Grooming Seminar

We were fortunate to have all-breed professional handler Christy Marley as a guest speaker for a Grooming Seminar. Thanks to Jolynn for sharing her notes!

Grooming Seminar Notes
Jolynn Klaus

Before Bathing:
* Go through long coats with a pin brush. Start at the base and work up.
* Don't use a slicker brush on a long coat because it will cause breakage. Only use the slicker after the coat is clean and has been gone through with the pin brush.
* Use a slicker brush on yourself to get a feel for using it. On the skin of your arm lay the bottom edge of the slicker brush and roll outward.
* Remove mats. She recommended not using de-matting sprays because they make the coat oily.
* Check carefully for mats in the elbow region and between the toes.
* Take the mats out of delicate areas before getting the coat wet. Wetting makes the mats tangle tighter.
* Males will often have a problem with mats in the "pee coat" area. This is because of urine and in this case it is better to work the mats out in the tub with some shampoo.
* To work a mat out of the coat take the tip of a metal greyhound comb and pull at the middle of the mat working the comb away from the knot.
* You can lessen matting problems by making sure that you get your Cavalier all the way dry after bathing.
* Strippers - Set of 2 McClellan strippers was recommended. Just use the stripper on the short coat, never the long coat.


* Recommended a general purpose shampoo "Bark 2 Basic". It is a brighten/whiten shampoo that must be mail ordered.
* Bath a show dog every week and only brush when clean so you get less hair breakage.
* Dog should always be bathed twice to get optimal clean.
* Use your hands to wash dog and feel for suds.
* Ears on Cavailiers are particularly oily, so dip the ears in a cup of diluted shampoo and work downward with the grain.
* Start at the head and work back (high to low). From above wash over and down the ears. Avoid the eyes. Spray the water downward by the side of their face so the water runs over their cheeks, but not in the eyes.
* Be careful using whitening shampoos. They are very strong and can break down the shaft of the coat.
* White on White a product by Chris Christenson is a whitening product many Cav. owners have used.
* If you use a whitener, do it during the first washing as it strips out the coat.
* Put whitener only on the whites, not on color, and leave on for a couple of minutes. Rub it into white toes. Then do the rest of the body with regular shampoo and rinse everything out together.
* Use your hands and massage or roll the skin to get the shampoo worked into the coat.
* Rinse thoroughly. If you don't remove all the soap residue you will get flaking and itching.
* Optional Rinse: 1 TBLS glycerine, 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water. This is a John Evans' recipe. After rinsing all the shampoo out, pour the rinse mixture over the coat trying to get all parts of the coat. Immediately rinse the mixture completely out. The dog will smell like a tossed salad, but that will go quickly away. The rinse will remove all traces of the shampoo product, leaving a shiny, manageable coat. It will be silky to the touch. (Recipe variations: 1) in a pitcher mix 1/2 tsp. Glycerine, a couple of glugs of white vinegar and water to fill, 2) 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 3 TBLS glycerine)
* Wring out excess water going with the grain and feeling for any leftover soap.

* Use a towel to dry, starting at face. Don't rub the towel just gently squeeze and no circle movements.
* Groomer used regular people hair dryer (Conair 1875). They're cheaper to replace. Be careful the air is not too hot or too close to skin to prevent burning.
* Best if you can use two hands to work on dog and something/someone else to hold the dryer. Groomer held the cord in mouth as she worked.
* Watch the angle of the dryer. It should blow on the hair in a downward direction.
* Again always pin brush an area first and then use the slicker to lessen breakage. The slicker works best on the featherings.
* For a show dog spray on a diluted conditioner as you're drying/blowing out. Conditioners weigh down the coat so place a small amount of conditioner (size of nickel) in a spray bottle and fill with water. Hold way away from dog (12 inches) and spray all over. Conditioners to try: Pet Silk, Back to Nature Phase 1, Crown Royal Bodifier. (*note - Dilute a lot- more than 14/1, builds up & can be sticky, dry it into the coat)
* How to know if the hair is dry? Wet hair clumps and is shinier looking than dry hair.
* To help straighten a real wavy coat use a mesh suit and dry with it on.
* No time to dry the entire dog? Dry all the feathers first then "towel" the dog leaving the back wet.
* "Towel" - use a small hand size towel, roll up about 2 inches on the small end of the towel and put the roll at neck right up behind the ears. Pin at the neck, under the belly and under the tail. The towel should be long enough to cover the length of the dog (not including tail) so it makes a "drying jacket".
* Start drying with the back feathers at the bottom and work up.
* The faster and hotter the drying = the straighter the hair. Also when you dry all the way to the base of the hair you'll get straighter hair.
* Get one area completely dry before you move on to the next spot. This prevents curling. To get rid of curls take a brush and while drying go right in front of the curl and flip it up and then straight down.
* Ears - under the ear hold one hand over the opening as you're drying.
* To dry the outside of ear start at the top and brush upward and work down the ear. Finish drying with all downward strokes.
* Front/Chest Feathers - gently hold the muzzle up as you work under the neck. Comb the hair in a couple of different directions to get area good and dry. For example, pull to one side and then pull everything down & straight following the natural curves over the shoulders.
* Body - same thing, dry in a couple different directions. First go against the grain and then finish drying straight back or straight down.
* Unruly fuzzies? Carefully hand-pull to get rid of them. Pluck hair from elbow.
* Mousse - Paul Mitchell Extra Hold Mousse was recommended because it doesn't cause flaking. Apply it to areas that need more body or that need straightening. For example, to legs that need more 'bone' or feathers that need more 'body". Apply a quarter size squirt to the area and work in with your fingers. Dry and style with a blow dryer as desired.


* If dog has ear problems, clean at least every two days
* One person found that by adding 1 TBLS of yogurt to their dogs food on a daily basis helped to control yeast infections.
* Here is a recipe for an effective ear cleaner that is less astringent that commercial products. 8 oz cheapest Vodka, 3 TBLS Boric Acid. Warm it up and put it in a clean, plastic, squirt Ketchup bottle. Gently rinse the ear until it runs clean. Then use a round beauty pad to wipe off the excess moisture. Do the cleaning before bathing as the dog will shake it's head!

* For toe nails use a fine grinder tool. She likes the cordless ones.
* X-clip the feet pads - using either clippers or blunt tipped scissors clip out the area between the main large pad and the four toe pads.

* One way to rid inside, carpeted areas of fleas is to sprinkle 20 Mule Team Borax liberally onto the carpet and work it in with a broom. It will make a terrible dusty mess, so be prepared. Leave on for one hour and vacuum up. Fleas will dehydrate and die.