Danni & Zack

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Raising Your New Puppy



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So, you're getting a new puppy and have to pick up a few supplies for him or her? Sounds easy enough, but when you're faced with aisle after aisle of every kind of toy, dish, brush, food, and book imaginable how does one choose which is best?!! Many years of owning Beardies and trying out a variety of different items have helped us decide which products we prefer, and which suggestions for training or grooming for instance work well with Beardies, so we offer the following as our own recommendations. Although of course written with Beardies in mind, many of these suggestions can apply to all dogs.

This section is divided into the following pages:

Grooming Supplies

Everyone has their own personal favourite grooming tools, and some of our favourites are mentioned in detail on the Grooming Tools page, along with discussion of their use. Briefly summarized here, a pin brush, soft slicker brush (Doggy Man is the only brand I can recommend, as it is indeed VERY soft,) Resco #80 coarse comb, and a regular medium tooth comb, along with a pair of nail clippers and a spray bottle to mist the coat while brushing, will go a long way in general everyday grooming. A pair of straight shears can also come in very handy if you need to do 'sanitary trims' or snip out little tangles in sensitive areas.

One product most of us find indispensable is a waterless or no-rinse shampoo. Pro-Line Self Rinse Plus is probably the best known brand, but several other brands are also sold. Most are purple in colour, though some colourless ones are now available. Put some in a spray bottle and it's great for smaller clean-ups when you can't or don't want to give a full bath. Just spray on, work up a bit of a lather, and towel dry. It's not just for dogs either - we've used it to get small stains out of shirts, or stains out of the carpet, and all sorts of other normally difficult jobs.

A grooming table is another invaluable item. Getting the dog off the ground is imperative in order to groom properly and thoroughly, especially with youngsters who might not happily lounge on the floor while you groom. The dog will be much easier to manage when ‘out of his element’, and it is also much easier on your back. A simple grooming table can easily be made, but they are also available from various pet supply stores. A basic grooming table measures about 2’ x 3’ or 2’ x 4’ and is 29 1/2” high, with folding legs, and a 5/8” plywood top covered with rubber matting.

Taking your dog to a Groomer: If you prefer to keep your Beardie clipped down, or have let him/her get too matted to manage the grooming yourself, you might decide to take your dog to be professionally groomed. Exercise caution in choosing a groomer. Not all are adept at de-matting a long coated breed, and many will automatically shave to the skin regardless of whether you wanted that or not.  Also some groomers can be very rough or impatient, making the grooming session at the very least unpleasant for the dog, and at worst dangerous. There have been cases of dogs being injured or even dying at the hands of negligent or incompetent groomers. Things such as clipper burn, heatstroke due to cage dryers, or emotional trauma due to extreme stress from an abusive grooming session, are unfortunately not rare. Some automatically tranquilize dogs to make them more manageable.

There are some wonderful groomers around who do great jobs and send the dogs home looking beautiful and feeling happy and rejuvenated. Ask around for recommendations, talk to the groomer about your dog and how you want it to look, check references, level of experience, training, etc. If you are not comfortable with the groomer’s attitude, or the shop seems messy and geared to volume rather than quality of service, look elsewhere. Take your time, don’t wait until the dog is an awful mess and company is coming so you want the dog groomed NOW, and have to resort to picking the closest or cheapest one available. There is no magic potion to get rid of mats. Every mat in the dog’s coat has to be carefully and gently worked out, sometimes hair by hair. No matter how gentle one tries to be, mats pull and hurt. It is so much easier, healthy, and pleasant for the dog to prevent mats from forming in the first place through regular weekly or twice weekly grooming sessions, starting right from puppyhood.