Grooming guide

Okay, here we go.. I’ve been asked so many times now to show how to groom a sheltie. I love grooming, and I even often groom dogs for others (mainly the Mainland’s dogs) before shows. I groom other breeds as well, but I’m definately most experienced with the shelties, as I’ve done this for at least 12 years now.

The model of the day is Mokka, or Int Nord Uch NordUV-02 NV-03 NordV-04 KBHV-05 Lux Jun Ch Mainland’s Kismet as he is officially named. Let’s start out with the basics. You’ll need the following:

A dirty, ungroomed dog:

A bath tub or a shower, preferably with non-slip mat (pictured with the below mentioned diluted shampoo and sponge):

Shampoo of a pleasing sort, I just took some samples I had. I prefer to dilute the shampoo in water and apply with a sponge, that makes the soap more evenly applied and gets through the undercoat as well:

Polishing cloth and a towel or two:

A blower, preferably a turbo blower, that quickens everything a lot, but a normal hand-held blower is fine as long as you’re patient:

Various scissors and brushes, from left to right: nail clipper, scissors for under feet (SC 500 Silver Cut), scissors for around feet (RoseLine 6 1/2 “), scissors for hocks (RoseLine 8”), thinning scissors for ears etc. (RoseLine 6 1/2 “), a small comb, steel pin brush (Greyhound), slicker brush, soft brush for finishing (Mason Pearson).

Now we’re ready to start. Put the dog in the tub and apply water, body temperature or slightly warmer. Be careful not to use too hot water. Make sure you get through the coat everywhere, the sheltie has double and waterproof coat, and is not easily soaked through:

Now apply the diluted shampoo with the sponge (spray bottle can also be used) and rub it in all over. Be sure to lift the coat to apply it all the way down to the skin. Be careful with ears and eyes, and save the head for last:

Now wash away all the shampoo, starting with the head and working backwards. Be sure that ALL the shampoo is gone, leftovers can irritate the skin. If you want to use coat balm, feel free to use this, but be ware that this nearly doubles the drying time. I prefer to use spray balm/detangler instead while blowing:

I use a polishing cloth to remove most of the excess water. This is highly effective, as it absorbs loads of water, and once you squeeze it out, is nearly dry again. The legs and feet will probably be the wettest, so make sure to dry those unless you want to clean your floor at the same time:

Let the dog shake of some as well:

After this I let the dog drip of a bit before starting to blow. Outdoors if the weather is fine, or else I let them dry indoors, for approximately 15  minutes. This shortens the blowing quite a lot.

Time for blowing. On a grown dog with this amount of coat, detangler is essential! My favourite is Ice on Ice, but ther’s a whole lot to choose from out there:

I apply this on the entire dog, especially where the coat is harshest: the tail, skirts and frill (front coat). I use a steel pin brush to make sure it’s evenly applied before starting to blow:

Start blowing against the hairs:

..except the topline, which usually turns out best when starting at the withers and blowing backwards:

The legs should be blown upwards, starting at the paws. Make sure the legs are entirelly dry before considering trimming them:

When the dog is starting to dry, the loose coat will start to come out…:

…and maybe even some knots:

I apply some more detangler halfway through if this happens…:

..and try to brush off the excess hair before continuing:

When the dog is all dried up, it’s time to brush through the coat and make sure all excess wool comes off and all knots are loosened up. I start in the back and work myself forward.

Once this is done, I start in the front and work myself backwards again, this time brushing only against the hairs, to make sure I get through all the way down to the skin, getting all the loose wool off and making sure the dog is entirelly dry down to the skin.

When done working backwards, I once again start with the tail and skirts, now lying the coat gently back in the right direction. I have my own habit here, I do tail and skirts, then underneath stomach/between legs (make sure to get eventual knots behind elbows, this is the most common place to find knots exept behind the ears). Hold the coat in place end gently brush a little at a time back in place.

Then I take first one side, then the other, working back to front or upwards:

Then I take the topline, starting from the tailset and moving forward..:

…and finish off with the front, starting between the front legs and moving upwards:

Now your dog should be dry, free of excess coat and tangle free, with a correct silhouette!

Okay, time for trimming! I always start with the claws, making them as short and neat as possible. This is how the paws look like before I get started:

First I start trimming under the paw, using small scissors with narrow blades to get between the pads properly. The dog has absolutely no need of having hair under the paws, except for dragging dirt inside and gathering snow during winter. That means, take off as much as you possibly can:

After that, I trim around the paw, using my normal trimming scissors, of medium lenght and sharp blades. I’ll start out with the front paw. The sheltie is supposed to have oval feet, so keep this in mind when trimming. The nails should not show, so take just a little at a time, making it as even as possible. It’s better to do it over than taking too much the first time:

Use a slicker brush to brush the hair downwards, so you’ll get it even.

After finishing around the paw, use the slicker brush to brush all the hair in the opposite direction. You’ll probably find there’s loads of excess hair on top of the paw. Use your thinner scissors to trim this off.

After thinning:

You’ll be surprised how much excess hair there can be on one paw!

Okay, so the paw is done. here’s one done and one undone:

Now, the shelties have some lovely feathering down their front legs, and this should not be trimmed, should it? Actually, some of it should. Some bit above the paw you find the small, extra pad. The hairs on the front leg should be trimmed up to this point.

Use the slicker brush again to brush the hairs evenly out:

Then cut it with the same scissors used for the paws (no thinning scissors), to make a straight line from the paw and up. Depending on your dogs pasterns, angle it as it seems to fit your dog, but slightly angled works on most dogs, and makes a nice transition to the feathering. Now the front paw is done. Repeat on the other one.

Over to the hind legs. The paws are trimmed the same way as the front paws were;

Under, before:

Under, after:

Around, before:

Around, after:

On top, before:

On top, after:

Now we’re ready for the hocks. Unlike the front legs, the hocks should be trimmed all the way up to the joint.

Do NOT take off too much, leave at least a couple of cm. left, depending on how much there is. The main point is evening it out, to make the hocks look straight and strong.

Again, use the slicker brush to brush it all outwards.

Then, trim it as straightly and evenly as possible. I prefer long-bladed scissors for this, that makes it easier to get it even. After trimming the straight line, try to even it out to make it glide into the line of the paw.

And repeat on the other side..

Before:

After:

Hocks from behind:

There! The feet are done, and that leaves us to the very last point: The ears. This is perhaps the most difficult hing in the whole process, and takes a lot of practice to make perfect.

The dog has no need having too much excess hair inside the ears, this only gathers dirt. Below I’ve tried to draw where you’re supposed to trim the inside, but in general, trim along the edges so the light hairs don’t go outside the egde of the ear, and trim whats left inside as short as possible. Note: if your dog has a problem with light/pricked ears, do not trim the inside of the top half of the ear more than necessary. For all ear trimming I use thinning scissors and slicker brush or a small comb.

Inside:

Top:

After trimming the inside:

Now, you’ll need to trim the outside edge of the ear. The sheltie should NOT have triangle ears, but neatly rounded tips. As mentioned above, if your dogs has a tendency to get pricked ears, do not take off more than necessary. Trim the edges as neatly as possible but do NOT take to much off! The ears should glide seamlessly over to the rest of the coat, and they should not appear stripped from hair. I prefer to trim ears at least a week before a show, so they don’t look all newly trimmed but more natural. If it’s your first time I highly recommend to start practicing long before your first show, or else leave it be until after the show. Overtrimmed ears is not pretty.

After trimming around the edge it’s time to finish off by trimming behind the ears. These hairs are long and fair, and have a tendency to form lovely knots and lumps, so these should both be brushed and trimmed regularly. I use the slicker brus again, to brush all the hair up and out, to see what stick outside of the rest of the coat. On top they should be nearly level with where the ear tips, and from there round neatly over into the coat around the head and neck. Again, do not take too much! It’s a lot better to do it over if you se afterwards that you haven’t taken enough.

Ear from the side after trimming:

One ear done and the other undone:

All in all, make the ears a part of the whole, they should blend in and not stand out from the rest.

Both ears done:

And this is the final result of all the work! It really is worth it!

He must ble glad toget rid of all that excess coat!

Thank you for your patience. I hope this may be of some use to new sheltie groomers out there. And remember – practice makes perfect!

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