Matt Stelter has won “Best of Breed” 2002 with his handsome sable Collie. Here he shares with us some of his greatest dog show quality grooming secrets. Show preparation can take hours and even the right grooming at home can take a while if you really want your dog to look and feel their best.
Here are Matt’s top 8 grooming tips from his award winning routine:
- The Brush Out – Before bathing your dog, removing mats and tangles is essential. Mats and tangles that get wet tighten and become more difficult to remove. Matt uses a Dematting Rake for large mats, medium/coarse comb for tangles and small mats, and a Large Wire Pin Brush for the body and a Slicker Brush for the feet, head, ears, and lower legs.
- Bathing – “Whenever I wash my dogs I always have all equipment at the ready,” Matt cautions, “this means shampoo, conditioner, rinsing hose, and towels.” Matt uses a Scrub-A-Dub Tub, a walk-in tub with a convenient hose and showerhead, to wash and rinse his dogs. After the dog is shampooed and conditioned (if necessary), Matt rinses the residue out until the water runs clear.
- Blow-dry completely – “If you don’t blow dry every inch of the dog’s skin and coat, skin irritation may result. The damp place itches, the dog scratches, and the next thing you know, you have a nasty hot spot.” Matt uses the powerful Metro Air Force Quick Draw Pet Dryer.
- Pedicure – Matt first trims the nails with a Millers-Forge Dog Nail Trimmer. Nails soften after a dog is bathed and are easier to clip. “I can’t get the correct groomed look for the feet until the nails are trimmed,” he says. Also, a good pair of scissors is a must. Matt trims the feet and the lower legs first, since this is the first place to pick up dirt if the dog must be let down from the table for some reason.
- Head Trim – “This is an important skill that has taken me many years to learn,” Matt says. “I trim the whiskers, the jawline, the underjaw, the back skull, and the ears.” If a Rough Collie were not trimmed, his hair would be so long that it would appear unkempt and be prone to matting.
- Body Sculpt – “I want to stress most of all: The goal for the head trim and body sculpt is to make the dog look as natural as possible, as if he were not even touched by a pair of scissors. Create a well-balanced body while keeping as close to the breed standard as possible.” At this point, if he sees too much undercoat, Matt uses thinning shears and a Matbreaker because it will remove the undercoat without affecting the outer coat.
- Line brush and final body brush – This is essentially the final touch before the dog goes into the show ring. “I keep a spray bottle with water and a small amount of Premier System® Conditioner by the grooming table. A little dampness in the coat at this point gives the illusion of fullness, which is what we want in a Collie’s coat.”
- Final Touches – At this point, Matt takes a final look at the dog to make sure he hasn’t missed anything.
Do we have any other show dog speocalists out there that can provide any more great grooming tips?