A Beginners Guide for Grooming the Welsh Springer

By Joe T. Cowdrick

 

  • Webmaster Note:
    • This article was published in "The Starter Barks", Volume 43, Issue 1, March 2006.

 

I was originally taught the basics of grooming a Welsh Springer by Mr. Harold Newman of the Pencelli Kennel, Treorchy, Wales following the purchase of my second WSS (my first show dog, Am/Can Ch Pencelli Tomas). Mr. Newman always tried to emphasize was there is no one way to trim a Welsh Springer. Everyone will have their own methods that work best for them, it is the result that is important. This article is intended to give you a sound, basic starting point. It is expected that each individual will develope their own methods which work best for them.

Beginning Notes:

1. It is important for the grooming sessions to be enjoyable and pleasant for all concerned, both the dog and the groomer. It is better to make the grooming sessions short and complete only one thing than to "tough it out" and make the experience less than enjoyable.

2. You can, at times, see a Welsh Springer with several different shades of red fur (generally on the head, ears, neck and shoulders). This is the result of performing major grooming operations. If at all possible this should be avoided, if you trim the dog's fur ON A REGULAR BASIS and keep it trimmed, the fur will return to its natural color while keeping its neat appearance, however be aware it may take several months to accomplish this.

3. When using any kind of scissors, unless instructed otherwise, always trim and cut in the direction that the hair is growing (scissors parallel to the growth of the fur). It will take longer than trimming across or against the direction of hair growth however it will not be so apt to leave unsightly ridges in the hair. Additionally always cut with the pointed end of the scissors away from the dog's sensitive areas as sudden movements could cause serious injury.

4. Raise the dog to your level by placing the dog on a grooming table or bench, this will make it much easier on you (your back) and help keep the dog from becoming unnecessarily excited. To help keep the dog in position either have a second person hold the dog or obtain an attachable grooming arm for the grooming table/bench with a noose type lead (with a pull release catch) connected to the end of the grooming arm.

5. When lifting a foot to trim a toe nail, leg fur, or feathering be careful how you raise the foot. Always support the dog and never bend the leg/foot in an unnatural position. To do so may cause a serious joint injury.

6. Always use the best tools that you can afford; it will make the grooming much easier, the tools will last much longer, and in the long run save you time and money.

7. Tools you will need are:
    a. 46 tooth thinning scissors.
    b. Straight edge scissors.
    c. Hairbrushes (Fuller® Beech Club & Beech Club Gentler or equivalent).
    d. Combs, both medium and fine tooth (not the flea comb).
    e. Grooming rake, 16 – 18 tooth medium/fine (Oster® or Mars King® or equivalent).
    f.  Magnet® stripping knife or equivalent.
    g. Dremel® with stone grinding wheel.
    h. Nail cutters (scissors or guillotine type).
    i.  Heavy duty animal hair clippers (Single or Dual speed Oster® A5 with No. 10 blade or equivalent).
    j.  Mat splitter.
    k. Toothpaste (Oxyfresh® Pet GEL or equivalent) and brush.
    l.  Flashlight.

8. When you are using a clipper or grinder for the first time, always allow the dog to become familiar with the noise and sound of them BEFORE using them on the dog. Any mechanical device can produce ultrasonic sounds not heard by people. The combination of the clipper or grinder vibration, obvious noise, and unheard ultrasonic noise may cause distress if the dog is not allowed to become used to the sound. A heavy duty clipper or grinder is less likely to be placed under severe load and will cause fewer problems than light duty equipment.

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