COAT UPKEEP AND MAINTENANCE OF DROP-COATED BREEDS
PART 2 OF 2
By Patricia H. Gilbert
Day of Show
You already have a clean and neatened up dog. I keep the boys' side and pee coat banded up and out of the way. The girls get the back inside of their thighs banded away from pee. If you don't band, use hair clips for exercise time.
Before you wet a coat, make sure you find an electrical outlet that works. If there is no electricity available, jump to the brushing section and forget the blow dryer.
Cleaning I check the coat to see where it needs cleaning. I use self rinse and dunk the cleaned coat in a dish of water for rinsing. I know it is self rinse but I find it leaves a sticky residue and wash it out when possible.
If my dog has stepped in something or the ground was wet with dew, I take a Rubbermaid container or dog dish, fill it with warm water, and sponge the dirty area down.
Then I blow dry the wet parts, starting with the show side. I always do the show side first in case you pop a circuit breaker and can't get it going again.
Brushing Once you have the cleaning done, lay your dog down and start brushing. I spritz each section with anti-stat and show spray. I go over the complete dog in my brushing technique to check for tangles. Then I stand the dog up and spritz again straightening the hair with a dryer. Your coat should drape beautifully at this point. I then take a wide toothed Greyhound comb and check again for any tangles.
Finishing Heads can be tricky. I leave them for last as it is the first thing a judge sees. I make certain that my ear coat and topknot are as straight as they can possibly be.
The bloodline and the dog's head will determine how I finish off the topknot. There used to be certain looks for each bloodline. It is much more homogenous now. I may use a little mousse for lift. I may use hairspray to set it in the position I want. I rarely part a topknot down the middle anymore. I love sweeps to the side and to the back. Sometimes I even add a lift at the backskull. I don't back comb and heavily spray although I have in the past. Hair fashions change. I am into a more natural windswept look at the moment.
What I always do whether it be outrageous or simple is make sure that what I accentuate is exceptional on the dog.
In the Ring I do carry a brush in the ring. I just top brush to get it to lay and drape. I often times just use the back of my hand to smooth out the coat after moving my dogs. I use the back of my hands because often your palms are dirty and there are always oils in your palms that make a dog look greasy very quickly. (Have you ever wondered why your dog's head is dirty and greasy faster?) I pay special attention to the withers. The hair is usually short and after moving can stand straight up giving the illusion of rough shoulders. I make sure the topknot is in the style I want it. I fan out the hair on the chest. I lean over and take the hair from the inside of the hocks and drape it over the outside to give the illusion of a nice wish bone rear. As I said, I am into a more natural windblown look these days. Your look is what you want to make it. It is a fashion. You can be classic or you can be outrageous.
Whatever you decide, make sure you practice "The Look" long before a show. Experiment. Have fun.