Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to Groom a Shetland Sheepdog: Grooming Helps with Shedding in Shelties

Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, are beautiful full coated dogs and easy to groom if you keep up on it daily. Here are step by step instructions for daily grooming and for performing a full groom on a Sheltie dog.

Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, have a beautiful fluffy double coat. Grooming a Sheltie is relatively easy since there is very little clipping to do. The biggest drawback for the Sheltie owner is the amount of hair floating around the house. Daily grooming, with a full groom every three months or so, greatly reduces shedding.
 Grooming Tools:

Pin brush, slicker brush, shedding comb, mat rake or breaker, toenail trimmers, ear cleaner, shampoo, conditioner, cotton balls, styptic powder, thinning shears, grooming scissors, towels and a blow dryer

(optional) dog grooming clippers and a #10 blade

Daily Grooming for Sheltie Owners

1. Using the pin brush, go over the dog's entire coat. Use the slicker brush and mat breaking tool as needed. Use the shedding comb to remove loose hair. Pay special attention to the small mats that form in the soft fur behind the base of the ear on Shetland Sheepdogs. Use thinning shears to remove any mats that form and blend the hair back into the neck.

Concentrate the shedding comb over the dog's hips and rear end, including the top of the tail. Use short upward strokes with the shedding comb to remove the most hair. Look for any parasites and treat immediately. Notify your veterinarian of any skin abnormalities.

2. Clean under the dog's tail. Lift the tail and make sure no hair is blocking the anus. Remove any fecal matter with a wet paper towel. Comb the tail completely though. Hold the top of the tail and brush downward.

3. Comb the hair between the pads of the feet and trim with scissors to even with the pads. Check the pads for any damage or injuries and report them to your veterinarian.

4. Brush the Sheltie's teeth with a quality toothpaste made for dogs. Check for any tarter build up and sores and schedule a dental visit with your veterinarian as needed.

5. Check the Sheltie's ears for dirt and parasites. Clean with a cotton ball dampened with ear cleaner as needed. Follow with a dry wipe of the ear with a clean cotton swab. Finish with a small amount of medicated ear powder if needed.

Full Grooming for a Sheltie
(Done every three months or as needed)

1. Complete steps one through four above. Remove as much hair as possible before getting the dog wet. Remove all mats before bathing. Use the grooming scissors to remove any hair near the anus. Shave away any hair growing closely to the anus, being careful not to let the blade touch the skin.

*Optional: Use a #10 blade on a clipper to remove the fur from the abdomen to the groin for easier cleaning and maintenance.

2. Trim the dog's toenails using heavy duty trimmers. Full instructions on how to trim a dog's nails can be found here. Turn each foot over and trim the fur between the pads to even with the pads. Remove any burs or dirt from between the pads. Use thinning shears to trim the fur between the toes on the top of the foot.

3. Dilute the shampoo and conditioner according to the instructions on the bottle. Use easy to read dilution bottles. Grab the towels and take the dog to the bathing area.

4. Bathe the Sheltie in a pH balanced shampoo. Lather the dog until all areas of the body are covered. Rinse the dog completely until the water runs clear. Add diluted conditioner to the dog's coat. Rub conditioner through entire coat, then rinse completely until water runs clear. Spray water in the opposite direction of hair growth to ensure all shampoos and conditioners are gone.

*Special trick: To stop the dog from shaking when wet, and soaking you, apply light but firm pressure to the back of the dog's neck when he starts to shake. The shake should immediately subside.

5. Towel dry the dog as much as possible. Encourage the dog to shake and help remove as much water as possible while in the tub. To encourage a shake, jump start it with a gentle side to side rub on the back of the dog's neck. This usually stimulates a wet dog to shake it off.

6. Use a blow dryer or a cage dryer to dry the dog until he is just damp. Finish drying the Sheltie on the grooming table with a blow dryer and pin brush. Fluff the dog with the brush to help dry faster. Do not over dry the Sheltie's coat.

7. Use the shedding comb to remove any loose hair still on the Sheltie. Concentrate on the rear hip area and the tail. Use a short upward motion to easily lift the thick fur and get to the undercoat.

8. Comb through the tail completely. Hold the tip of the tail straight out and slightly up and comb the fur straight down. Trim any stray hairs to make a clean look with a slight arch.

9. Comb through the feathers on the hocks (the closest area to the foot on the back of the leg). Trim the hair short with scissors or thinning shears.

10. Comb through the feathers on the legs and trim to desired length. Trim away any stray hairs for a clean shape.

11. Comb through the mane and remove any loose hair. With scissors facing downward, trim away any stray hairs. Use thinning shears as needed to shape the mane to the owner's taste.

12. Comb the fur straight down from the back of the Sheltie. Trim away any stray hairs for a clean appearance on the underbelly and between the legs. Blend any stray hairs on the coat with the thinning shears.

There are a lot of steps to grooming a Shetland Sheepdog, but that's because there is a lot of hair to deal with. We used to joke at the grooming shop that Shelties always lost weight after grooming.

Keeping up on daily grooming reduces shedding inside your home and promotes healthy skin for your dog. A well groomed Sheltie is one of the most beautiful dogs to behold.

Top Photo Credit: "ShetlandShpdogBlue2 wb". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

No comments:

Post a Comment