General Info

General Advice for owners of Puppies that will require Trimming/Stripping:  when you get your puppy, don't delay starting daily brushing and regular bathing.  You will need a soft pin slicker and a combination comb as your basic equipment.  You will also require a good quality shampoo and conditioner like Tropiclean as this will clean the coat of mud but without stripping the natural oils in the dog's skin.  The process of teaching the dog to accept brushing is very important in building a relationship with you, which will also enable you to develop a better standard of training (which might prevent accidents or incidents), and it will make the experience your dog has with his groomer less stressful and more pleasurable.  When your dog goes for a walk and gets wet, then brush out the coat as it dries - if you leave the coat to dry before brushing then it is much more difficult to remove knots and tangles, and it will make the dog unhappy.  All your early grooming sessions should be of short duration, and should involve some tasty treats intermittently.  You will find it easier to work on a table using a rubber mat, and get someone to hold the dog gently so that you can work safely and efficiently.  The trimmed breeds need regular trips to a groomer in order to stay in healthy, matt-free condition - we would expect to see your dog at roughly every 8 weeks for a bath and trim, and possibly more often than that if you are struggling with the coat.  If you find brushing a bit of a chore, and you like the longer look, then book your dog in for an interim bath and brush - if this is done regularly, then you can leave all the brushing to us.   

Please don't hesitate to ask us for advice on grooming equipment: the right equipment will make your life a lot easier, and more pleasant for your dog.  If we see that you are struggling with brushing, then we will offer suggestions on the most effective equipment for you to buy and use, and will be happy to give a mini tutorial on how the equipment is used.

Cockerpoos/Labradoodles/Poodle/Bichon-crosses - We see loads of Poodle crosses at Canis, so we feel that we can offer useful help and advice to owners with the care and maintenance of these coats.  The biggest single factor affecting the health and welfare of these dogs is their beautiful coats, which can be difficult for owners to manage if they have not come across them before or don't have the right equipment to care for them.  These coats need professional attention for a bath and trim at least every 8 weeks, and often sooner.  We do on occasion deal with seriously matted coats, and there is really only one sensible solution for this in the grooming salon, and that is to shave it off and start again, and teach our customers how to brush and care for the coat properly. When dogs are very matted, shaving a coat off is not an act of vandalism by a groomer, it is a humane response to a major welfare consideration for the dog - it can take hours to brush out matting, and for many dogs they are very sensitive and it hurts and upsets them.  If you have a a Doodle or Poo then don't be shy, even if it is matted - we can help you get the coat back into good condition and shape, and we can then direct you to suppliers of professional equipment that will make brushing your dog more of a pleasure than a chore for both parties.  We are here to help, and will do all that we can.

Handstripping - this is a traditional method of coat care and is suited to the wire-coated breeds like Border Terriers, and also to the silky-coated gun dogs like Spaniels.  These breeds have a double-structured coat (top coat and under coat) - wire coats, we are stripping the primary wire hair and leaving the undercoat, and with the silky coats, we are stripping the secondary hairs or undercoat to reveal a shorter, smooth and shiny top coat.   Handstripping is not always straightforward for us as groomers, or for you to know the right time, or suitability of your dog for this method.  Handstripping is a lengthy process during which the dog must be physically able to stand on our table.  For the majority of dogs, using the correct technique they are perfectly happy for us to pull the hair.  There are a number of factors that affect our ability to carry out this type of groom:

  • Temperament of your dog - there is no justification for us to strip the coat of a dog that finds it an unhappy experience, and there are some dogs that are touch-sensitive - we would need to assess the temperament to be sure that this grooming method is suited to your dog, and we feel sure that you would not want us to attempt to strip your dog, if the dog was telling us that the process was painful
  • Is the dog neutered, or going to be neutered?  If Yes, then it may make the strip more difficult or eventually impossible without hurting the dog (removal of sex organs changes the hormone balance and this affects hair growth cycles and the skin's ability to give up the hair).  If you want us to strip a neutered dog, then we would need to have an opportunity to assess the coat before we book an appointment for this kind of groom.  
  • Timing of the strip - in general terms dogs of the strippable breeds have fur with a lifespan of about 6 months and it is only when the coat is approaching the end of its life span that it is ready to be pulled (telogen phase), and to try to do this before the coat is ready will hurt the dog and upset it, and the finished result will be unsatisfactory in terms of the quality of groom. Typically pet Border Terriers are stripped every 6 months for this reason, and we often struggle when owners bring them back sooner as although the dog is scruffy, the hair is not ready to be pulled because the hair is still alive.  It is possible with some dogs to start a slightly different process of handstripping - known as Rolling the Coat - and this is where we manipulate the hair growth cycle by taking out about 20% of the wire hair at more regular appointments (roughly 4-6 weeks), and this enables us to build up layers of hair at different stages of growth.  This is the method used for show dogs to keep their coats always ready for the show ring.  If this method is of interest please talk to us about it.
  • Age of dog - unneutered dogs also have changes in their metabolisms as they age, and this will affect coat quality and the speed at which is regrows - with age the coat does seem to slow down.  For older dogs, there will come a point at which we feel it may be kinder to the animal to revert to clipping and this is due to the amount of time that the dog spends on the table - we will talk to you about this, so that we can plan the right approach for your dog
  • Nutrition - dogs with the best coat quality for handstripping are fed on a high quality diet

Other important factors with handstripping:

  • If your dog has a skin condition, or if at the date of the handstrip appointment, the dog has signs of skin irritation, then we should not attempt to strip your dog until the problem has resolved itself
  • A dirty coat (not matted), is easier for us to strip - we can grip the hair to pull it out and we always strip before a bath - preferably don't bath your dog in the week before the handstrip 
  • Removing hair from the follicles creates slight damage to the skin which takes time to recover making the dog's skin susceptible to infection - usually a week or so to recover - with Border Terriers, we generally don't bath them for this reason (though we do use a dry shampoo to freshen them), and because there is no handscissor work to be done, it is unnecessary.  For other breeds with furnishings (skirts and feathers) then they do need to be bathed before the trim.  When we bath stripped dogs we use Tropiclean Oxymed Shampoo as it is designed for dogs with sensitive skins. We always rinse thoroughly with cool water.  The key point to be aware of is that this method of grooming carries risk of infection which we try to mitigate against through good hygiene, correct technique, and suitable products: we will carry out this method of groom on the understanding that you accept that there is a level of risk for your dog by you authorising us to carry out this technique.  Be watchful of the dog's skin health and overall behaviour of the dog in the first couple of days after the strip, and consult with your vet if the dog chews its skin or if there are any lesions apparent as this can rapidly lead to infection which is potentially very serious.
  • Dogs that have been clipped in the past will be very difficult to handstrip, and in some cases it will be impossible to get the coat back to a strippable condition - if the coat is to be restored for stripping, then we will need to discuss with you a plan for remedial care
  • Your Aftercare of the Dog's Coat: the dog's skin will be sensitive for a week or possibly longer.  Don't apply topical flea products, bath the dog or use any other chemicals on the dog, and avoid air fresheners in your house/car.  Be aware that there are many essential oils in use that are actually toxic to dogs and cats, and should not be used in the pet's home environment - at worst these products can kill, but often they cause allergic reactions such as ongoing skin irritations and sensitivities

The Typical Grooming Session

At our first meeting with you, we will spend some time to find out about your dog and its lifestyle, any health issues or trips to the vet, your dog's likes and dislikes, along with asking about how you would like the dog to be styled.  Sometimes owners aren't sure what would suit their dog, so we can often help and advise.  Some owners are able to help us by bringing a photograph of how they would like their dog to look.  Once we have the brief from you we are able to start.  This is the usual sequence of a grooming session:

* visual check of the dog looking for lumps/bumps, skin lesions, parasites, assessing nails, checking ears, identifying any coat problems, noting any problems so that we can feed back to you when you collect the dog

* clean the ears - we only pluck ears if your vet's advice is for us to do so - for the majority of dogs they dislike the process and it is not necessary

* trim and/or grind nails

* rough clip an overgrown coat ready for the bath

* trip to the garden for a comfort break, and a drink of water on the way

* into the bathroom for a thorough bath, and some of the yummy facial scrub

* back to the studio to be dried and brushed out

* pads and sanitary areas clipped out

* reclip the dog to ensure a smooth finish

* scissor work to finish the groom

* a little rest and a titbit whilst the dog awaits collection

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