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Schnauzer Grooming: A Perfect Groomer

 

By the time you acquire your Schnauzer puppy from a breeder, he or she should already have some experienced being groomed. And if the ears are cropped, he should have recovered before you take him home. Your Schnauzer's breeder should be able to provide you with a multitude of instructions and information about basic grooming.

In either case, the grooming process should begin immediately after you take your puppy home. Proper training during puppyhood can make a great impact on how he behaves in bathtimes when he grows up. An easily managed puppy will leave you both hands for the grooming job, while the wiggly ones will get both your hands all tied up doing nothing but holding him still. Be kind, but firm. Keep the sessions brief in the beginning, for about 5 to 10 minutes, follow with some reward, like his favorite tidbit or a brisk walk. There is much to be learned by you and your puppy during these first few months.

Tools
Trimming Nails
Brushing
Bathing & Drying

Tools

Whether you intend to groom your Schnauzer for the show ring or not, some basic tools are required to help you groom your Schnauzer at home. The quality of the tools and equipment is directly reflected in the price tag but it is worth it. Consider the tools to be a life time investment. Cheap tools just couldn't do their job as effectively as it should be and deteriorate incredibly quickly. They would probably ruin the grooming experience for both you and your Schnauzer.

Good quality grooming tools may not be as readily available on the market. But you should be able to find good sources of grooming tools and equipment from some of those online catalogs or by attending one of those AKC dog shows where sales booths usually have grooming tools available (but usually at a more premium price).

Combs Pin brushYou will need a Greyhound style combination comb which combines 2 different teeth spacing. Comb with finely spaced and medium spaced teeth may be used but medium spaced and coarsely spaced teeth is better for the furnishings. The sharp points can go through leg and face hair without tearing it.
Brushes

Pin brushYou will need two brushes – a wooden or rubber-backed pin brush and a slicker brush.  The pin brush is for general use and is excellent for daily brushing and removal of a minimum of undercoat.   The most popular one is Safari #442. 

Slicker brushA slicker brush has small sharp metal pins that are bent at the ends.  It gives a thorough brushing for the undercoat, the leg hair and face furnishings. 

Nail Clippers

"Guillotine" style nail clippersThe most suitable type of nail clipper is the “Guillotine” style, with Resco clippers being the most popular.

"Scissors" type nail clippersThe scissor type nail clippers can also be used.

having the grooming styptic powder ready is a safe measure in case the nail quick is cut and bleeds.

It is also useful to use a small metal nail file to soften the edges right after clipping and between clippings.

Scissors

Straight trimming scissorsYou will need two pairs of scissors – straight-edged barber scissors for straight trimming, and thinning scissors (shears). The straight trimming scissors are at least 3-inch long with snub-nosed for safety concerns. 

Thinning shearsThe thinning scissors can be single or double serrated.  Skipper “double duck” is an excellent choice, having 3-inch blades with 30 teeth on each blade.  Carbon steel is preferred to stainless steel as they work better on Schnauzer’s hair and retain their sharpness longer.  These tools are the key to professional grooming and high quality tools are always worth the money as they do not wear out as quickly as the cheaper options. 

Clippers

Oster A5 clippersThere are a variety of clippers in terms of styles and price level on the market, but like a good quality pair of scissors, the quality of a clipper should not be compromised by its price.  The Oster A5 or the Andis AG electric clippers are the more popular, high quality options. 

Oster clipper bladesThey have detachable blades where you can always swap with a #8 or #10 blade for body trimming, and a #15 blade for the areas where hair is meant to be kept short e.g. throat and belly.  The size of the blade indicates the closeness of the cut.  The higher the number, the closer the cut.  Keep the clippers well oiled before using them as this will help prevent the blades from getting hot and hurt your Schnauzer.

Stripping Knives McClellan stripping knifeThese are optional if you are not grooming your Schnauzer for shows. Two stripping knives will be needed.  One should be a coarse or medium-size knife with 12 to 18 teeth for the body work.  A fine stripper with 20 to 30 teeth is needed for areas where short hair should be kept e.g. the head, ears, and chest.  MacKnyfe, McClellan and Pearson are the most common and good knives in fine, medium and coarse grades.
Grooming Table

Grooming tableThis is probably the most expense tool but proven to be an invaluable item especially if you are grooming your Schnauzer for the show ring.  A grooming table, a post and a noose come into a set.

These tools help you keep your Schnauzer steady while grooming. The post attaches to the table on one end while the noose hangs from the top end of the post. The arm should be set at a comfortable height for your Schnauzer. The noose secures round your Schnauzer’s neck like a collar but make sure that it doesn’t get too loose or too tight. The table top should be adjusted to the height comfortable to you, the groomer.  It is also a great opportunity to train your Schnauzer to be patient and stand still on the table while he is being groomed.

Other Supplies High quality canine shampoo, preferably an all-natural product, a natural or cellulose sponge, cotton balls, gentle spray hose or plastic pan for rinsing, non-skid surface or rubber mat on the bath tub and clean towels... are all essential parts of your Schnauzer grooming kit.

 

Trimming Nails

If you are new to pet grooming, the best approach to trim your Schnauzer’s nail is to cut one small sliver of nail at a time using a pair of nail clippers until a black circle appears in the center of the nail.  This is the edge of the quick or blood vessel in the nail bed.  It happens when inexperienced groomers cut the nail too short and causes bleeding.  An alternative would be the use of a nail grinder instead of clippers. It is not an essential part of the grooming kit, but it's definitely more effective - it grinds your Schnauzer's nails rather than cutting them. So you don't have to worry about cutting too much and causing bleeding, and it's a less stressful experience to your Schnauzer too.

Dremel nail grinderThe most common brands of nail grinders are Dremel and Oster, both with a rough sandpaper barrel type attachment.  The best model for the Miniature Schnauzers or Standard Schnauzers is one that is operated on battery.  The electric model is a higher speed option designed for bigger dogs, so it is best used for Giant Schnauzers.  One thing to note is that the hair can be caught on the spinning tool shaft if you are not careful.  Use Styptic Powder when bleeding occurs. The grinder may also be used between nail clippings.

Some dogs can get very upset at being nail trimmed especially those whose paws are not frequently touched by his owner.It is a good idea to get your dog used to having her feet touched before you attempt a nail trim. Rub your hand up and down her leg and then gently press each individual toe - and be sure to give her lots of praise and perhaps some treats as you do this. Every animal is different, but chances are that within a week or two of daily foot massage, your dog will be better able to tolerate a trim.

Brushing

Brushing your Schnauzer out to detangle any knots in the furnishings is necessary before bathing and clipping, if not the knots will get larger with bathing. This brushing step cannot be skipped. 

Use the pin brush to brush the beard, legs and underskirt and brush upward or in opposite direction to the natural lay of the hair, starting at the top of the legs and proceed downward as you are brushing.  This is called “line brushing” and it will help ensure that the furnishings are fully brushed out. 

After brushing, comb through the furnishings to make sure all the knots are out and when you do come across one, don’t force it but press your hand between the mat and the skin to cushion the force of pulling while you comb.  Make sure you also comb the underarms and in between the toes where knots are commonly found.  The thicker the coat your Schnauzer has, the more brushing and maintenance are required.  Use a slicker brush if your Schnauzer has dense furnishings. 

In addition to the brushing before bathtimes, brushing your Schnauzer is required at least once a week to keep mats of hair from forming.

Bathing & Drying

Your Schnauzer should not be bathed to frequently.  Some experts suggest that dogs should not be bathed more than once a month as bathing the dogs too often can dry out the skin. Because of the double coat, Schnauzers have hair mats formed easily, which can also trap moisture and dandruff, causing skin irritation and infections. It is acceptable to bathe a Schnauzer once every two weeks, but depending on how dirty your Schnauzer gets, in any case, he should not be bathed more than once a week.  

Use warm water and avoid getting the water and shampoo in his ears, eyes, mouth and nose when bathing your Schnauzer.  Some people stick cotton balls in the dogs’ ears to prevent water from getting into the ear canal. 

To rinse the beard, point the sprayer away from the dogs head and direct the stream down the beard.  When washing the top of the head, lift the head up and direct the sprayer toward the back of the dog.  To wet the belly, lift the dog up by the front legs and let him put his weight on the rear legs.  Any good quality shampoo should work sufficiently. 

Dilute the shampoo with lukewarm water according to the instruction label.  A general rule of thumb is to dilute at least 1 part of shampoo to 3 parts of water.  Apply the diluted shampoo to the beard and furnishings using a squeezing motion or by using a natural sponge rather than rubbing it into the beard and legs or this will cause tangles.  Don’t forget the areas between the toes.  Give your Schnauzer a thorough rinse after the shampoo is applied.  Traces of shampoo left behind can cause dry and flaky skin or even skin problems. 

Blot dry your Schnauzer with a towel as soon as bathing is done.  Squeeze out excess water in the furnishings rather than rubbing or knots and tangles will be formed.  Brush the beard and eyebrows down and the legs up, starting with the pin brush and switch to the slicker brush when the leg is almost dry.  Using the slicker brush while the hair is still wet tend to rip out the hair.  The secret to fluffy and straight leg furnishings is to make sure that the leg furnishings are blown out straight and completely dry.

 

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