Brushing your dog not only helps keep her coat soft, shiny and tangle-free, it provides an excellent opportunity for bonding with your four-legged pal. Additionally, brushing your pooch's coat helps you familiarize yourself with her body, allowing you to know when there are changes, such as tumors, growths or sores.
Warning: If your dog is heavily matted, take her to the groomer. Mats can easily pull on the skin and create tears if not properly handled.
Step #1 - Start with your dog's head. Brush gently with the natural direction of growth in this area. Be sure to brush behind, under and in front of her ears. This area is prone to mats and can be sensitive, so be gentle.
Step #2 - Move next to your dog's neck, shoulders and chest. If she has long, thick hair, you may want to use an undercoat rake to reach all the way to the skin. One section at a time, brush against the direction of hair growth, then brush the hair back the way it normally grows.
Step #3 - Work on your dog's front legs. Brush all the way to her paws, paying special attention to her feathers and the armpit area. Be gentle at the tops of the legs -- the skin is very sensitive.
Step #4 - Brush your dog's back, sides and the tops of her back legs. Just as you did with her shoulders and neck, brush one section at a time.
Step #5 - Take particular care with the backs of your pal's legs and under her tail. This area is particularly prone to mats. Work slowly, and gently untangle any mats that are forming. Brush all the way down the backs of the legs. If you find crusty matter under her tail, use a warm, wet cloth to soften it and gently wipe it away. If need be, a professional groomer can give your dog a "sanitary trim" so that you can avoid having to clean under her tail in the future.
Step #6 - Brush out the tail if your pal has long hair. Finally, roll her gently onto her back, and brush her belly.
Tip: Give your dog a treat once in awhile throughout the process to reward her for her good behavior.
By Kea Grace
About the Author
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.