Grooming & Regular Care (Part 2)
Brushing and Coat Care
The adult rough collie has a double coat. A soft ‘downy’ undercoat provides insulation and a coarser outer coat provides weather protection.
This double coat on an adult dog is very effective. If you are out walking in the rain, you will notice that the water just runs off the coarse outer layer, leaving the under-coat dry and warm.
Effective coat-care requires the right equipment. We prefer to use:
- A ‘Denham’ style hair brush (which you can get from Boots) – these are distinguished by a pad of nylon spikes, each one surrounded by pure natural bristle. There are other makes too, but the basic design is the same. The above photograph shows the brush in detail.
- A steel comb – with fine and coarse teeth.
- A slicker brush.
- Slicker brushes of various sizes. On the left is a puppy sized slicker.
The Basic Technique – Body, Chest and Hocks.
The basic technique to remember is to brush the coat the wrong way (i.e. the opposite way to how it naturally lays) and then, section by section, hold the fur back with a flat hand and with the ‘Denham’ brush in the other hand, brush it back the correct way. The technique is sometimes referred to as ‘line brushing’ because as you brush the coat back the right way, a line forms.
‘Feathering and Petticoats’.
The long attractive coat that grows from the trailing edges of the front legs is called the feathering. Under the body and around the back legs are the ‘petticoats’ – kept in good tangle free condition these look very attractive and enhance the rough collies’ distinctive appearance. Simply comb through and then run the slicker brush through to keep them looking nice.
Around the Ears.
Brushing around the ears requires special attention. Firstly, this is a very sensitive area so brushing needs to be done carefully, a little bit at a time.
Secondly, this is an area where tangles and matts can form very easily – this can become big, and uncomfortable if grooming this area is neglected.
Use a combination of the slicker and the comb as described below to keep the area around the ears tangle free.
Dealing with Tangles and Matts.
Even with a well cared for coat you will have to deal with tangles in the coat – most probably behind the ears and in the ‘armpits’ of the front legs.
An effective method for dealing with tangles and matts is to alternately use the comb and slicker brush. Always work on the offending tangle a little bit at a time and always hold the base of the tangle with a finger and thumb, so you don’t apply undue pulling and pressure to the area beneath the tangle.
Step 1 – Hold the base of the tangle between thumb and forefinger to provide a protective barrier for the dogs skin.
Step 2 – Using the slicker, brush from the base of the tangle upwards to free the fur around it.
Step 3 – Using the steel comb, try to break the tangle from the edge. don’t use too much force, and only use one or two teeth of the comb to split out a bit of the tangle.
Step 4 – Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the tangle is freed and you can easily comb through the affected area.
Amongst the grooming products that are available, there are detangling sprays. A light application of the mist from a spay bottle helps, but it is not a magic substitute for patience and brushing.
Legs and Feet.
To brush the legs use the slicker brush – upwards (wrong way) on the legs, but downwards (right way) on the feet.
To keep the tail looking bushy, hold the tail at the base and brush along it’s length (the right way) with the ‘Denham’ brush.