It doesn’t matter what your dog’s breed is or what type of training it has accomplished if your dog has not been perfectly groomed. It’s the number one factor when talking about showing your dog at competitions.
People have been trimming, washing and preening their dogs for centuries. For many pet owners the grooming is practical, strictly to make their animal or home more comfortable. Nail trimming, hair trimming and anal gland cleansing are pretty standard for most pet owners these days. Oral care is also pretty commonly asked for in pet grooming businesses now.
Specific breed owners take grooming to the next level with very specific haircuts and shaving. Standard poodles are a perfect example of the next stage of pet grooming. Then there are show dogs. This is the penultimate in dog grooming. Very precise and accurate, fussy and specific, show dog grooming is a talent all on its own.
Dog shows are fast becoming trending, especially for upper middle class or wealthy circles. There are many annual dog shows that travel the country awarding huge cash prizes to owners with prize winning dogs. For some, this is their sole income and therefore it becomes all consuming, making sure their canine is up for the challenge physically and mentally.
Dog groomers who specialize in Show Dog Grooming can make hundreds of dollars on one day alone, preparing him or her for an upcoming show.
Proper grooming is especially important in the stage portion of the competitions. Keeping the dog’s teeth clean, regardless of breed type, is standard. Owners of long haired dogs need to ensure that the hair is clean and tangle free throughout the competition. The nails need to be perfectly trimmed, the coat shiny and healthy and the ears and tails trimmed to perfection.
Competitions tend to take the fur into consideration first when judging a dog. Next, they consider the pet’s colouring, fur patterns or markings, shape and colour of the head, the pigment of the skin and overall skin health, colour of the eyes, look of the tail and feet, grooming, how the animal walks, animal temperament, teeth structure, colour and shape of the eyes. The list goes on and on.
Let’s discuss how to groom your animal for a competition. The animal’s coat must be brushed thoroughly. Only a quick brush is usually necessary for shorthaired dogs, typically with a glove type brush. Long haired dogs will take more time and will need a stiffer brush to get any mats out of their coat.
Be sure to clean the outside of the animal’s ear. A mild cleaning solution applied with a cotton ball or a gentle washcloth should do the trick. You should make sure to keep the solution on the outside of the ear and not allow it to get into the inner ear canal. This can cause the animal discomfort and for dogs with floppy ears, it can cause infection.
Gently wipe away on “eye goop” with a warm, wet cloth.
The dog’s teeth need to be cleaned. Some find it easy to use regular human toothbrushes while others find it impossible. Some dogs chew the tooth brush while you are trying to use it. An alternative can be to use gauze wrapped around your finger or you can choose a dental cleanser kit from your local pet store.
If you have an animal who can sit still for nail trimming then feel free to trim the nails yourself. Be careful not to cut the quick as the bleeding can be very fast and plentiful, not to mention painful and uncomfortable for your pet. If it is difficult to cut your pet’s nails ask your vet or dog groomer to help.
Using a mild shampoo and warm water, prepare to bath the dog. Make sure to walk him or her into the bath, allowing them to adjust to the water temperature. Keep the animal calm throughout. Rise completely when finished.
Pat the dog dry, making sure to soak up any extra water. If your pet will let you, it is acceptable to use a blow-dryer on a low setting to completely dry the dog.