AWPGA- Grooming Out The Puppy Coat
Reprinted with Permission from the author: Amy Caswell-O'Clair
Grooming Out The Puppy Coat.
There are many different opinions on how much work should be done on the Griffon coat some say to strip out the coat and others feel it should fall out naturally. I will discuss stripping out the puppy coat in this article. Since there is such a variance in coats some puppies will need less grooming that have shorter tighter coats and the time frame on grooming / stripping may be months later, coats with softer heavier coats will need more grooming more often and sooner.
It seems that the average griff puppy coat starts to grow in abundance and mat around 4 months old. The adult coat starts to come in and the puppy coat needs to come out. I try to stress to all of my puppy buyers the necessity to comb their pups weekly from the time they pick them up until around 3.5-4 months old, at this time when they get an abundance of hair. I suggest they comb them daily or every other day paying special attention to the beard, which gets wet and gathers a lot of debris and can quickly become a matted mess within a few days.
The basic tools I use are a face and finishing comb (a flea comb could work as well) a regular medium/coarse steel comb, a mars rake (12 teeth) , a MiKki/McClellan/ Madan “stripping knife” ( coarse) and a pumice stone, oh and really important a mat buster!
What I like to do with the coat is comb weekly at 8 weeks with the regular comb and then use the finishing comb to get out any other lose hairs. Paying special attention to the beard, front legs and underside where the hair starts to mat first. You may need a helper to help hold the pup and to do the belly I usually sit on floor & put the between my legs on their backs, if they start to fight I just rub their bellies until the calm down and with in a minute you will have a calm relaxed puppy.
Around 12 weeks the hair starts growing more and at this time I personally like to start taking out some of the puppy coat, I comb the eyebrows, top of head and ears with the stripping knife to thin it out some and keep it a reasonable length (I don’t like mop heads) At this time I also start combing them every other day.
A pup with a softer coat you may want to start stripping out around 3 months, and a dog with a better harsher tighter coat may need to be done around 8-12 months and just once or twice a year after that to take out the dead coat.
Comb hair out with regular comb
Take the mars rake and start at top of neck and go down the body in short strokes, I start from top of neck straight down back, then do under beard to the middle point in chest, then I start going down the sides, from top side of neck down along the body. I use the rake until no more hair comes out easily. Depending if you want to show your pup or not will depend how much you take out of the chest and legs, if you do not plan to show you can use the rake until no more comes out on chest and legs and belly, if you want to show just take a couple passes on the chest and legs and belly to remove the excess dead hairs.
The next step is the stripping knife, I make the same pattern starting at the top of neck and going down back then along the side of the body. I again do this until no more hairs come out.
I also like to comb the eyebrows, top of head and ears with the stripping knife and under the ear and cheeks I use the mars rake first then the stripping knife to thin this out.
If your puppy still has a lot of very fine hairs sticking out it would be good to use a pumice stone, just use it like a brush and in the same directions as before to take any fine hairs out, they will collect on the pumice stone and you will need to pick them off of the stone as you go.
Grooming like this will not make your puppy bald (unless maybe he has an open coat) , I like to do this once a week for several weeks until the harsher adult coat comes in and then about once a month after that.
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Hilary is a certified Groom Tech and specializes in hand-stripping.