Save Money Grooming Long Coated Dogs

I know that you are not one of those people who lets their dog get all matted and then takes it to the groomer once a year for a shave down.Sadly there are too many owners like that. I have often wondered why someone would get a breed whose coat/grooming requirements don't meet their expectations or lifestyle.
When I was grooming, I refused to groom dogs into cutesy clips that their breed was never meant for. While I welcomed both purebreds and mix breeds,my clients and their dogs first had to meet with me where we would discuss their expectations of their dogs' coat and grooming needs before I accepted them as clients. My fees weren't cheap. Purebreds had to be maintained in accordance to their breed standards. Mix breed coat patterns were determined according to their coat type. No teddy bear clips or shave downs on my grooming table, period. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I still cringe when I see a Yorkie shaved down or a Shih Tzu in a teddybear clip. If that is what you like, get a Lowchien or Bichon Frise',both wonderful breeds who should look that way.
Paying to have your dog groomed is becoming an extravagance many can no longer afford. The cost of having your dog groomed over his/her lifetime equals the cost of a new car.
Going to the groomer is good for your dog, they get needed socialization and groomers are often the first to find possible skin or health issues your dog may be developing .If you can afford it, by all means, take your dog on a monthly basis. But if now you can no longer afford regular grooming, then maybe it is time to rethink your dogs' grooming program.
If you have a breed who is SUPPOSED to have a long healthy flowing coat,why have you been paying to have it clipped anyway?
People make excuses about shedding and hair on the furniture, but truth beknown it is pure laziness.
Well, now it is time to get out the brush and comb on a regular basis and groom your dog like it should be groomed.

For most longhaired dogs that means one of two ways. Either brush and comb your dog daily, or bathe your dog every five to seven days and brush it dry while blowdrying. If you brush your dog regularly then the shedding will be minimal anyway. It would take too much to give grooming instructions for every long coated breed but there are a few basic rules to always follow. Keep the coat clean, dirt acts like sandpaper on the hair cuticle, roughing it up and making it prone to matting. Never wash a matted dog, always comb all mats and tangles out before bathing. Most importantly is, never ever brush a dry coat, always spritz a good coat conditioner on the hair first. In cold weather you can use cornstarch which cleans as well. But a coat conditioner is preferable. If you encounter a mat, never,ever cut the mat, just work it apart with your fingers. Believe me it will eventually come apart. If you cut the hair it makes the coat remat in the same spot faster and if you take a pair of scissors and whack out the mat then your dog looks awful. After you have brushed your dog through and through, go back through the coat with a widetooth metal dog comb to make sure there are no tangles left.

The brush you use depends on your breed and coat texture but a steel pin brush always works...I never let those hideous slicker brushes near any dog I groomed, they are damaging to the coat and were developed to pull sheeps wool onto cards for weaving, not for dog grooming. Coats like Yorkies,Silkies, Beardies and Briards can be brushed with good quality natural bristle brushes but the steel pin brush is cheaper to purchase. Scalpmaster makes an inexpensive one that does a good job. My brush preferences run to the the brands Richter, All Systems Number One, and for a natural bristle, Mason Pearson. A bad brush can ruin a dogs' coat (don't buy the pin brush with the little balls on the end that are supposed to prevent scratching the skin, all they do is rough up the hair cuticle making the coat more likely to mat).
There are numerous quality grooming sprays and shampoos on the market, Espree is a good one and reasonably priced. You can find it in most pet stores and on eBay.
If you want to make your own dog shampoo, I have given a simple recipe before but here is one for a moisturizing shampoo:1 oz. of green palmolive dishwashing liquid
1oz. coconut milk
5 drops of jojoba oil
add to 15 ounces of water,preferably chemical free.If your dog is itchy also add 5 drops tea tree oil and 5 drops of oil of evening primrose.
Don't forget to rinse well,a half cup of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water will add shininess to the coat and cut the shampoo residue.Pour it on, let it sit for a minute then rinse.
A great deep conditioning treatment for dry skin and coat is mayonnaise. Buy a big jar and slap it on after the bath, then let your dog sit under the blow dryer on low (supervised of course) for about 20 minutes, then rebathe. Repeated weekly treatments will do wonders for dry, sunburned coats. I have used this tip successfully on show dogs whose coats became dry and faded from being outdoors. And mayo costs litle compared to those hot oil treatments for dogs.
With all these tips it is impossible to use them if you can't get your dog to behave while you groom him.
Do what the groomer does, brush your dog on a table.It makes a world of difference. Simply put a rubber bathtub mat on a sturdy table or even on a counter if your dog is small enough.
For fixing top knots on Maltese, ( the hair on the head needs to be at least three inches long) you can use small plastic barrettes or you can band them, which I prefer. Section the hair just past the outer corner of the eye, across the top of the head to the outer corner of the opposite eye. . Then divide it into two sections by combing it down the center towards you. Taking the right hand section,comb forward then comb upward into your hand , twist the hair lightly and as you twist, double the hair over, leaving a little bitty loop poking up. Using a dental rubberband wrap the band over the little loop. That is the 'knot'. Cover the band with ribbon or the topknot bows . (Puff is impersonating a Shih Tzu by wearing a human wig, the bow is an example of really cute bows you can buy or make, I will do a future post on making bows for you.)
Follow by doing the left section. Yorkies get one knot and one bow. As do Shih Tzu.
Shih Tzu have their hair parted farther back and after securing the 'knot' the hair is pulled forward and tightened, much like you tighten a ponytail.This creates that little 'pouf'. Lhasas don't have their hair done in top knots but many show people braid the topknots when they are not in the show ring to keep it tidy. And please don't cut the hair in the corner of the eyes. It drives me nuts to see groomers do this. It can lead to corneal ulcers.As the trimmed hair grows, even 1/8th of an inch in some cases, it can on certain dogs, touch the cornea, rubbing it raw. You can't tell it is doing it until the damage is done and then you have a vet bill and a dog in pain. Let the hair lay long and natural as it was meant to! If tear stains are an issue, use a cover up or wash daily with distilled water to help fade the stains. I covered this issue in an earlier post giving different tips for coat staining. Now that you are doing your own grooming, don't forget to clean ears and trim nails.You will find these how to's in previous posts as well.
Show dogs are treated like movie stars and have their coats put down in oil and wrapped in bakery wrap to preserve every precious hair so that they look their best in the show ring....but these tips I have shared today will still have your dog looking like the beautiful breed it is. And all the while, saving you money. Just remember, brush thoroughly and brush often.