How To Groom An Old English Sheepdog ~
Copyright 2006© Stacey Hughes Hammond All Rights Reserved
(for a printable PDF version Click here)
Keeping your dog well-groomed is one of many aspects of caring for your pet. If you want to make sure your pet is more than just well-groomed you should think about all the reasons to buy pet insurance. There are so many benefits of pet insurance but be sure to compare pet insurance for all of the companies out there. When you make the decision to get pet insurance for your dog or cat you can feel comforted knowing that while you are grooming your pet and making them look handsome you are also keeping them safe and ensuring that they will be with you for a long time!
Grooming an Old English Sheepdog properly, with the proper tools, can make all the difference in the world if you are to be successful in maintaining a full coat on an OES. That puppy coat will grow in excess of 12 inches usually in the first year or so, and learning how to groom that coat will ensure you have a gorgeous full coated OES who is mat free, comfortable, clean, and doesnít leave balls of fur all over your house. OES donít shed like other breeds, if properly groomed, on a good quality food, and healthy. The hair just keeps growing. Some of the coat that breaks off or comes loose, just as your own hair does, will get caught up in other hair and form mats if not removed by regular grooming.
When I was first learning to groom OES, I remember being asked ďHow much of your time does it take to maintain that coat?Ē and my reply was simply ďAll of it.Ē It doesnít have to though. Having the right tools and sticking to a routine, of once a week thorough line brushing, ear and feet care takes about an hour to two hours and will keep your dog mat free and looking great. It only took me a decade to learn that. That is why I decided to write this, it doesnít have to take a decade for you to learn it.
Many people who do not want to do all the work required to maintain a full coat simply shave their sheepdog down once or twice a year, and brush the shorter coat every couple of weeks to maintain. If shaved right down, the coat grows back in at a rate of approximately ĹĒ to 1Ē a month. I will go over that in another section.
To start with, when you get your puppy, the main things to have already are a good pin brush, a steel combination comb, nail clippers, a good blow dryer, and a grooming table. A puppy coat up to the age of about 4 months old needs almost no maintenance. Itís only a couple of inches long, it is soft and fluffy, and can generally be brushed out in a few minutes. Itís better to start getting your puppy used to these tools from a young age though, so that is becomes a relaxing, enjoyable event for them and there are no difficulties later.
I recommend putting your puppy on the table, laying down on his or her side, and going over him with a brush once a week. This is also a good time to clean the ears, pluck ear hair, trim the toenails, and trim the fur around the paw pads as mats can form between their toes too. I will go over instruction on all of these things as well.
Itís best not to bath your dog too often, for puppies it may need to be done more often as they can get into more, but for an adult usually a couple times a year is sufficient. Iíll also go over pet shampoos, whitening agents, conditioners etc. It is very important to fully groom your dog before bathing. The coat should be completely mat free, otherwise the water will only tighten mats and make them get bigger, closer to the skin, and almost impossible to remove. No conditioner or detangler is going to get them out in the tub, they need to be removed first. It is very important to thoroughly dry your dog after a bath as well, a damp coat will mat much more quickly.
To groom an older puppy or adult OES, first remember it needs to be done faithfully once a week. If I let it go even a few days past my usual Sunday grooming, I can tell the difference. The coat becomes harder to get through, takes longer to groom, more undercoat is removed because of snarls, and mats will have begun to form. If done once a week, it should only take about 60-90 minutes. This is an enjoyable, relaxing time for myself and the dog, like a mini spa day. If taught early on what itís all about, your dog will enjoy the attention, and the feel of the brush. Mine are especially fond of the belly being brushed, so I leave that for last to make sure it always ends on a pleasurable note for them.
For grooming an older puppy and adult bobtail you will need the following tools:
Pin brush (make sure there are NO balls on the tips of the pins) (I prefer #1All Systems)
Combination comb (I prefer Resco)
Small slicker brush
Hair dryer (any will do, better quality will last longerÖ my dream dryer is the K-9 III, but for now I think itís a Conair)
Small blunt tipped scissors for trimming paw pads
Normal sharp scissors for trimming feet, bum, and beard
Mars Coat King Mat Rake 8-10 blades (or similar product) (not necessary but useful)
Undercoat rake (not necessary but useful)
Ear cleaning solution and cotton balls
R-7 Ear powder
Hemostats (clamps, forceps) to pluck ear hair (this can be done with your fingers, but easier with forceps)
Continued on Page 2... Click here