Essential Grooming Tools

Catherine de la Cruz

slickerbrush The slicker brush is the most important brush you will use. Used properly, it can get out pounds of loose undercoat. It can also be used for the finishing touchups going into the ring. It is worthwhile to get a good one that will last many years. I prefer one with a wooden handle and a metal head. The pins should be firmly set in good rubber backing.
The pinbrush is a "finishing" brush - best used after all the mats are out. Good for brushing out long-haired areas like the britch, mane and tail. When buying a pinbrush, try to push one of the pins into the rubber backing; if it goes, don't buy the brush. It should have padding under the rubber, not just air. pinbrushes
Mat Rakes The mat rake is very good for cutting through fresh mats, although extra work is needed with older mats that have been wet by rain or an unwise bath. It should always be held so that the blades are parallel to the hair, perpendicular to the skin. Don't twist the wrist when combing with this, or you can injure the dog - or yourself.
No grooming job is finished until you can run a comb through every inch of the dog's coat. My favorite comb for this - and other - jobs is the "Scotch Comb", available at livestock supply stores. The wooden handle makes it easy to hold on to, and gives enough grip to even use it on thick or shedding coat. scotchcomb
nailclipper Don't forget the nail clippers. These Millers' Forge © clippers are sized for larger dogs and are generally large enough to do the dew claws on Pyrs. As an alternative, you can grind the nails with a Dremel © grinder.
Once the grooming is done, there are dozens of shampoos that will get your dog clean. One of the most effective, and least expensive is Orvus © WA paste made by Proctor & Gamble. Of the class of cleaners known as anionic surfactants, it is unaffected by the hardness of water. Because it comes as a concentrated paste, a very little goes a long way. The plastic gallon jug of Orvus will last the single-dog owner for several years. It can be found at pet and livestock supply stores, usually for about $20 for the gallon. It contains no perfumes, colorants or additives of any sort and even dogs allergic to "regular" shampoos usually tolerate Orvus very well. Orvus