Thursday, September 15, 2016

Grooming My Schnauzers - Part 1

First, I want to say that I have the most awesome groomer.  She has groomed my dogs for about 10 years. Since I have taken four of mine to her since they were young pups, she has acclimated them to grooming very well. They all love to go there and she does a great job with them. 

However, in a couple of years, my husband and I plan to travel extensively in our motorhome.  I realized I would need to be able to groom my dogs myself.  No way would I take them to a strange groomer. I have heard too many horror stories to put my fur children in some stranger's hands.

I still take my dogs to their normal groomer every three months or so just to be sure everything is taken care of. My wonderful groomer has actually let me observe her a couple of times and is always giving me great tips. She understands why I am trying to learn grooming and shares all kinds of great tips with me.

When I first started thinking about grooming my own schnauzers, I searched the internet for videos and blogs. I bought books and searched Pinterest for hours.  There is a lot of information out there and it takes a lot of time to pull it all together. I thought I would give you a summary of what I have learned. 

Keep in mind I am not a professional - not even close.  But I think I do a pretty decent job at keeping them clean and neat. It takes a lot of practice and my dogs don't seem to mind at all if they are not perfect. It gives them one on one time with mom and they seem to enjoy that. With five of them, one on one time is pretty rare.

Treats & Kind Words

Attitude. If I am not having a good day, am tired or just plain not in the mood, I have learned not to even attempt grooming.  I promise you it won't go well. Your dogs sense when you are not at your best and they react accordingly. You don't have to keep a steady stream of conversation going, but an occasional, "great job!" or "you are so pretty" goes a long way. I have found when doing the difficult parts like nail trimming, treats are invaluable. Just a tiny, tiny piece of treat keeps them interested in pleasing you. I have been known to award a treat for each nail. These are the nail trimmers my vet's office uses and recommends.

Brush Out

I do a complete brush and comb out before bathing my dogs. If you bathe with knots and matts in their fur, they just get worse. They will tighten up more and be painful for your dog. I use a fine tooth metal comb to do a final comb through to be sure I got all tangles out.  I may do a little preliminary scissor work at this time such as trimming the hair close to their eyes. These little ball tipped scissors are great for working close to their eyes.


None of my dogs mind getting a bath but a couple will object if you get water in their face. I haven't found a way to wash their face without getting water in it but I try to keep that to a minimum. Once you get a drop on their face, their only goal is to climb up the side of the tub. It then becomes a battle of wills to get them finished up. I now use a washcloth to wet their face, put a little shampoo on, then wait until last thing to give them a good face rinse.

I get them good and bubbly by using a bath net sponge.  I use a good quality shampoo with as few ingredients as possible. I have to use a medicated shampoo on Carly because she is prone to schnauzer bumps. Before they get out of the tub, I put a little ear cleaner in their ears, rub it around and stand back.  They always give a good shake after liquid goes in their ears. This dries up any moisture from the bath and keeps their ears healthy and smelling great. (I use Vetoquinol Care Ear Cleansing Solution as recommended by my groomer.) I pat towel dry them to avoid knots, then use a diffuser on my hair dryer to get them 95% dry. 

My dogs generally get a bath about once every three weeks or so unless they have gotten into something. Carly gets a bath at least once a week to hold off the schnauzer bumps.

I learned a majority of what I know about grooming schnauzers from "Schnauzer Mom" on YouTube.  She states that she is not a professional, but I will tell you she is awesome and a great teacher. She posted a series of videos that gives you a great deal of information.  

Here is a link to her videos:

Schnauzer Mom: Grooming Your Schnauzer

To be continued....

Abby has a slightly obsessive personality. Here she is being a little crazy playing ball:

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