Grooming your Aussie

        So you’ve got this adorable little fluffball. Now what?! Just in case you didn’t realize it, Aussies do need grooming. You can get your dog professionally groomed every 6-8 weeks, or you can groom at home. Here’s how you can manage your dogs’ coat at home.

        Regular brushing is important to good coat and skin health. Coat that is free of mats and impacted undercoat means that it can properly insulate the dog from heat and cold. Don’t believe the groomer that tells you to shave your healthy coated Aussie because they will be cooler for the summer months; they won’t! They will be at risk for sunburn at best, and heatstroke and death at worst. So, let’s talk about keeping that coat healthy.

What you need:

  • Slicker brush
  • Comb
  • Shampoo and conditioner of good quality (Kelco and Espree make a nice quality shampoo that is very affordable)
  • Straight scissors
  • Spray bottle
  • Nail clippers a/o dremel

        You can add to this list if you want. Often people that have more than one dog will invest in a grooming table, arm, and a dryer to blast out coat and quicken the drying process after a bath. They may also invest in good scissors and thinning shears as well, but those things aren’t a necessity.

        Begin with the bath. It’s helpful to have a longer hose on the shower attachment, and also to have an attachment that has multiple options for spray. Use warm water to soak down the dog, then apply the first round of shampoo (properly diluted) to the coat. Work it in, and leave it sit for the recommended amount of time. Then rinse; this rinse doesn’t need to be total, because you’re going to put another round of shampoo on. Repeat the shampoo and rinse process a second time, but this rinse needs to be more thorough. Next apply the conditioner (same idea, diluted and left on as per the recommendations on the bottle). Then rinse; this rinse has to be thorough. Any product left in the coat will cause the dog to itch, so if you have any doubt at all, keep rinsing.

        Now that you have a clean dog, you need to work at getting this dog dry. You can towel them off as much as possible and leave them to dry by themselves – where they WILL dry themselves on every absorbent surface you have! – or, if you have a dryer, you can blast them and be done in an hour. Even towelled off, it takes several hours (possibly overnight) for a coated dog to dry.

        So, you have a clean and dry dog. Now what? Now begins the brushing! Aussies do best with line-brushing. Never brush a dry coat; always spritz the coat with a bit of water, or a grooming spray – brushing dry is damaging to the coat. You’re going to start low at the back and work your way forward and up, lifting the coat and brushing it out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get all the way down to the skin – mats at the skin level cause infection and pain, and it’s not unheard of that a dog will have to have a limb amputated because of infection that has festered under mats. It’s a long process, but well worth it to keep the dog comfortable and the hair out of your house.

        In order for a dog’s paw pads to get a good grip on the floor, they must be able to make contact with said floor. Trim the hair on the bottom of the foot flush to the pads. This is also a good time to clip your dog’s nails, though nail care should be done 2-3 times per week. 

        Whether you choose to trim up the ears and toes and tail fur is up to you. These are tidy-ups that go better with thinning shears, so that may have some influence on your decision

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This was Will after a quick tidy-up before agility practice, back when I was still grooming in my office. 

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This is Faith, in my current grooming space when it was still under renovations. I had to do a quick tidy-up on her before taking her out, and this photo was snapped just before I put her up on the table. 

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This is the hair vacuumed up after one (1) dog’s groom. All of that would have been rolling around my house had I not groomed Ceidleigh that day, and she didn’t even carry a lot of coat! 

© Shari Joanisse 2023