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  1. Dogs come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes, but as the weather is currently at its peak here in the UK, its worth knowing how often our dogs should visit the local grooming salon during the summer months. For dogs with thick or long coats it can get particularly uncomfortable for them during this period, so it’s important to take extra precautions with haircuts and grooming on a regular basis.

    Warm weather aside, dogs with particularly long, thick or wiry coats tend to pick up debris and dirt out on their walks. This can cause irritation as their coats matt and debris aggravates their skin. Moreover the last thing you want as an owner is a house full of leaves and mud after a long walk out in the fields! Because it’s difficult to know exactly when and how often you should be taking a trip to the doggy salon, we’ve complied this guide of expert advice and a few helpful tips on DIY dog grooming.

    The Longhaired Breeds

    A few common longhaired dog breeds include Setters, Afghan Hounds, Samoyeds, Border Collies, Leonbergers and Lhasa Apsos. These longer-haired dogs require much more regular care and maintenance in comparison with their shorthaired counterparts. This is especially true during their seasonal shed that happens twice a year, as longhaired dogs require daily brushing during this time. So if your dog has long hair you should implement the following doggy grooming routine…

    Before giving your dog a bath try and brush out any big tangles with a smooth brush, like the Ball Pin Slicker Brush, as these tangles can become worse during shampooing. Then, take a bristle brush and comb through to remove dead hair. This will save you a lot of mess after bath time and make the grooming process quicker! Next, get your dog in the bath and shampoo using a doggy shampoo appropriate for your dogs skin. Frontline Pet Care offers a great all round longhair shampoo, whilst Pet Head’s Life’s an Itch shampoo is great for dogs with dry or sensitive skin.

    After bathing, blow-dry your dogs coat with a human hairdryer to avoid tangling. If your dog has a long, parted coat, ensure that you part the coat along your dog’s spine. Once finished, use scissors to clip the hairs on your dog’s underside and paws. Finally, comb the hair on your dog’s ears, face and head using the bristle brush.

    To keep your dog’s coat at its finest and under control, longhaired dogs require daily brushing and grooming. You should also aim to bathe your longhaired dog once a week. Although this may sound like a hassle, it will save trouble in the long run by keeping on top of tangles!

    Final tip, NEVER shave double coated breeds such as the Great Pyrenees. You may think you’re doing them a favour by clipping down their long coat but in actual fact, it keeps them cooler throughout the warmer months. Just make sure that their coat is kept in immaculate condition so they can regulate their temperature correctly.

     The Wire-Haired Breeds

    Affenpinschers, Otterhounds and Scottish Terriers are some examples of dogs with wirehair coats. Whilst bristly wirehair dogs aren’t supposed to be as soft and silky as their longhaired friends, they do require a similar amount of grooming. Wirehair coats must be hand-plucked or stripped on a regular basis to prevent matting, something you will likely prefer to leave to a professional groomer. However if you’d prefer to go DIY on your dog, here are some tips:

    Use your fingers or a stripping knife, life the Pro Tech knife, to pluck out any hairs that look old or dull. This will encourage new, healthy hairs to grow. Although this process is time consuming, it will get your dog looking their best. If you have a small, excitable or easily distracted dog, it’s a great idea to invest in a dog-grooming harness. This will ensure that your dog doesn’t accidentally fall off the grooming table or wander away, making your job a whole lot easier!

    If you don’t have time to do the job all in one go you can roll the coat, which means plucking it a bit at a time or whenever you see a dead hair. To pluck the hair, pull the skin taut and grip a few hairs at a time, pull them down and out in the direction that the hair grows. If you struggle to get hold of the hair, try using a grooming powder like Groom Professional’s Ear Powder to help you grip. Wiry haired dogs should be bathed once every 12 weeks without conditioner and should be towel dried.

    The Smooth-Haired Breeds

    Generally speaking dogs with smooth coats tend to have short hair. This means they chill easily in cold weather but keep cooler during the summer months, so you don’t have to worry about overheating from lack of grooming. You also won't have to spend a lot of time pampering your smooth-coated pooch, as they require the least maintenance of all dog breeds. For the most part, you can get by with brushing your dog no more than a few times a week.

    Some groomers divide dogs with smooth coats into three categories: smooth coats, short coats and combination coats. Smooth coats include boxers, Dobermans and Pointers. Short-coated dogs include Labrador Retrievers, Beagles and Pugs, whilst Border Collies and Golden Retrievers tend to have short smooth coats on some parts of the body and longer coats on other parts, making them combination coats.

    Although smooth coats are relatively low maintenance they do tend to molt quite a lot, meaning that hairs can accumulate on clothes and furnishing. Despite this, smooth haired dogs are relatively clean and don’t really smell. Brush your smooth haired dog using a bristled brush, like the Pet Mate Fur Buster. This particular kind of dog needs to be bathed around once every 12 weeks, using a regular dog shampoo and conditioner. Towel dry as much as possible following their bath and finish up with a hairdryer.

    Medium-haired or Double Coated Dogs

    A good brush and an occasional trim will keep your medium-coat companion looking good. These dogs do have a bit more hair than their smooth-coated counterparts, but are still fairly low-maintenance. Dogs with medium coats are often northern breeds that have relatively short but thick hair, about an inch in length. Many of these medium-haired dogs have double coats, with short, soft hair close to the body and a longer exterior coat. This double layer helps the dog to regulate their body temperature, keeping cool in the heat or warm in the cold. German shepherds and Siberian huskies are two breeds with double coats.

    To keep your dog’s coat in good shape you will need a slicker brush and a molting comb such as Rosewood Salon’s. Use the slicker brush to comb the undercoat and overcoat. If the dog’s hair is long, separate it into sections with your hands and then brush through. This should begin to remove loose hairs and get rid of any tangles. If you are struggling with tangles, try using a conditioning spray like T.H.E Stuff. After you have brushed the coat, go over it with the molting comb, this is necessary to remove any remaining loose fur. To ensure that you keep your house hair free, it’s recommended that you bathe and groom your double-haired dog every 4-8 weeks, brushing and combing after each bath. Because the double-coated canines need a little extra TLC, it might be worth checking them in to the doggy salon every other grooming session to give yourself a break!

    Whether your dog is longhaired, shorthaired, wiry, double coated or smooth, it’s important that your pet gets the TLC they need. Keeping on top of grooming also means less hassle for you and your dog in the long run, as your house stays clean and your dog looks and smells great.

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    Well lets face it, this is a tuffie!

    I was bought up with dogs and cats in the house from a very early age and it was always the case that the dogs had their own beds and the cats were allowed on the furniture. I think that stemmed from my Dad, who was bought up in a military house, with a strict mother, who would never of dreamed of letting the dog on her sofa!

    So naturally when I moved out and got my own pets (and my sister is the same with her dogs), the dog had her own bed and the cats could go on the furniture (rule the roost!), as their way of getting away from a boistrous puppy. I also had young children, so it seemed logical.

    Rowan has never been a particularly cuddly dog and will give anyone that tries a gentle growl, even me if shes not in the mood! she has always "seemed" to like to get into her own bed in the evening and know that is where she wont get disturbed. However who knows she might of been completely different if we had let her up.

    There is a theory that dogs are pets and therefore should be treated as such, after all, it hasn't been that long since we actually invited them into our homes, in France it is still quite alien to have a dog in the house and its only the really pampered pooches that dont have to live in kennels outside. so for some people letting them on the furniture is a step too far.

    Since starting this business, I have done quite a few house sits now and more often than not, the dogs are allowed on the sofa (one of which Rowan gets to come too and she doesn't seem to be bothered when the other two dogs jump up and she has to stay in her bed, out of habit, sometimes its like musical beds, as the dogs have beds too and they are always swopping about to get comfy, even having a go in Rowans, when she is on theirs).  

    And actually I quite like it, when I get to snuggle with a dog (or I might just be missing my cats!) especially the smaller dogs (who dont squash you!), I have one that will sit next to me in the evening and I "tuft" the hair on the top of her head, until she falls down asleep on my chest in complete contentment! And I haven't done it yet but I'd love to do an evening sit with Harly and Marly the chihuahua's, so cute!  

    There is something about, sitting next to a dog in the evenings and just gently stroking them, which is really comforting for both dog and human.

    There is no right or wrong to this, its totally up to you, if you want to let your dogs on the furniture. Just bear in mind they will get hairy (so best to cover them in something when its just you, so you can whip it off when you have guests so they dont go away with a hairy bum!) and they might also be a good place for fleas and ticks to hide, so you will need to regularly clean and hoover down cracks.

    You do need to make sure allowing your dog on the furniture has some ground rules. They must know that it is a privilege for them to share your space, a reward for good behaviour, so they shouldn't really go up unless they have been invited.

    Its advised that you should keep puppies off the furniture for the first 6-12 months, until they get out of the destructive stage and they are properly house trained, it wont be very pleasant if you sit in a wet patch you didn't notice!  And older dogs being introduced to the house should be kept off for the first 3-6 months.  You want to raise a dog that knows furniture access can be taken away without causing emotional distress.

    I advise that your dog should always have their own bed as well, this gives them somewhere that is solely theirs (dont let children climb all over them when they are in their bed or crate), this should be their place, where they can "get away from it all".  And standing in a dogs bed to show your dominance is a myth.

    Teach your dog the "off" cue, so if you need them to get down, saying "off" will get them straight down without a stand off. And dont let them jump up without asking first. One of my sitting dogs will rest her head on the sofa, until you say she can get up. An alternative is to get them to sit first and then say "up".

    It is said that a benefit to letting your dogs on the furniture, is that you can give them a health check.  I do slightly argue with that, as it implies that Rowan never has any close contact with me, as she doesnt cuddle. When in fact, I will spend time with Rowan on the floor, every day, gettting up close and personal, checking her over, now she is getting older she has a few cystie lumps growing, so I like to keep an eye on them to make sure they are not getting too big too quickly and I will check her ears and eyes, running my hands over her entire body, checking for thorns, ticks and any cuts.  Rowan and I have a very close bond, to the point she is a leech! So I dont believe, not letting her on the sofa has effected our relationship in any way. I dont think I could be any closer to her!!

    It is totally not ok, to let your dogs on the furniture if they are showing any signs of possesiveness or aggression towards you when they are on the furniture. If they are going for you when you approach, this needs to be sorted and it would be advised to seek advise from a trainer or behaviourist.

    Enjoy your dogs, in what ever way you choose, its up to you!

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