Good Grooming Tips
TIPS ON GROOMING YOUR GERMAN SHEPHERD
Good grooming is an essential part of the care of your German Shepherd
Good grooming helps to:
• Keep the dog clean and looking good
• Ensures you are regularly observing the dog’s coat and skin for parasites, wounds, lumps, bumps, bruises and other nasties.
• Believe it or not helps to keep the dog cooler.
• Promote bonding with your dog. If it’s done gently and correctly it can be a time of mutual enjoyment for both you and your dog.
Ideally young puppies should be taught to readily accept grooming from the earliest possible time. This involves gentle brushing, and allowing the feet, ears, mouth, tail and genitals to be handled without concern . If you are having a problem with this, have a chat with your instructor. In this article we are talking only about grooming the pet German Shepherd. Whilst the principles remain the same there are other items to consider when grooming for the show ring.
The German Shepherd Coat
The normal German Shepherd Coat is a short to medium length double coat, i.e. the dog has a top coat of short to medium slightly harsh feeling guard hairs that renew almost continuously and an undercoat of soft downy hair that normally sheds twice yearly in spring and autumn in response to changing temperature and light conditions. Dogs that live inside will shed this undercoat almost continuously as we expose them to artificial heat and light.
The long coated dog generally has much less undercoat and therefore doesn’t shed as much, but the coat can form knots if not brushed. These dogs are generally easier to groom than the short coat, unless you allow knots to form. Some knots can be groomed out with a brush, but many will need to be clipped off. If you are not confident to do this yourself, you might need to employ a groomer to do it for you.
Grooming the Dog
By far and away the most important part of grooming your dog is regular brushing. This should be done at least 2 – 3 times a week to prevent build up of loose hair and knot formation.. There are a vast number of grooming tools available. All of them work well if you use them correctly. Take care when using tools with sharp points as they can injure the dog’s skin. Whilst some people have particular preferences, a simple rake or comb is ideal. When brushing your German Shepherd remember to take particular notice of the often forgotten areas, the feathers (hairy legs) and ears of the long coats, the tail and the trousers. Brush gently, but thoroughly with the lay of the coat, going right down to the skin. You might find it easier to part the hair of your long coat and brush it in sections.
You will get much incorrect advice about washing your dog. You will be told that washing your dog strips the oils from the coat and damages the skin. This is not so if you use a high quality, modern, dog shampoo designed for regular washing. Do not use cheap dog shampoos, human shampoos (including wool wash) on your dog. Having said this, your dog only needs washing when it is obviously dirty or smelly. If your dog becomes smelly shortly after washing, do not rewash. Have a chat with your vet as this often indicates a skin problem. Don’t use medicated shampoos without veterinary advice. Some people want to use perfumes on their dog. Just remember that most dogs don’t like the smell of perfume and will try to rub it off, – usually in the nearest pile of something unmentionable. Compromise is best here. The clean smell of an unperfumed shampoo seems to suit everyone.
From time to time your dog will need its ears cleaned. Don’t poke objects such a cotton buds down the dog’s ear as you can do serious damage. A slightly damp cloth can be used to wipe the upper, visible portion of the ear. Do not use substances such as baby oil to clean with as they actually attract the dirt. Ear cleaner which is available from your vet or pet supplier should be used to clean lower down the ear canal. If the inside of the ear is reddened or smelly, consult your vet before cleaning.
Many dogs never need their nails clipped. The best nail clipper is regular walking on a hard surface. It is important to teach your pup to allow its feet to be handled. Your instructor will teach you how to do this and how to trim the nails if necessary. General advice is that the dog’s nails need trimming if you can hear them clicking on the ground when walking.
Note: You can ask to have your Dogs nails trimmed at the branch on a Sunday.
Many vets recommend this and will teach you how to do it. Don’t use human toothpaste and brushes on your dog. It’s important to teach your dog to allow its mouth to be handled
For any questions on Grooming, ask your Instructors