As Wiley goes everywhere with me including shopping centers, cafes, restaurants and on public transport it is really important that I make sure he is always meticulously groomed. This is a responsibilitiy a handler needs to take seriously and is covered as part of the team training.
I find it much easier to groom Wiley, a short haired lab rather than Khan who was a Golden retriever. Our grooming sessions generally only last 5-10 minutes. I brush Wiley twice a day, sometimes three times a day if he seems to be shedding a lot.
I start by using a zoom groom, this seems to remove most of the dead, corse hair, (As someone who had alpacas and llamas this feels like it would have a high micron and be like guard hair).
Then I use a soft bristle brush and finish off with a comb. I am amazed at just how much hair I get off him each time I groom him, not to mention the hair I remove from my vacuum cleaner each day. I often wonder why he isn’t bald.
Along with his regular brushing Wiley also gets frequent hydro baths, this gives him a really through clean and the blow dry does a great job of blowing out most of the dead hair.
Yesterday was hydro bath day for Wiley. I have a great dog savvy guy come round with his mobile dog wash. This is not only convenient but also by always having the same person wash him I know they will pick up any changes in coat, skin etc. It is very reassuring having a sighted person who knows Wiley to give him the once over on a regular basis.
I love my mobile groomer – as well as giving Wiley a nice warm bath and blow dry he will check ears, eyes and toenails. Not to mention the shampoo he uses makes Wiley smell lovely (that is my opinion not Wiley’s :))
Wiley isn’t terribly keen on his baths, and seems to like the blow drying even less but he is a good boy and tolerates it. It helps that he knows there is a tasty treat waiting for him at the end. The only people I let feed Wiley a treat is the vet and groomer as I want him to like them even if they do things to him he doesn’t much enjoy.
After his bath Wiley runs like a mad thing around the house with me trying to chase him to make a game out of it. Once the silliness has passed I clip his ears together – the vet recommended I do this to help prevent ear infections. Wiley doesn’t seem to mind, probably because he is given a long lasting chew to entertain him while his ears dry.
Bath days are not my favorite time but I really like the soft, pretty smelling dog that I have at the end of it.