OK I admit it! I hardly ever do the “Big Hairies” anymore. I just can’t do it. Huskies are not common in my area (unless they are shaved down), Australian Shepards are generally shaved as well. Golden Retrievers basically have very little coat in this area and the other Nordic breeds are rare due to
our heat. The vast majority of my clientele is small, fluffy mixed breeds or Shih-Tzu types, and most are white. I don’t know why.
Anyway, I do have one large (80 pound) Husky that I have been doing for a long time. He is not nice, and he will hurt you if you are not careful. His Dad is even scared of him and will not push him when he starts growling or nipping. He means it. When he is done he is done. If he doesn't get fully brushed, he
goes home with undercoat still in him.
Nakai is not groomed often enough. I groomed him December 21,2009 then again today. His Dad does an OK job of keeping up with the brushing, so he is never that bad really.
He intimidated my staff today and not one of them would touch him. My bather said “He’s ALL YOURS!” and my assistant weighs about the same as the dog so it was not something I would ask her to do. In my shop, I groom the bad or difficult dogs. Nakai is one of the ones labeled “Debi ONLY”.
I remember thinking, “today is the day he goes home finished” when he came in today. See, he usually doesn’t get fully brushed out and NEVER gets his feet trimmed, his britches tightened, and you can forget a comb! It usually doesn’t happen.
I remember reading in passing several times about how if you blow out a dog with heavy undercoat before rinsing the hair will just fly out. I never really thought much about it, but apparently I filed it away to bring it out today. I know that using conditioner on matted dogs helps remove the mats easily
and painlessly and using the recirculating bather makes it easier to apply the conditioner, so I guess I should have known this made sense. I just don’t do this type of dog, or for that matter, bathe my own dogs that often, so I never tried it.
Generally my technique would be to bathe the dog, blow them out and apply dematting sprays then dry some more, pull out the dog and brush the mats and undercoat out. I will hurt for days, which is one reason I don't groom these guys. They take too long for the money I can make in my town and they hurt
my body as well.
So, I get started on him since I have to bathe him myself. I pulled out my recirculator and bathed him with Double K Grimenator shampoo. He was really clean to begin with, so I was able to get him bathed in about 10 minutes. My tub is not set up for this machine, and it takes about 5 gallons of water to make
the system work well. That is why we use the Prima system generally, reserving the recirculator for really dirty dogs and large hairy ones.
I decided to use my favorite conditioner in the recirculator, as you have all suggested, and used 2 ounces in my water then ran it over him for 5 minutes. The conditioner I used is Stazko and is not available any longer, but any good dematting conditioner, like Best Shot or whatever you like best, will work just as well. While I was running the conditioner over him, I was using my fingers to comb through the coat. I noticed that the thick undercoat was falling out in my hands, in big chunks. HMMMMM
“Maybe these guys are onto something” I thought.
My bather was in awe, saying over and over again, “WOW!”
When I was done applying the conditioner to the dogs coat the tub was so full of hair the pump was not running really well. There was a lot of hair on the bottom of the pump, but since I was done, it was no big deal. I then pulled out the K9III and my concentrator nozzle and went to work blowing out the undercoat WITHOUT rinsing the dog. The hair was flying. The tub surround was catching most
of the hair, helping eliminate the mess that usually happens with these dogs as well.
Then, using an Oster Metal Poodle Comb I was able to start combing through the thicker areas while I worked with the force dryer. I handed the dryer to my bather and he did that part while I held the dog and combed. His tail, which was one big mat (he hates it touched by anyone), was dematted and
deshedded in less than 3 minutes. I was smiling and almost doing a happy dance. I had him hooked up to the furthest eyebolt in my tub and just held on and let him pitch a fit. He couldn’t get to me so his singing and pulling was fine. Funny, the whole neighborhood probably thought he was dying, but the tail and the rear britches got totally brushed out and he gave up fighting shortly after we started.
Now, you may be thinking, “When is she going to rinse the conditioner off the dog?” The answer is: I didn’t. Using that small of an amount of conditioner in the water (5 Gallons in my tub), applied to the dogs coat, doesn’t really deposit a lot of conditioner onto the coat, only a small amount of the two
ounces is actually in the coat. The rest is in the water, draining out with the water. It is no different than using a spray on detangler, which I did not have to do having used it in the water with the recirculator. nWith the small amount deposited I was amazed it worked so well!
After he was blown out pretty well I put him in a cage with my Sahara Dryer blowing on him for about an hour. Took him out, put him on my table using two arms, a Groomer’s Helper and rear and front loops. All I had to do was run a brush across him, comb through and then scissor pads, feet, underline, britches
and call his dad.
All said, not counting cage time, he took me 10 minutes to wash and rinse (the recirculator makes rinsing a breeze!), 5 minutes to condition, about 20 minutes of HV dryer work and then 10 minutes on the table for finish work. 45 minutes total of hands on work that would have taken me normally 90 minutes to do. I cut my time in half and I am not worn out or hurting in any way and neither is Nakai.
I was thrilled to death with the results and cannot wait for the next heavily undercoated dog to come in to try this on again. The only thing is, it will likely be a Pomeranian. They are really the only undercoated dogs I see routinely. It will be fun to see how much time we can shave off of my favorite Pomeranian, Ginger’s, bi-weekly groom doing her this way.
I thank each and every one of you who recommended this technique and am glad to share it with anyone who had never heard of it before. I wish I had paid closer attention when I heard this back when I was grooming this type of dog more frequently. It might help me accept this type of dogs more often. But I