Long-haired dogs require the most amount of work when it comes to grooming. Their long, luscious locks of fur need frequent brushing to prevent the knots and mats that they are prone to. Going too long without grooming will make their hair become dirty and knotted faster than other dog breeds.
It is essential to look after your pet’s long hair, more so than with other dogs, thanks to their predisposition to damaging their hair. Here is how you can approach the daunting task of how to groom a long haired dog.
What You Will Need
Long-haired pups have some of the most luxurious coats and are considered some of the most beautiful breeds. However, their beauty comes at a price. The effort to maintain their coats and keep them clean and healthy can sometimes be significant. However, as you get into a rhythm and routine, you’ll find that every time you give them some treatment, it becomes easier and more natural.
There are two main methods can be used when grooming your pet.
Daily Brushing Method
The first is thorough daily brushing. This involves sitting down with your pal and slowly brushing out their fur, taking out any kinks, knots or mats. This may seem tedious at first, but after the first few times, it becomes quick and easy. You and your dog might even come to enjoy its therapeutic nature.
For this grooming method, you’ll want:
- A spray bottle with some water inside
- Slicker and pin brushes
Bath and Trim Method
The other method is the bath and trim method. This involves more than just looking after your buddy’s coat. This allows you to give your dog a semi-makeover by cleaning, brushing, and trimming its coat. Needless to say, this need not happen as frequently as daily brushing, as the effects are longer-lasting.
For this kind of thorough grooming, you’ll need:
- A spray bottle of water
- Slicker and pin brushes
- Dog shampoo
- Dog clippers
You could view the daily brushing as a way to maintain the beauty that comes from the full grooming session of the bath and trim. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to use the two methods in tandem for the best results.
As the more straightforward method, we’ll begin with daily brushing. With your various combs and brushes assembled and a bottle of water in hand, you’ll start by calming and getting close to your dog. As you do this more frequently, this initial calming will become easier and faster. It might even be looked forward to by some appreciative pups.
When your dog is calm, roll them onto their backs. For smaller dogs, this is much easier, as they can simply lay across your lap. For bigger dogs, get a smooth blanket or towel and lay them across that, as this will make catching any fur a lot easier.
Now, begin brushing their underside using the pin brush. Brush out their belly, under-leg, and neck, getting rid of tangles and mats. The legs are where you might encounter the most of these tricky knots, especially on more active dogs.
The trick is not to fight the knot, as this can pull and hurt the dog. Instead, slowly work it, untangling with your fingers if you need to.
Once you’ve brushed out their underside, you can pick up the spray bottle and various combs. Apply a gentle mist of water to a patch of hair and begin combing it out. Make sure to run the comb along the entire length of the hair, so that you get any of the stubborn mats out. Do this patch by patch, until the underside of your dog is entirely loose and free-flowing.
Now, you can flip them right-side up. Grab the slicker brush and begin brushing out their back and sides, going from their neck to their flank. The slicker brush allows you to make long, broad strokes, and this feeling can be quite pleasant for the dog.
Make sure to make this as calming and therapeutic as possible for your dog, for both your sake and theirs. Don’t forget to brush the tail, too! Once you’ve brushed out their whole outer-side, repeat the spray-and-comb method you used on their underside.
With their whole body now brushed and combed, you can use a smaller, more delicate brush to get their face, ears, and paws. Once you’re done brushing, you can marvel at your now free and loose pup.
The Bath And Trim
This involves a bit more work. It incorporates many of the concepts from the above method. The points will be more concise and easy to follow, with elaboration only on the new techniques.
Start by brushing the dog out with the above method, taking out any mats and knots in the fur. Once this is done, prepare to bathe.
From top to bottom, rinse out the now loose hair and use your hands to work the shampoo into their fur. Make sure to avoid the face and eyes, as these are particularly sensitive and won’t need shampoo. Once clean, rinse and use a dog-friendly conditioner. For most, a regular dog conditioner can be used and rinsed off, but for dogs with particularly long coats, consider a leave-in conditioner.
Dry them off with a soft towel and get the scissors and clippers ready. Try and use a quieter clipper for dogs who are a little more anxious. It is important to note that long-haired dogs are long-haired for a reason. You don’t want to cut their hair too short.
Begin with the paws, and use the scissors to trim excess hair from around the little feet. Then, use the scissors on the tail, snipping away at the longer strands. Lastly, use the scissors on the face, trimming around the eyes and mouth. With all those sensitive bits cut, you can use the clippers to trim the longer fur on the body, keeping it even.
Now that they’ve been properly cleaned and groomed, your pup is free to go.
As stated earlier, you’ll want to use both methods in tandem for the best results. Brush their hair out frequently (daily if you can), and then give them a trim every few weeks to keep their hair from getting in the way.