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The Basics of Flat-Coat Grooming
by Claire Koshar
The presentation of the flat-coat shown in beautiful condition starts long before his winning day in the ring. He is the product of good maintenance and nutrition. He is frequently brushed and free of parasites and mats. We’ll watch for inflammation of the ears or eyes, hot spots or growths. Regular grooming lets the owner find problems before they are major.
We are preparing to trim our flat-coat and we begin with a dog in clean, healthy condition. We use good, quality grooming equipment. Toenails should be kept trimmed on a regular basis. A brief filing session is preferable to removing an excess of nail all at once. Use a positive cookie method to accustom your puppy to accept toenail trimming with his usual sunny attitude. We will make sure that the teeth are clean with no redness at the gum.
The breed standard clearly states that “when the dog is in full coat the ears, front chest, back of forelegs and tail are thickly feathered.” Therefore, careful “tidying of ears, feet, underline, and tip of tail is acceptable. Shaving or barbering must be severely penalized.
Bushy coat on or around the ear should be kept trimmed. This will avoid mats behind the ears Trim the outline of the ear when as it hangs in a natural position and follow that by neatening stringy or bushy coat around the edge of the ear when it is held up. Use a stripping blade or fine thinning shears to remove excess coat. Take a little at a time. You can’t put it back.
The tail affects overall balance and should be trimmed to give a natural appearance.
Outlines should be tidied. The removal of stringy or dead coat will give the overall appearance of a fuller coat. If a blow drier is used it should be used in the direction of the hair growth. Otherwise, the flat-coat will have an obvious fluff to his coat which any discerning judge would penalize.
Feet are kept clean of excessive coat with attention paid to the coat between the pads.
The breed standard states that whiskers should not be trimmed.
Remember always that the flat-coat must be shown with “as natural a coat as possible.”
And…good luck in the ring.
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