Drying a Long Coated Dog
by Dorothy Kendall, Orlane Lhasa Apsos
There is no one 'right' way to bathe and dry your dog,
but there are LOTS of wrong ways! In this article I have tried to describe
what works for me.......but it is very open to adaptation, and what
works for one person may not work for another. I am always open to learning
Grooming table at your height to avoid backache!
Suitable brushes & combs:
I prefer PIN brushes, and never use slicker brushes. I have a long tailed
comb and a comb with long & short prongs.
Shampoo & conditioner
Jugs, spray bottles
Dryer – if possible a stand dryer which will leave both your hands
1.Prepare your dog
This is very important. You should never try to wash a dog
who has not been prepared – you could do more harm than good.
Dogs will be dogs and unless they are kept in cages 24/7 they will get
a few mats and knots. Put the dog on the table and start to go through
the coat with your fingers. Do NOT brush or comb – just use your
fingers. If you find a mat or knot, use your fingers to very gently,
and very slowly tease it apart. There are products available to help
you – but I have found that they just make the whole operation
more difficult and slippery. Go over the entire dog like this until
you are sure that there are no more knots.
If I have to use my clipper (stomach, penis areas,
anus, ears etc etc) I personally prefer to do this before I bathe. The
skin seems easier to shave with the dirt still on it! Any residual hairs
will be washed away when bathing and not left to make the dog scratch.
Put the dog in the basin or bath and soak well in warm water.
Make sure the coat is thoroughly wet through. Dilute your shampoo in
a large jug and gently pour all over the coat – head last, avoiding
the eyes. Do NOT rub the shampoo into the coat. This will cause knots
when you come to dry. Slowly massage the shampoo DOWN through the wet
coat from roots to ends. Take your time and don't forget the legs, tail
and under the tail. Put some shampoo on your hand and make sure to wash
the stomach and chest area, and in boys all around the penis. When you
are sure that the shampoo is regularly distributed, you can start to
rinse. Use the same downward movement on the hair, guide the rinsing
water from the roots to the end – Do NOT EVER rub, as you would
your own hair! Repeat the shampooing and rinsing process again. Before
you use your conditioner – you must be 100% sure that no shampoo
remains, or your dog will get dandruff, and will start to scratch –
which in turn will break his coat.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to condition
your dog. I like to use a spray bottle to ensure even and thorough coverage
of the coat. If the conditioner is to be rinsed out – do it thoroughly.
Now WRAP your dog in a big towel – DO NOT RUB
him with the towel! Gently WIPE his coat with the towel, again in a
downward direction to avoid any tangling. If the hair is very long,
I sometimes go around it systematically squeezing some of the water
out with the towel.
Put your dog, still wrapped in his towel, on the table. So
that he does not catch cold, unwrap him little by little and very carefully
take his hair, section by section and brush through. This time start
at the END of the hair and work towards the ROOTS. If you find a tangle,
separate it with your fingers as before NEVER with the brush. Wet hair
damages easily as it is very elastic – so do NOT pull when brushing.
Only when the whole coat has been brushed through should
you start drying. I like to section off my coat as I brush it through
before drying. I use the little clips you can buy for your own hair,
with jaw-like grips (I don't know if they have a name!) and I tend to
divide of the coat into about 6 or 10 sections. Sometimes I start drying
at the head section and other times the tail – it really depends
on the coat and the dog. If a dog is frightened by the dryer, it is
best to start at the tail and he will have become used to the noise
and the sensations by the time you reach his head. Remember that a dryer
to a young dog, is a pretty scary monster – so be gentle and reassure
him with your hands and voice. But be firm, as he must understand that
there is no escape until the job is done!
So try to point the dryer in the direction of the hair
and brush through – roots to tip – as you dry each section.
Don't forget feet, but remember that many dogs have sensitive feet so
use your fingers instead of the brush if your dog is sensitive in any
particular area. If you dry his coat slowly, section by section, brushing
the coat from root to tip, you should have a very even looking coat
at the end. If you point the dryer in any direction, the coat will blow
everywhere – and your dog will probably have more knots than when
you started! So be very careful with your dryer!! Also do not put it
too close to hair as heat damages delicate hair.
When your dog is thoroughly dry you can then trim feet
At the end of this long, boring and sometimes frightening
process (for the dog!) I always make a fuss of my dog and give him a
treat. That way, next time, he hopefully will remember the treat and
won't hate being bathed and dried quite so much!
The secrets to good grooming are
1. Little and often. Keep the dog groomed daily and the coat will not
get as many knots and mats, which cause breakage.
2.NEVER be in a hurry – haste can make you try a short cut like
trying to brush out a knot which breaks hair.
3.Ask questions of people with well groomed dogs!!! They may not pass
on all their secrets – but you may learn a tip or two.
Remember, this is just a guide – practice makes
perfect and you will eventually find the right way for YOU and YOUR