How to groom a Cocker Spaniel – and other silky haired dogs

This is Jemima, a four year old English Cocker
Spaniel and a very good example of a silky haired breed. She’s about to have a grooming
makeover in the hands of a real expert. Jitka Krizova is one of Europe”s top dog
groomers. Sasha is enjoying herself. Originally from Slovakia, she now lives and
works in Britain. She’s been showing and grooming dogs for 20 years and has won an impressive
array of awards. British Groomer of the Year Award 2006, Eurogroom winner three times in
a row and in 2011 she clipped and snipped her way to the World Championships as a member
of Groom Team England. Jitka’s sharing her champion tips and techniques to help you keep
your dog in pristine condition. A silky coat is very delicate so be careful
not to break the hair when grooming. Other breeds with coats like Jemima’s include
Afghan Hounds, Setters, Yorkshire Terriers and Pekes. So the grooming techniques are
very similar. Silky-coated breeds have shorter hair on their
face, head, body, front of the front legs, back legs. They have longer hair on their ears, undercarriage,
front and back legs and tail. Regular brushing will remove the dead hair
which causes tangles. If neglected a silky haired dog’s fur can become matted and then
unfortunately the only solution is to shave it off. You don’t need to use a professional dryer
– any household hair dryer will do. But make sure it’s on a low heat. Get your puppy used
to being groomed from a young age – that way it will become an enjoyable experience for
both of you. Jitka is using a medium sized slicker brush
which removes any tangles and matted hair while gently massaging the skin at the same
time. Used properly and gently the brush gives the dog a soft shiny coat and healthy circulation
in the skin. Then Jitka combs the hair to remove any remaining
tangles before trimming the dog’s legs with scissors. Cutting a dog’s hair requires a lot of skill
so it’s recommended that you visit a professional groomer. Cocker Spaniels can be hand stripped
to remove the dead hair from the coat or clipped . Hand stripping
as the name suggests involves plucking by hand – pulling the dead fur out of the coat
and so promoting the growth of new fur. A stripping stone can also be used.
Hand stripping is very time consuming and this too is best left to the professionals.
It will cost you more than clipping but is the only way to keep your dog’s coat in this
good a condition. In between grooming sessions you should brush
or comb your dog every day to avoid tangles. Her nails should be trimmed every four to
six weeks – and Spaniels are prone to ear infections so make sure you keep her ears
clean and tidy.

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