Quick Setting Beard Length

Super quick tip to set in the length of beard hair on the lower jaw. 

Choosing the correctly proportionate length for this in comparison to overall style will help you frame the face, keep the head in total proportion for balance and symmetry, add length & gracefulness to the neck on certain breeds, and keep their beard a little cleaner between visits. 😉

 

#themindfulgroomer

 

 


Groomer Tip! When Clippered Coats Go Bad

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MANY groomers ask me why terrier or terrier mix breeds become fine and lackluster in color as they grow out from clippering. 

 

Well......🤔🤓

 

Harsh guard coat that is actively growing has the highest concentration of pigment deposit. 

The more harsh the texture, the more pigment will reside within the hair shaft.

Melanin (pigment) granules reside deep in the hair shaft along the cortex and beneath the cortical fibrils.

Hair in a resting phase will not be as harshly textured or deeply pigmented as a actively (anagen) phase hair.

 

When you clip hair off above the skin, that only removes the length of coat which is visible to us.

What’s still seated in the hair follicle cup is the remaining length of the hair shaft. 

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As the hair moves into a resting (catagen) phase, the pigment is lessened drastically as is the thickness and texture because the hair is no longer actively growing. 

As this hair is slowly pushed up in the follicle cup it will be fine (having a thinner and more porous cuticle), be poorly colored (lackluster), and usually doesn’t reflect light very well or have gloss/shine.

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As well, repeated clippering of haircoat from long to short also sit in the stratum corny him layer of skin. Thicker skin produces finer/thinner hair.

And as a final consideration, dogs of the Terrier class cycle through coat differently than any other breed class. They do not produce actively growing hair from deeper within the follicle until the resting or dormant phases are adequately removed.

There are a few more facets of this considering hormone/endocrine changes, underlying medical conditions, side effects from medications, the dog’s overall health and being able to maintain core temperature & skin oil/moisture levels, secondary microflora imbalances of the skin’s microbiome, etc. 

But, to get from point A to point B this is the simplest route of general insight into this phenomenon.


Contour Trim on a Double Coat

A double feature this week on contour trimming double and triple (Nordic and Primitive breeds like Spitz, Pom, Nordic Working breeds, Chow, Collie, Sheltie, etc, etc.) coated breeds, and why it’s so important to *treat the whole coat* of these dogs first before taking off any length.

I do understand that perhaps some breeders of these breeds or purists who believe trimming of feathering is a sacrilege, may be triggered by this post. 

In the reality of pet dogs going into a pet grooming salon there are times when functionality in a family environment necessitates shorter trimming of coat. As long as the dog’s overall health is not threatened, I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with a tailored trim, and knowing how to accomplish it effectively is important for pet groomers to know.

 

 

 

#themindfulgroomer


Bathing & Intro to the Role of Water

A brief demo of my typical bathing method on non-symptomatic skin and coat, and a simplified explanation of the role of water in the bathing process.

 

** Always follow your bathing with a conditioner to replace sebum removed by your cleanser. **

Stick to a separate two step process- combining shampoo & conditioner together cancels out the full ability of either product.

 

-Much generalized itching for dogs is simply lack of adequate skin moisture and dead coat removal. 

 

~Thanks to Mikah for being patient while I squawked on & on. 😣 Next time I will wait to put the dog in the tub before I start recording so they don’t have to wait. 😕

~~~~

Reminder NOT to apply a harsh shampoo (clarifying, or whitening) to dry coat as it can be a little too overly stripping and the water will act as a buffer.

For most containing shampoos including protein shampoos, dry coat application is beneficial. 

 

Whitening shampoos applied to dry coat, depending on formulation (is it an optical brightener or true stain lifter?) can deposit blueing agents into the hair cortex resulting in major staining.
#themindfulgroomer




Burrs, Coat Damage and Oral Glositis

Burr season is well underway here in Wisconsin. 

Cockleburrs have their own difficulties for groomers as well as the dogs they get stuck in. 

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So do those tiny round little  stick tights. 

 

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But THESE awful little SANDBURRS are a special kind of evil.

 

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~Nothing like scrubbing through the coat in the tub and finding one of these with the tip of your finger.

😫😩😢

 

Remember also that anytime you find burrs on a dog, I would recommend inspecting the mouth and tongue to be sure they haven’t partially ingested any or have anything irritated inside their mouth or on their tongue.  

It very commonly happens that if they do pull any off during self grooming, the barbs of these can break off in the tongue and mouth and cause blister like lesions.

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Here’s an article on more information about burrs & glossitis, as well as oral inflammatory & ulcer disease:

https://www.askjpc.org/wsco/wsc_showcase2.php?id=VGExeXcrWmFTM09oUjQ5Rmlvdkt5Zz09

 

Obviously we don’t want to be diagnosing because there are also other serious genetic diseases that can cause ulcers in the mouth similar to those exhibited from burrs. 

But it is very important if you find anything that you alert any owner at that point.

 

Know also that removing burrs in the coat can commonly cause breakage. 

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I have found that removing burrs from the coat while it is covered with shampoo or conditioner in the tub, or simply blowing them out with a blow dryer and some coat spray containing silicones, is far more effective and less taxing on your workload, the dog’s tug tolerance, and the damaging effects to the coat.

 

#themindfulgroomer


2020 Pet Stylist Invitational!!

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This year our trade show has gone fully virtual!

This learning summit offers 2 full days, 16 hours total, of educational classes on Friday, October 17, and Saturday, October 18th, and a full day of livestream grooming competitions  Monday, October 19th, judged by our industry great: Michell Evans!!

There’ll be shopping discount opportunities all weekend long to stock up on supplies before our holiday rush!

Enjoy this final opportunity of the year to invest in yourself and your business all three days for only $99!!

You can register here:https://finer-details-pet-spa.square.site/product/pet-stylist-invitational-registration/64?cs=true

 


Hand and Paw

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Certain breeds of dogs like golden retrievers, boxers, and shepherds more commonly use their front paws throughout play & interaction.

When a dog reaches out for you before, during, or after the grooming process, that is a way of them communicating to you. 

They are seeking connection, reassurance and acknowledgement. 

 

Sometimes they are happy and want affirmation for how good they are. 

Sometimes they’re scared and anxious and reaching out becomes a coping mechanism.

 

No matter the reason, it is an incredible moment of humble vulnerability, and a chance to really connect with them. 

 

If you can take just a moment to stop what you’re doing and take their paw and hold it gently; maybe give it a rub or a shake and tell them in a gentle sweet voice that they are a good boy or another gesture of connection, you will strengthen your bond with that dog. 

 

Stronger bonds build more trust. 

More trust builds better dogs for their grooming visits.

#themindfulgroomer


The Role of Water In Canine Skin & Coat Health

The Role of Water In Canine Skin & Coat Health

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Water is a fundamental facet of the grooming process, and yet it is commonly overlooked for its value and effectiveness to gently cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize the skin and hair coat. Water is expressly important to the overall health and vitality of not just the inside of all living beings, but to the outside as well. Water is in its simplest form- the most natural and safest vehicle for removal of pathogens and debris from the canine coat and the best source for adding moisture to the canine skin. Without considering the role of water aside from mechanically removing shampoo and dirt from the coat, we would come up short of really understanding and utilizing our options for caring for the very foundation on which we lay our grooming skills much as a painter does upon canvas.

Water Chemistry

Contrary to popular belief, water is not pure. Unless a salon has a large filtration system in place, the water coming from the shower heads, going into shampoo and topical dilution bottles, and going onto the skin of each pet which you bathe, all contains microorganisms and trace elements. Environmental changes such as heavy rains, drought, and changes in water table tapping can all affect the makeup of water from your pipes. The pipes themselves add certain elements to the water before we even add anything else to it.

Trace elements, chemicals and microorganisms within water used during the bath are deposited on the skin and coat and can superficially permeate the skin as well. The content of your water will affect what and how the skin absorbs, and it will also affect the actual content and ability of your topicals to perform their manufactured purpose. Keep in mind that you may find that your shampoo dilution rate may change, and the outcome of the coat may change as well depending on your water chemistry. Softened water will yield most usually an optimal performance of most any shampoo or topical when compared to well or city water from a tap which may be hard or contain trace elements.

It should be mentioned that with regard to cleaning and sanitizing both your shampoo dilution bottles, mixing bottles and your entire shampoo or hydro-dilution system, that the importance of proper sanitizing is paramount. Anaerobic and aerobic bacteria grows both in diluted shampoo as it sits, and on the inside of all bottles, hoses and fittings through which water and shampoo passes. Shampoo, conditioner and other liquid topicals are a feedstock for secondary bacteria to utilize. Once water is added to any bottled shampoo or liquid concentrate, the product’s storage and shelf life becomes quite short-(breaking the seal may also shorten shelf life, but not as directly as when water is added). These bacteria can quickly and aggressively populate the surface of such areas and grow into various molds, fungus and secondary bacteria colonies as well. This petrie dish environment is where skin infections like furunculosis begin.

Thereby, with diligent attention to cleanliness, we can avoid this possibility, get the most from our products, and have the best result upon the canine coat.

Water Temperature

The temperature of water will not only affect the comfort of a pet, but it will also affect the skin’s absorption and moisturizing ability.
As well, it is simple sense that warmer water used in the shampooing process (using warm water to dilute your shampoo for application upon the coat) helps to beef up the cleansing ability of your surfactant formula by helping to liquefy congealed sebum build up and oil based dirt on the hair shaft and skin.
One should utilize a variety of temperature settings for any given pet client per their needs, but overall, the bathing water for a pet with no open sores or medical issues should always be tepid-warm. Water that is too hot is severely irritating and drying to the skin, and will cause heat stress reaction in most pets (listlessness, swaying, unsteadiness and drowsy expression). With the bath water being the most warm, the subsequent rinses should be progressively cooler in temperature. Meaning that the rinse after your shampoo should be cooler than the water used to wet the coat or apply your shampoo, and the water used to rinse conditioners from the coat should be the coolest. Water that feels warm enough upon your skin for you to bath in is far too warm for a canine. Water that is quite warm should never be applied to open, irritated or aggravated skin as it will be painful and likely worsen the symptoms due to damaged or sensitized epidermal nerve endings.

With reference to changing the water temperature while treating skin symptoms, the reason for this is that different temperatures possess different abilities or benefits upon the skin.

This temperature change process is to use warmth to both dilate or open the follicles or pores, and increase circulation and plump up the skin; thereby more easily releasing lodged sebum and oil based dirt on the skin and hair shaft surface. Warm water also helps swell and lift built up dead skin cells of the stratum corneum and aids dead hair up and out from the dilated follicle cup, and to help lift the hair cuticle depending solely on topical pH levels.

To use cool temperature upon the skin is to help constrict blood vessels and capillaries and tighten the skin, to seal moisture within the skin, and to help seal active ingredients upon hair shaft as well. Cooler water being used as your final rinse also calms epidermal nerve endings which can help alleviate generalized itching. Also, cooler water helps to congeal skin oil and set the topical coat conditioners upon the skin.

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Soaks and Wraps

When doing soaks to soften layers of buildup, it is best to do these soaks warm- depending on the pet’s needs and age (older or ill dogs as well as pregnant or nursing females should not be allowed to have an elevated core temperature) so that the pet does not become chilled. When applying an oil treatment, it is also recommended to use a very warm rinse to keep the skin open before applying the oil and a warm towel wrap for maximum absorption.

Always stay tub-side and monitor the pet during the duration of any soak or wrap to be sure that they remain alert and do not slip or injure themselves just as you would during the bath.

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Pressure and Flow

Since within many coat types the hair grows at an oblique or slanting angle to the skin, we should note that the direction of the water flow, coupled with the amount of pressure of that flow against the skin, can alter the lay of the coat and apply pressure to the arrector pili muscle and phylosebacous unit in general. One should rinse water through the coat in the direction that you wish for the coat to lay and in fact this will help you with training and setting the lay of coat. Drop coated dogs can be rinsed with the lay of coat even though they typically have a more lax arrector pili reaction. Furnished dogs can be rinsed with the growth of coat on the jacket, and against the coat growth on the furnishings. Stand up coats can be rinsed against the growth of coat. For double coated dogs, rinsing with the growth of coat but using an elevated water pressure will help to lift up and out dead packed coat if the skin beneath is healthy.

The pressure of the water can be both abrasive and damaging to irritated skin and brittle coat if set too high. One should use less pressure and higher volume of water when rinsing through the coat. Squeezing the hair with the shower spray held closely to the coat is safest, with minimal aggressive rubbing since hair is most vulnerable when it is wet and elastic. As well, pressure that is set too high will not only irritate the skin, but could also press pathogens more deeply into the hair follicle causing possible reactions.

 

In close, remember that water is an effective and incredibly gentle tool for canine skin and coat health and helping to ease the mechanical facet of the grooming process. Let water pressure and flow be one of the tools you have at your disposal to more easily do your job and optimize skin & coat health.


Face Sensitive Dogs

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About dogs who turn their head and press their face into the clipper as you come up to trim their facial hair:

They are not trying to be difficult.

This is very much a coping mechanism. 

It is a way for them to be anticipatory of what your next move or requirement is of them and to accommodate you.❤️

This likely causes them a bit of overwhelm due to sensory overload.

Take a second and think about that large buzzing tool coming straight at their eyes and pressing against their face. 

Try it on yourself!😉

They are doing the best they can to try to do what you want and get through something that’s making them nervous or uncomfortable.

Please do not get angry at them.

Instead, perhaps take just a mindful moment of compassion and consider coming at this from a different angle literally. It will likely help them cope a lot better and keep you both safe.

Thank you.