker brushes, and Paw Brothers.


For simplicity sake I teach these breeds( I.E. Shih Tzu, Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier) in which the owner likes to keep in full coat I train them to lay on their side while I brush and comb them out. It take a little bit of doing, and practice. It is easy then to have all the hair up and do line brush method. Brushing with the grain layer, by layer is best. When brushing dogs out with this coat type, a pin brush, and coat conditioning spray is used. A slicker brush should never be used on this type of coat, it will break off coat, and damage it. All systemsAndis, and Chris Christiansen all have pin brushes that would serve these types of breeds well.


Always comb in the direction in which the coat lays, Depending on the dogs coat length a comb with shorter pins is used, and dog with longer coat a comb with long pins is preferred. I always use a metal comb, with pins that have a little bit of distance between the teeth. If they are to close together, sometimes they Will just comb over any knots, and tangles. The same thing can happen with teeth to far apart. #1 all systems 7.5” comb, or Andis 10” Comb


Using a conditioning spray will help keep a pets coat in good condition, especially when brushing and combing out. The coat does not need to be saturated, a fine mist per section that is being brushed is fine. Here are a few that I like to use in my salon. BioGroom#1All SystemsChris ChristiansenPlush Puppy, and Crown Royal #2.

Brushing and combing sessions with your pet is not only a wonderful bonding session, but it also ensures your pet can always look his or her best. All of these products I have mentioned above can be found at ShowDogStore.com