Page 38 - Le Magazine Summer 2014
P. 38

by Terry Miller

Briard coat develops through many stages. all-important concept of canine self-control (but
The care during these stages can vary with how the that’s a whole other article in itself!).
coat reacts to the weather, seasons and hormonal All brushing is done with the lay of the
changes. The biggest enemy in coat care is the mat coat as determined by gravity when the dog is
– what the hair coat does when it tangles and when standing. So once the dog is on its side, keeping
it sheds. ! at least one hand on the dog, you, the groomer,
Puppy coat from birth to adolescence (6-10 walk around to the other side of the table so you
months is usually when adolescent coat are grooming standing at the dog’s spine, brush-
changes begin) is virtually care free. This time ing away from you.
period is best used for 1) training the puppy for During puppyhood it is a must to teach
the patience and tolerance it will need later during the animal tolerance of its face being brushed
adolescent coat change and 2) conserving YOUR (beard & muzzle especially since they are sensi-
strength and patience to create a reserve needed tive and collect food and various sundry,
later during adolescent coat change. ! anonymous debris), and useful to lift the front
Most conscientious breeders start introduc- leg up to brush armpits and rear leg up to
ing their litters to the experience of grooming. brush around genitalia and belly.
When my own pups are 4-6 weeks old they get their The tools you will need are a pin brush(
first bath in the kitchen sink and a cursory brushing/ #1 All Systems large black plastic pin brush),
blow drying on the kitchen counter. Since my litters Chris Christiansen (gentle) slicker brush, a pair
are raised in the kitchen, the entire litter gets the of thinning shears to trim feet andscissors to trim
benefit of the blow drying sounds from beginning to hair between the pads of the feet. A hemostat is
end. This routine is repeated weekly until everyone helpful to pull excess hair from inside the ears
leaves. After the 2nd or 3rd time however, as well. You can start with a bath if you choose.
we move to the grooming room in the basement for I usually do since my dogs hang out on the bed,
the sound of the big stand dryer and big dog tub, as in my lap – usual Briard places – so I like them
well as the grooming table. Here the puppies get a clean and huggable.
little experience with lying still on a grooming table. I bathe them in an elevated off the ground
At the same time nails are cut. Throughout the pro- dog tub in my basement which is easier on the
cess puppy biscuits are liberally dispensed. As the back. I teach my dogs as puppies to jump onto
puppies get older they also are introduced to the ex- a chair and into the tub, guiding them by collar
pectation of lying on their side while being groomed. and leash initially. Many people put cotton balls
I find all of these demands are easier to introduce in the ears (I have never bothered and never
and train with a baby puppy of 10-20 lbs than wait- had a problem) to protect against water in the
ing until I have a 50 lb., thousand legged, struggling ears. The only time I am careful about this is
octopus later. New owners are instructed to when a cropped puppy’s ears are stilled glued
continue this process, gradually lengthening groom- up, then I avoid wetting around the ears with my
ing sessions. sprayer hose.
The pup is put on its side on the grooming Instead of scrubbing soap into a lather,
table and held there gently but with firm which can tangle the coat, I learned to pour the
commitment. This is also a subtle opportunity to lather over the dog. I wet the dog with cool to
confirm who’s in charge and that you will choose the luke warm water, mix the shampoo up in a
length of a grooming session, not the dog. I find this bucket and pour the mixture over the dog, doing
is excellent ground work for the introduction of that this a couple of times with rinsing clear in be-
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