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Clipping/grooming

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Do people give their dogs a 'hair cut'?

Poppy my last border collie was short haired so it wasn't an issue.. Ben, when he came to me over a year ago, had a slightly fuller coat than Poppy but now he has thick, long wavy fur - particularly round the rear end! His coat is lovely but we are getting into warm weather now and he is not very heat tolerant due to his heart condition. So I wondered if it would help to thin it out and trim it?

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I think it is generally inadvisable to clip or shave border collies. While I have never done this, I have heard of people who did and the hair was never the same when it grew back. The longer hair provides insulation against heat.

 

The one thing I have done is trim the bum fluff and the long feathery hairs on the legs. I have only done this when I was in a climate where things would stick to those hairs and have to be combed out. I have just done this with scissors, not cutting too close (maybe 2" long), and the fur grew back just fine.

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I've always read that the fur actually insulates against excessive heat, though that may not be true in all climates because ppl have preferred short coats for working dogs in some hot areas. But as long as the dog isn't working or exercising to the point of overheating (insulation works both ways and a heavy coat can trap body heat in as well as external heat out).

 

I've heard ppl say that clipped coats don't always grow back nicely too, though I have no first hand experience.

 

I've never clipped any of my dogs' coats even in the sometimes hot, muggy mid-Atlantic summers.

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I would never do a full body clip on a bc. For mine, the spring time brings mud, so I will trim leg hair, pants(the long hair under tail and down back legs). I also trim the belly hair, but leave enough for protection. Mine are farm/house dogs so I try to keep the level of dirt coming into the house to a minimum.

 

Samantha

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Cheers folks.

I'm wondering if he was trimmed before because he looks like a different dog. Will upload some up to date pics. Probably will just have a go at the shaggy bit underneath his tail!

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The best thing is to brush comb and get the dead undercoat out. The feathering and butt fluff can sure be trimmed without a problem. You can use a thinning shear or if you have clippers take a 5 blade or something longer and just lightly go across the top of the butt fluff.

 

A great undercoat rake is Jeffers magic spring comb rake - the double row of teeth version. Think it like 5 dollars in the jeffers pet on line catalog.

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I have done it. His coat grew back fine, but he was so ugly in the meantime that I'd never do it again. I didn't notice that it kept him any cooler either...

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If your dog has furry feet, VERY worth clipping the fur out of those, too. Both because exposed pads act as heat radiators and sweat, and because pads have better traction on most surfaces than fur.

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I keep the hair trimmed on the feet/footpads, this also helps reduce the dirt tracked into the house. I also trim tummies in the summer, thin out front leg and butt feathers and trim around the rectum. I've never done a full body clip.

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I do the same as aschlemm. ^^^ Although I will trim the front legs and 'mudflaps' (fluffy area around rear legs/tail) more drastically than just thinning.

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Thanks for the info everyone. I'm glad I read this. I tried a few months ago to trim my girl with clippers, but the clippers just kept getting stuck in her hair so I gave up (feeling like a failure! Lol). I ended up just trimming her "butt fluff" with scissors as you all said, and I also trimmed down the bottom side of her tail a bit. I never would have guessed that more fur could actually help her stay cooler. Seems hard to believe but I trust you gals and will take your word for it. Also thanks for suggesting to trim around the foot pads, she is definitely needing that.

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Shaving bellies and armpits can help cool, especially if the dog has access to cool grass, cool floors or a pool.

 

I shaved a BC who grew a very, very wooly coat as an elderly dog...she was hard to keep brushed and then she started leaking pee when she slept and needed washed off every day so I clipped her to 1/2" everywhere.

 

She looked ridiculous but we didn't care.

 

One thing I find helps me deal with a thick thick undercoat is to wet the dog down, then use a lot of cheap cream rinse diluted down and worked into the coat to the skin (think Suave or White Rain 99 cents a bottle kind). While the conditioner is in, work through the woolly areas with a pin brush then a comb, going as fine toothed as you can. The slip of the conditioner helps pull out dead coat with minimal pulling.

 

I then rinse it out, wash the dog with mild shampoo and use a silicone based spray like Ice on Ice or The Stuff on a damp dog (helps coat the guard hairs so the dead coat slides out easier...just use outside because these types of sprays can make a floor slippery if overspray gets on it). I follow with a blow from a 4hp dog blower and a final brush.

 

I can remove 80% of the coat this way and then daily brush/comb for a few more days will remove the rest. Then he is good for 6 months or so till it grows in again.

 

Without that woolly stuff he dries quickly after a swim, sheds less, is easy to keep brushed seems cooler.

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Thanks for this tip, Rushdoggie. I have always brushed and combed out the undercoat when the dogs start to blow their coats in the spring, but it takes a very long time, even on Kit, who is semi-smooth coated, and the dog gets understandably restless so it usually takes two or three sessions. May try the cheap conditioner route next time. :-)

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I may give the conditioner treatment a try too. Thanks for that.

 

I've also found that a lot of swimming (real swimming in deep water, not just splashing around) pulls the dead undercoat out at the root so that it can be more easily brushed out. B)

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Add me to someone who's going to try the conditioner thing. Kylie's dead undercoat does NOT come out easily. Like even with line combing. It's a bear and it makes us both miserable. Anything to make it easier. Thank you!

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I trimmed my first BC when she was a senior. Her coat had gotten wooly and she had hot spots. She really didn't spend a ton of time outside. It was mostly to let the hot spots breath and heal. Her coat never grew back right so we kept her trimmed after that.

 

Now I do trim pads and the Lorax feet. Also, I trim the pants on one of my dogs. But that's about it.

 

As for getting rid of undercoat, I try to brush frequently with an undercoat rake. And a couple times a month (more in the summer) after they've gotten wet, either in the stock tank or at a beach, I use a forced air dryer on them. The dead hair flies off! No one likes it, but they all tolerate it well enough.

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Thanks for this tip, Rushdoggie. I have always brushed and combed out the undercoat when the dogs start to blow their coats in the spring, but it takes a very long time, even on Kit, who is semi-smooth coated, and the dog gets understandably restless so it usually takes two or three sessions. May try the cheap conditioner route next time. :-)

 

I'm not sure how much benefit it will be on a smoothie, but it helps tremendously on my coated boy. The hair on his haunches and leg feathers is like 6-8" long, and its tough to get out the woolly stuff without really pulling.

 

As I mainly comb my own (wavy thick) hair in the shower when its full of conditioner, I thought hmmmm.

 

So I tried it and it worked. It also really helps to get the water to the skin on him....his undercoat is pretty dense over his haunches and above his tail, on several occasions I have been pretty sure I got shampoo to the skin and then discovered his coat kind of repelled it in spots back there.

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Re: clipping/grooming

 

What type of brush/combs do you all use? Is there a particular type or style? We've always used a slicker brush for our labs as it works wonders getting out their old down coat. So we have continued using it on Jack and it works well. I'm just curious more than anything.

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Kit isn't a smoothie, but semi-, by which I mean that her coat is short rather than long or flowing. Even so, she has a dense undercoat so I am sure the technique will work on her. When I comb her out each spring when she is blowing her coat I have enough undercoat in a pile to make a whole new dog. You wouldn't think, looking at her, that she could lose that much hair and have any left!

 

As for types of brushes and combs, my experience with all dogs is that the most important thing for pet grooming (as opposed to show grooming...ugh) is what the dog will tolerate the best.

 

Some dogs hate slicker brushes because they are sharp on the tips, but will be OK with the ball-tip type of slicker. Some dogs like brushing, hate combing. You can make almost anything work, although some tools work faster on some kinds of coats. My experience is that what makes it the most efficient is if the dog will stand still for the grooming, and not be upset by it, and the best way to have that outcome is to use something the dog doesn't mind. Of course, if your dog will tolerate anything and stay relaxed, then use whatever tool works best on that dog's coat.

 

I like an undercoat rake first and then a ball-tipped pin brush for rough coated border collies, but I have used all kinds of things including human hair brushes.

Not a Furminator, though. that will ruin a border collie's coat.

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Kylie is my 'problem child' re: Coat (ie: not a BC at all), but she's got a super dense undercoat, spay coat, and length - quite a lot of it in places (tail and pants in particular). Slicker does nothing. It doesn't even come close to reaching skin. I have to use a metal comb with rotating pins, and line comb her, and even then the undercoat does NOT want to come out -- and the places she has overt spay coat, I have to strip her by hand like she's a freaking terrier. It's just. Bad. Fortunately, she doesn't mat, ever.

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We use a furninator practically every day on our 4YO smooth coat Blue.  His coat is absolutely beautiful shiney, shiney black and brilliant white.  Probably helps that he gets at least 4 hose showers per week.  He loves to lay in muddy ruts when we play so the showers are a must before he comes back inside.  I would say he "tolerates" both the brushing and showers.  Does not like them but does not actively avoid them either.

Then six week old rough coated Bonnie came into our lives near the end of November.  She is an enthusiastic love pig and enjoys being petted, scratched and massaged even  more than she likes to eat (which is the second great love in her life).  She really does not need to be groomed at this point in her life (now 4 months old) but I wanted to get her used to daily grooming right from the get go.  Nothing doing.  If she detects anything like a comb or brush in your hand, she takes off like a shot.  I even bought a cheap, six inch, plastic hair comb thinking it would be neither uncomfortable nor look scary.  She say no way José.

Advice?

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So what you need to do is desensitisation.  Depending on how bad she is, you start by putting the brush down somewhere and rewarding her for looking at it.  Then, when she is comfortable looking at it, you no longer reward for looking at it, but you reward her for moving towards it.  Then you reward her for getting closer.  Then for touching it.  Then you start over with you holding it still.    Then with you touching her with it.  Then, finally, you can think about starting to brush, very gently.  This is going to take time and lots of treats.

There was a video on a sudden fear of a kitchen thread recently which shows the sort of process you go through to over come fear in a dog.  Same theory, different fear.  Small steps, lots of positive reinforcement. 

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I guess it is a good thing she is so food focused.  I was the guy with the kitchen problem too.  Different dog—kind of indifferent to food rewards but we have made huge progress with him thanks to suggestions I received here.

I ordered this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077JPK4G6/ for Bonnie's "training brush" today.  I'll try your systematic desensitization suggestion focused on that after it arrives (expected Sunday).

I also wondered, as much as she likes to be handled, if something like this https://www.amazon.com/Upgrade-Version-Pet-Grooming-Glove/dp/B01N9KSITZ might work but I have no exeperience with anything like this.  I also think I would run away of somebody approached me wearing these mits :). 

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