How To Groom An Old English  Sheepdog ~

Copyright 2006-2011© Stacey Hughes All Rights Reserved 

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 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!

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 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 doesn't leave balls of fur all over your house. OES don't 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 "How much of your time does it take to maintain that coat?" and my reply was simply "All of it."   It doesn't 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 doesn't 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 1/2" to 1" 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. It's only a couple of inches long, it is soft and fluffy, and can generally be brushed out in a few minutes. It's 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.


It's 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. I'll 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 it's 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.


Grooming Supplies


For grooming an older puppy  and adult oes you will need the following tools:


Grooming table

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 longer my dream dryer is the K-9 III, but for now I think it's 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)

Nail clippers

Styptic powder

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)



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