'Not only is punishment risky, but it also fails to teach the dog an acceptable alternate behaviour. The dog does not learn what to do the next time he is in the same situation. He only learns to fear the situation.' Emma Parsons, Click to Calm p73

Thursday, 14 April 2011


Tools of the job: thin lead slipped round waist, slicker brush, hard bristle brush, soft bristle brush, rubber dog brush and puppy kong stuffed with peanut butter. And a whole lot of post-grooming puppy hair.

For the last week or so, the dogs have been coming into their summer coats - which means that both are shedding like crazy. Jess is easy to brush (just a daily sweep-over with the rubber dog brush), but for Lola, just brushing isn't enough. So for the last few days, I've been working up to today: a thirty or so minute session of hand stripping, wherein the dead hairs are gently pulled out of her coat.

In order to get her to stay reasonably still for that long, I filled her puppy kong with crunchy peanut butter and let her lick at it. (This also helps make the hand stripping a pleasurable activity - I do occasionally try to pull out a hair still attached, which must hurt.) I then brush her hair in the opposite direction of its growth with the wire slicker, so that the hair stands more on end, and gently hold loose skin between one forefinger and thumb whilst slowly pulling out hairs in the direction of the growth with the other thumb, forefinger and index finger. After this is done (this takes the most of the time, but is definitely helped by Lola nibbling at a puppy kong rather than waiting perfectly still for a 'yes' and reward every couple of plucks), I brush her hair in the direction of the growth with the rubber brush, then again with the bristle brush, and then finally again with the soft bristle brush - to smooth the hair down into the right position, and then to make it gleam.

Once she stops shedding, I'll probably only have to hand strip her once a week and brush every other day, but for now I'm pretty pleased with how my first over-ten-minutes attempt at hand stripping went. She doesn't look like quite the derelict princess anymore.

Before / After


Sara said...

For some reason, the puppy hair in the top photo is showing up pink on my computer! Must be all the pink stuff around it tricking my eye.

Sophie said...

The photo actually does have a pink tinge :) and I didn't even realise how much pink stuff Lola has (and this isn;t all of it) - it wasn't even intentional!