Puppy Care Education  established 2004 

   Creators of the "Groom Your Dog Program"


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Our dog grooming classes and training were primarily aimed at pet owners who wanted to learn how to groom their own dog.

This page contains most of the content of the dog grooming class handout for our Basic Dog Grooming Workshop. Please note that we no longer run classes.


Text Box: Class handout
Copyright 2012 Puppy Care Education

The Anatomy of the Dog


What is grooming?



Grooming includes everything we do externally that helps to make our dogs look and feel good.


It includes:


1.                        Brushing

2.                            Combing

3.                          Bathing

4.                          Drying

5.                          Clipping nails

6.                            Cleaning and plucking ears

7.                       Regular flea prevention

8.                       Clipping  your dogs coat

9.                             Cleaning teeth when required

10.                         Cleaning anal glands when required

Why do we groom our dogs?


There are a whole lot of reasons, we are all different and our dogs are different too.

· We like them to look and feel clean

· We don’t want them to smell

· Grooming our dog gives us pleasure and relaxes us

· It helps get rid of parasites

· They look nice when they are well groomed

· They are a breed that needs to be groomed a certain way to look right

· If they have long hair clipping them off short keeps them cool.

· Clipping them makes them easier to wash and look after.

· It helps to keep their skin healthy

· t’s a way to show we care about them, and to bond with our dog



Australian dog grooming equipment links 

Slicker Brush- Lawrence Tender Care Soft Slicker Brush - Small Dogs w/Fine Hair

Revolving comb

Undercoat Rake- AuCatStore(TM) Flea Pin Dog Puppy Pet Comb Brush Shedding Hair


The 10 grooming steps



1.   Brushing


2.   Combing


3.   Bathing


4.    Drying


5.   Clipping nails


6.   Cleaning and plucking ears


7.    Regular flea prevention


8.   Clipping your dogs coat


9.   Cleaning teeth when required


10.  Cleaning anal glands when required



What order do you do them in ?

The first four items are listed in the order in which they should be done. If your dog has a long coat then they must definitely be done in this order. Never bath your dog before grooming unless you are clipping your dog off short afterwards.

Never wash first, matts can turn into felt

 Washing a badly tangled coat will turn it into solid felt, if it is woolly. Once this has happened it will be impossible to brush your dogs’ coat out. You will have no alternative but to clip your dogs’ coat off or cut out big lumps of it to remove the felted matts.

If you clip your dog off because it is badly matted or felted, you will need to use a number 10 blade to get under the matting. This will take the coat back to the skin. It will take nearly twelve months for your dog to regrow its full coat when it has been clipped off this short.

It will take 12 months to regrow a full coat.


The minimum you should aim to do in a grooming session


We may not do all the things on the grooming list at every grooming session, we certainly don’t need to clip our dog, or treat it for fleas each week. But once a week we should at least brush and comb our dog if it has any long hair on its body.

Preferably you will brush, comb, bath and dry your dog each week, and also clean his ears – in that order. If he has a problem with his anal glands you will also express these.


Your personal Grooming kit



In order to carry out all of the tasks in the What is Grooming list you will need to have a minimum of three or four  pieces of grooming equipment.


So think about setting up your own grooming kit with quality tools that are going to do the job required in an easy and efficient manner.


Keep them in a Grooming box or basket so they don’t get lost or damp or dirty, and they will last longer and stay in better condition.


De-matting, brushing and combing


There are only three pieces of equipment that you have to have to remove matt’s and brush out any long hair on your dog/s.


These are:-


1.    Long bladed scissors – without sharp ends

2.    Slicker Brush

3.    Revolving comb


The scissors are used to split up matts and trim your dog where you need to tidy the coat up, or scissor the legs ears or tail furnishings. They must be sharp. Cheap ($3-$5) scissors can be excellent and can be replaced whenever they start to get blunt.


Slicker brushes come in a variety of sizes as well as having wire teeth of different lengths and stiffness’s. For a thick coat you will need a firm long toothed slicker while for a thin, light coat you will only need a soft, short one.  They are used to detangle the coat.  It is much easier to use a small to medium slicker brush properly.  Do not get a very large one.


A revolving comb has teeth that rotate as they are pulled through the coat, this means less tangling and pulling and less annoyance and painful tugging for your dog.  The revolving comb was demonstrated in class.


Your dog’s coat must be combed through thoroughly after it has been detangled if it is to be properly groomed. Combing will get down to the skin and ensure that all the hair is knot free right down to the roots.


If your dog has a long double coat then you will also need an undercoat rake


The undercoat rake removes undercoat quickly and easily as demonstrated in the workshop.


NOTE: the equipment we use in class is a Lawrence, Made in England, tender care slicker brush small size and a detangler comb. These items, and the nail clippers and an undercoat rake, are available for sale in classes or from our website - www,puppycareeducation.com.au


Our website also has a link to a place to buy the Wahl KMSS dog clippers at a very good price. Currently this is Sydney Salon Supplies.

Bathing and Drying your Dog



This may be a cute picture but this is definitely NOT the way to bath your dog.


For bathing your dog you will get better results by using some kind of hand held spray, and fresh running water, preferably warm. This is particularly important for the final rinse.




Better way to wash your dog - a hand held sprayer of any type is essential.



As discussed in the Basic Dog Grooming workshop, any product, such as shampoo or conditioner, that isn’t rinsed out properly and stays on your dogs skin can cause irritation and skin problems.Whether it is a dog or human shampoo find the one that suits your dogs coat and lifestyle best, and if you need, or want to use a conditioner, again use a suitable one and ensure you rinse it out properly. The quality dog shampoos and conditioners available at your vet should suit all dogs.


Never leave a coated dog damp to dry off naturally unless you can be sure that their coat will dry completely, right down to the skin, within a couple of hours.


A very thick coat can sometimes take days to dry properly right down to the skin.  Damp hair against your dogs skin can cause fungal infections, and other rashes. Unless your dog has a fairly short or very thin coat it is best to finish off drying them with some sort of dryer or blow heater, as demonstrated in the workshop, even on a hot day. And brushing the coat while drying it, will make it dry much quicker.


Not washing and drying your dog properly can be worse for your dog’s health than not washing your dog at all.



Other useful Grooming equipment for your personal Grooming kit.


The general items you may also want to include in your grooming kit are:-


         Nail Clippers to trim nails


         Hair Dryer to finish drying your dog after bathing.


         Ear cleaner (such as Epi-otic or Leo ear drops) to clean out ears regularly


The Basic Dog Grooming workshop should have given you a good understanding on how to use all of these items of grooming equipment.


Equipment required to clip your own dog


If you are going to clip your dog yourself then you will also need the following equipment in your personal Grooming Kit:-


1.    Animal clippers

2.    Blades and/or plastic comb attachments

3.    Oil – clipper blade oil or Singer Sewing Machine oil only.

4.    An old toothbrush



The oil and toothbrush are needed to keep your clipper blades clean and oiled, so that they will cut easily and last a long time. Never use any oil apart from the manufacturer’s clipper blade oil or spray, or Singer Sewing Machine oil, which is sold in supermarkets.


Good quality clippers are well worth the investment, especially if you have two or more dogs to be regularly clipped. Cheap clippers may not be able to do the job for you at all.


If your clippers have removable blades then you may want to purchase an extra steel clipper  blade  to clip your dog’s coat a different length, depending on whether the plastic combs will allow you to easily clip your dog’s coat the length you want.


Important to Remember: - The larger the number given to a clipper blade the shorter it will cut your dog’s hair. So a 10 blade is the shortest you would use, and a 3F blade gives the longest cut you can get with a steel clipper blade.


And remember also that an F blade has full teeth, and is the best type of blade to buy for your dog grooming.


The clipping pattern



The clipping pattern for clipping your dog is always the same but there are variations in how you will go about it depending on what blade, or blades, you use for the main part of the body.



Clipping your dog short all over with a #10 (short) blade


Always start clipping your dog at the withers (point of shoulder), then work over the main part of the body following the growth pattern of the hair, then the chest, then move on to the legs and feet then the underbelly and inner thighs. The last part of your dog that you will clip will be the head. You may need to use scissors on the dog’s feet if he is not tolerant of the clippers there.


Clipping your dog off with a longer blade

When clipping a small or medium dog off with a longer blade you will not be able to do the whole body with eth same blade as you can with the #10 blade If you are using a blade other than a #10 to clip the main body of your dog you will still start at the withers (point of shoulder), then work over the main part of the body, always following the growth pattern of the hair, then the chest and the upper thighs. You will then clean up the underbelly, inner thighs, and groin area with a #10 blade.


You will finish off the front legs and lower back legs with scissors and do the feet with a #10 blade used against the grain or use scissors. Many dogs dislike having their feet handled and will tolerate scissors much better than the clippers.


Good luck and enjoy your grooming






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