Monday, July 11, 2011

Grooming part 2: Now what do I do with all the stuff?

After my "Grooming Part 1" post you know I’ve got the (grooming) stuff.  That was the fun (albeit slighty painful to the wallet) part. 

Now what do I do with it?  I watched Mandy, Carolyn & Jeri groom at the Specialty.  They made it look easy.  I left feeling pretty good that I knew what to buy and how to use it.  Then I got home, bought the stuff, and stared at it.  What was all of this for again?

To give you an idea of my level of grooming expertise, I’ve still only used my dryer four times – tops.  And the only “product” I’ve used is chalk. 

I’ve seen how good Rip can look when a skilled person grooms him.  I understand the importance of good grooming, and truly, much of my dread of showing in conformation stems from all the *!@# grooming that one must do before entering the ring.  All of that grooming takes skill. This means one needs to spend lots of time grooming and practicing grooming.  Time that I could be spending training my dogs for performance.  Or exercising.  Or sleeping,  Or aimlessly wandering around Facebook.

Watching all of the great groomers at the Specialty has reinforced my need to practice -- shamed me into it, really.  So now I’ve resigned myself to using all of the grooming tools more often.  Wait, that doesn’t sound very inspirational.  I am now up to the challenge of learning how to groom properly.

doG help Maggie, Ziggy, and Rip because none of them is immune.  I’ve got three dogs, and they all get to serve as my “test subjects” in this venture.  Thus far my focus has been on using the new grooming tools I’ve purchased.  The three of them are losing masses of hair right now, so I’m working on using a comb to remove it. 

I’ve had all three dogs up on the table every weekend – spritzing them with water and brushing and combing away.  

Here’s Rip’s approach:

Grooming again? 
Up here with nothing to chew and nothing to chase?
 Forget it, I'll just lay down.
Hey mom, can you move that brush a little closer?

Maggie and Ziggy are not quite so tolerant.  Maggie can be bought with food, so she gets lots of treats while on the table. 

Ziggy doesn’t like to be groomed in the first place (he prefers a scratch to remove the hair) and the table just ads insult to injury.  At first he was so unhappy he wouldn’t even take a treat.  Now he’ll take a treat, and doesn’t try to jump off.  Given his dislike for the table, he’s spared much of my practice.  I’ve been doing a bit of brushing/combing – then resorting to the Furminator.  Faster and easier all around.

Next weekend my plan is to bathe one of the dogs (whoever is stinkiest/dirtiest), then dry them and try out some product. I’ll just keep experimenting until I get it right (ish). 

My overall goal for the next few months is to get comfortable enough grooming that I don’t dread it quite so much.  That will leave me free to stress about other parts of showing in conformation.  Like getting my wild one-year-old to stand still for the judge….


  1. Sometimes part of grooming before going in the ring is to stay busy and calm nerves. Especially with dogs that look the same before and after. And you feel like you have to do *something* to help your chances.

    Kady and I are working on "stand" and "stay" which will be useful for obedience as well as for conformation.

  2. For Ziggy, maybe you could smear some peanut butter on the grooming arm so he can lick while you work?

  3. You can feed Ziggy a meal or two on the table. They get the hang that the table is a good place and not for torture, I mean grooming.

  4. Julie & Holly - Thanks for the thoughts to help make Z like the table more. It is much easier for me to use the table to groom, so I'd like to get him more comfortable.

    Carolyn - Rip and I have been working on stand stay, too. He gets the "stand" part ok (that involves action), but the stay -- well, we've still got a ways to go ;)

  5. I'll second what Carolyn said...sometimes the grooming is more for us than for them LOL. At the specialty Nash was b-a-l-d so I mostly just tried to fluff him up to make myself feel better and give me something to do before we went in the ring.

    Some of them like grooming, some tolerate it, some hate it. Lizzie loves's *almost* like petting, close enough in her book at least. Nash tolerates it. Brady despises it (but he's also not a show dog and never had been). I think you're doing fine as long as the conformation dog is fine with it LOL.

    But yeah, just practice. And while you practice, make it a point to figure out how much product you can put on before you can feel it in the coat when they're dry. It's more than you think usually, and will go a ways towards taming waves and keeping them shiny and looking good. Another thing to remember...each dog is different as far as grooming goes. :D


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