Tag Archives: dog grooming

Poodle Clip

White poodle in snow-photo-D-StewartLeo was filthy.  His hair was long and matted.  He smelled.  But cold weather and his arthritis made me reluctant to take him to his groomer.  “What about we try bathing him in the tub?” my husband said.

I had only before clipped his feet and around his eyes between salon visits.  We had hosed him off a couple times when needed.  But bathe, shampoo and clip him completely?  Never.

“Worth a try,” I said.  I gave him a preliminary clip first.  I figured it would be easier to wash him without long hair in the way.  So an afternoon of clipping while he lay on his side.  Then I had to get him to turn over.

Leo-in-bath- after first clip photo-D-StewartNext day, bath time.  A length of hose borrowed from some other plumbing in the house to go over the faucet.  Jim in the tub awaiting Leo as I lift him in.  Leo’s feet scrabble wildly but he gets a foothold.  Charlie, the other dog who detests baths, kept very quiet and far away outside the bathroom door.  He hoped we wouldn’t notice him but he wanted to see what was going on.  (His ploy didn’t work:  he got bathed next.)

Leo was very good and stayed still for us.  He slipped a few times.  We realized we should have got a rubber mat for the tub so he could get a better grip.  With his hair shorter, it was easier to shampoo him and to rinse him thoroughly.

bathtime-photo-Dorothy-StewartJim lifted him out to me, I wrapped a towel around him then let him go to shake himself.  It was a mild sunny day so he air-dried.  While not ideal for poodle hair, we thought it was best to not torture him with a hair dryer.  I have only a small hand-held dryer, not a powerful one like groomers use.  Leo doesn’t like dryers and it would have taken so long with my dryer that it didn’t seem worth scaring the wits out of him.

Clip again after the bath

After he was completely dry, I brushed and brushed and brushed him.  When he was all fluffy, I clipped again.  I only used blunt-nosed grooming-equipment-photo-D-Stewartdog scissors.  I don’t have groomer clippers nor do I know how to use them.  Because it’s winter, I didn’t want him clipped really close.  I left the hair on his body about an inch long (more or less depending on my accuracy) and trimmed his legs to about the same length.  I trimmed the base of his tail short and left his pompom long.  Then I neatened up his ear fringe at the bottoms but otherwise only brushed them.  I left the hair on the top of his head and back of his neck and shoulders long.

When it’s warmer, he will go to his groomer.  Considering that this took me the better part of two days and Leo began running from me clean poodle in snow-photo-D-Stewartwhen he saw scissors or brush in my hand, I think the money spent on a professional grooming job is well worth it.  Groomers do more than I can do, and do the whole job better.  Poodles need the hair inside their ears plucked to avoid infection and I don’t have the confidence to try that.  But for an occasional clean up job, I think what I call Leo’s “casual sporty clip” looks just fine.  So does he.

First posted Feb. 28, 2013 on my St. Thomas Dog Blog. When Leo got too decrepit to stand in the tub or even be thoroughly wet, I bought Wahl No Rinse Shampoo for Dogs. Lightly massage it in his coat, then towel it off. It worked fine, and I could do it as he laid on his side.

Burdock Dog

Leo covered in burdockThis is Leo after he walked for just a second into a patch of burdock. The burs didn’t just stick to his hair, they burrowed right in his face, chest and ears.  I picked off as many as I could right away. Before I did, his ears were stuck to the top of his head.

Having a poodle, I can easily believe the commercial with the man saying he came up with the idea for velcro thanks to his sheepdog who liked to run through the woods.

If you get a Poodle, get used to dealing with burs and plant life of all kinds embedded in his or her hair.  Even Charlie, with long silky hair, attracts burs like a magnet.  They’re a bit easier to brush out because his hair is less dense than Poodle hair.

Burdock Removal

trimming Leo's ear after bur removalBest tip for dealing with your fine-haired dog:  cultivate a groomer as your new best friend so you can call them when you have a grooming emergency.  Last night, trying to get the mess out of Leo’s ears and head, I fervently wished my nieces who are groomers in Red Deer lived nearer me.

But I persevered with brush and scissors and finally Leo returned to normal appearance, albeit with shorter ears.  He had a row of burs firmly wound around the bottom of one ear.  There was no choice but to carefully cut off burs and hair.  Then I had to trim the other ear so it matched.

Leo brushed and ear length evenedI find a small slicker brush the best.  But even that can’t get into full burs knotted into hair.*  I carefully cut into the centre of those with blunt-nosed scissors.  Cut with the hair, not across it.  That opens up the bur so it will more easily brush out but avoids cut lines.  Use a comb to take the accumulated bur bits and hair out of the brush.  With a poodle, when most of the burs are out, brush backwards to get the small bits out and fluff the hair up.

I have been told baby oil on the bur softens it and makes it easy to brush out.  I tried it with my German Shepherd and found it no easier and just made his hair and my hands greasy.

After Burdock

Even after the burs are gone, I brush and brush to get every trace out.  If I don’t, and if they can, the dogs will lick at the irritating bit trying to dog brushes, scissors and combget rid of it.  In doing that, they can lick right down to the skin and cause hot spots of inflamed skin.  Gold Bond medicated powder is a godsend, especially for Leo.  His pouffy hair makes it difficult to put ointment directly on the skin.  The powder goes through the hair to the skin and dries it up.  He doesn’t like the taste so doesn’t lick it a lot.  Their groomer at Pampered Pooch in St. Thomas told me to try it when Leo had a really bad spot that we feared would need veterinary attention.  Within a week, it was better.

Best Tool Ever

*Since I first posted this (Jan. 7/12 St. Thomas Dog Blog), I’ve dog-hair-rakefound the best tool ever. A hair rake for double-coated dogs breaks up a burdock and pulls it out of dogs’ hair and horses’ manes and tails easily.

Spot the Fire Muster dog

Spot the Fire Muster Dog at STDOA booth photo D StewartI decided to do a little creative grooming for the Fire Muster.  White Poodle plus Fire Muster Dog Show equals Dalmatian Look-alike contender!  So I checked with my groomer, a Poodle grooming specialist, a hair dresser, a pharmacist and online creative grooming sites.  The consensus was anything temporary, without bleach and safe for children’s hair would be ok.  There are specially formulated vegetable dyes for dogs available, but not at any supplier near me.  Food colouring and Kool-Aid is also ok, but I wanted black colouring so needed something else.

I got a temporary dye spray bomb designed for kids and fancy dress costuming.  I cut different sized circles in a small piece of boxboard and sprayed Leo’s hair.  I didn’t spray his legs, near his eyes or under his belly – avoided sensitive areas and anywhere he could easily lick.  I figured better safe than sorry. Kids aren’t likely to lick their dyed heads, so “safe for children” isn’t exactly the same as “safe for dogs”.

Charlie, Leo & Magic in line for dog show photo D StewartI found out the dye is indeed temporary and, even when dry, easily smudges when touched.  So I had to keep retouching him after people patted him, and finally learned to say “you’ll get dye on your hands if you touch the black spots”.

At the registration table for the dog show we’re told there’s no category for Dalmatian look-alike this year.  Years spent watching dogs in black-spotted t-shirts and Border Collies wearing firemen’s hats walking away with that special prize!  Leo and I had no exhibition trick worked out, no Plan B.  I knew we didn’t have a chance at “Cutest Dog” when I saw the Chihuahua in the little ballerina dress and silver booties.   The Chihuahua did win, as did a beautiful German Shepherd as “Older Dog” and a gorgeous little Dalmatian in the “Puppy” category.  A Shepherd-Husky won “Best Trick” and a little Papillion won “Best Overall”.  We won only a lot of attention and oohs and ahhs.  Leo was perfectly happy with that.  Charlie went in au naturel, hoping for “Cutest Dog”.  But even he can’t compete with a I'm gonna wash that 'Dal' right outa my hair photo D StewartChihuahua in a tutu.

Later, Leo got his spots washed out.  Charlie watched, relieved that he was passed over for bath time.

 

First posted on my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Sept. 7, 2010.

Bathing Jamie

Jamie hated baths, indeed Jamie hated water.  He was a Collie mixed with something, clearly not a water dog.  He had long Collie hair with a thick undercoat. On his feet, legs and Jamie eating watermelon photo D Angerbackside, he had long fluffy hair. His hair knotted and matted.  Jamie also hated being brushed.

Every so often, when we’d screw up the courage or when he was particularly filthy, it would be bath time for Jamie, whether he liked it or not.  We tried every type of bath arrangement – the tub in the house, buckets of warm water and a hose outside, a combination of both.  It was very hard to suds him up and even harder to get him thoroughly rinsed.  Then brushing him!  Chasing him around trying to take a swipe with the brush.  Leg-locking him on the floor so he couldn’t get up while I brushed as quickly as possible trying to get knots out.  Cutting matted hair out.  It was not pleasant for anyone.

A friend, looking at his filthy, smelly coat one day, said “why don’t you mose-photo-Ruby-Angertake him to a groomer?”  “A groomer for Jamie, yeah right!” I said with disdain.  It was ok for her.  She had a Newfoundland dog who had a job.  He was official mascot for the Signal Hill Tattoo so he had to look good.  He wouldn’t even fit in a bathtub and, with his job, had been to groomers since he was a pup. Poodles and foo-foo dogs went to groomers.  Big old country dogs like Jamie did not.  But it was a hot summer and poor Jamie was feeling it.  He had big clumps of winter hair sticking out all over him, the dag ends on his behind were stiff with filth.  He flopped out, panting in the heat. I thought, why not?

Appointment at a groomer

I booked an appointment at a groomer.  I warned them he was filthy and did not like baths, brushing or strangers poking at him.  On the day, Jamie reluctantly entered a building that smelled of shampoo. Two massive men came to meet us.  They were the groomers.  Two thoughts popped into my head:  at least they can handle him if he bolts, and how on earth did these guys get into dog grooming.  They looked like they’d be more at home on a fishing boat than a dog salon.  I never asked them, I couldn’t think of a way to do so without sounding like I was stereotyping them or groomers.

I came up with an explanation that amused me – the welding retraining classes were full and all that was available was dog grooming. This was at the time of the cod fishery moratorium in Newfoundland and a whole new industry – retraining programmes – had sprung up.  Government and private education facilities were turning fishermen and fishplant workers into welders and hairdressers in quantities sufficient to service the whole continent.

Bathing and brushing by professionals

At the salon, I left a panicked looking Jamie in the large hands of these large men.  I warned them of his escape tricks and said to just stop and phone me if he got freaked out.  I went home and bit my nails for three hours until they phoned.  “You can come for Jamie now”, one said, “we’re just drying him.  Oh, he was perfect!”

Jamie after bathing photo Dorothy AngerI went into the salon and saw my dog standing on the grooming table, leaning into the blow dryer that was “finishing him off.”  He wagged his tail and smiled at me.  And continued to lean toward the dryer and the man holding it. When they lifted him off the table, he continued to stand very close to them wagging his tail and looking adoringly into their faces.  They looked at me like “owners, they know nothing!”  Jamie was light and fluffy, his baby-soft hair sprang out around his body like a halo. They showed me the huge pile of hair they’d cut and brushed out of Jamie.  They told me there’s a knack with the wrist motion so that you just flip quickly through a dog’s hair instead of dragging and tugging.

I paid them, twice what future visits would cost, they said, now that the hard work was done.  They tied a scarf around Jamie’s neck and he pranced out, the happiest and proudest dog in the city.  On our way back to the car, he beamed at everyone he saw. Needless perhaps to say, Jamie went to his groomers regularly for the rest of his life.  Every time, he bounced in like “hi, I’m back!

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog Jan. 5, 2011