Sunday, March 2, 2014

Grooming Angora Dog

We adopted a two year old Bichon Poodle (Poochon) mix a few weeks ago. Her winter coat was long and matted in many places (sides, legs, belly, and around the neck and ears). Initially I tried to comb it out since it's still winter and a long coat would be nice for the cold temperatures. However, she wouldn't let me do enough to remedy the matting, and it only seemed to get worse.
First hair cut;
cleared the matting
 This dog will require frequent grooming, an expense we going to minimize by doing the work ourselves. Perfection and mastery are fully expected to require lots of practice. Having about five years of angora rabbit grooming under my belt gives me some experience to spring from. Between cutting the boys hair (which I'm still working to improve) and now clipping the dog's hair there will be plenty of opportunities for practice this spring and summer. While a fluffy coat is lovely, it requires constant combing, and so it will be partly up to the dog as to how long we'll keep it. Now that we're starting off with a clean slate, perhaps she'll be better about allowing us to brush her feet. However, if she persist in being super sensitive about it, we'll just keep her clipped short at all times.

Scouring the reviews on amazon for advice specific to poodle type coats, I settled upon the Andis two speed clippers, which were well rated. Since I was trying to removed matting between clipper swipes, I turned them off and on frequently to prevent them from heating up. I used grooming scissors to cut out really bad matting, a steal comb to smooth out the coat, and clipper guards in an attempt to salvage some length of the coat along the back and head. However, I had to take it down much further than I'd hoped when the guards wouldn't allow for cutting through any matted parts. Since my clippers were not running non-stop, and the dog is petite, over heating didn't seem to be too much of a problem. Just in case I had picked up some Cool Care spray after reading reviews that strongly recommended it. While the Andis clippers didn't specify this, it did come with a large bottle of clipper oil, which keeps the clipper blades lubricated and running smoothly.  It was nice not to have to purchase that separately, as I did the guards and will need to do if I want different blade sizes. The clipper comes with a standard size 10 blades attached. I felt this was short enough for my purposes. Larger numbers cut even shorter, and smaller numbers cut to yield a longer length. My desired look is the teddy bear cut I've seen on Pinterest.

I never clipped any of my former angora rabbits, which could cause even more matting. I'd read the best wool care was combing it out and plucking away molting wool. Plucking was the only way to completely remove all the molted wool, as shearing left short molted pieces. While unbelievably time consuming (time I no longer have in my life...maybe one day, but not now) that was how I always took care of my rabbits. However, most angora folks, especially folks with many rabbits, sheared their rabbits, because it was simply faster. Indeed, after clipping the dog this weekend I wonder how I managed to never clip the rabbits. How much easier this will be then combing, brushing, combing, painstakingly separating matting.... what a relief to just buzz it all away. Now I feel like Scarlett O'Hare, "I will never go clipper-less again!"

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