• Overview

    Mixed-breed dogs can delight you in so many ways. They tend to retain the positive characteristics of their lineage breeds, while eschewing potentially negative peculiarities, leaving you with a loving, well-adjusted, family-friendly pet. Grooming a mixed-breed dog, however, can be a challenge because the distinguishing features requiring care and attention often differ greatly from dog to dog. The information below should help you determine the best way to brush, bathe, clip, trim and groom your particular dog, depending on coat style, fur, length and size.

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No aspect of home dog grooming requires as much time and regular devotion as brushing. Although you won't need to brush your corded dog with a brush, you should carefully separate the cords by hand to prevent matting and keep their coats and skin healthy.

Corded dogs are considered moderately high or high maintenance for grooming ... for obvious reasons. Their intricate coats are comprised of a strong top coat, which is wrapped around a soft, wooly undercoat. Corded dogs do not need to be brushed, because brushing could pull apart the cords, but their cords do need to be separated on a regular basis. Pull the cords apart gently with your fingers to help your corded dog stay clean and prevent matting. Cords should be uniform in thickness and fully separated from the body. They should be thicker and stronger at the base to support the cord as it hangs down from the body. When your corded dog is a puppy, before his coat grows into cords, you can brush his coat about once a week with a slicker brush or metal comb.

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With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

As these dogs’ heavy outer coats grow in and twist around their puppy coats to form cords, refrain from bathing them until their coats are completely corded. Bathing your dog at this stage will shrink the cords and tighten them together, which will prevent them from growing in. Once your dog’s coat has fully corded, you will need to bathe them to help keep the coat clean and neatly corded. These long, dragging coats collect debris, and if debris isn’t removed, the coat becomes a big, uncomfortable mess.

If your corded dog needs a bath, be sure to separate the cords before you bathe by running your fingers through the coat. After thoroughly soaking the coat with water, lather with a mild dog shampoo and immediately rinse thoroughly to prevent skin irritation. Corded dogs’ coats can develop mildew if they are not rinsed and dried properly and thoroughly. If your dog’s coat does mildew, you’ll have to completely shave him with a clipper. Bathed corded dogs require extensive drying. First squeeze the cords to remove as much remaining water as possible. Next use absorbent towels or cloths to soak up as much dampness as possible. Use a large house fan or a hairdryer to dry your dog completely. Be patient. Complete drying can take hours.

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Hair Clipping

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer or scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Owners of Komondors and Pulik often pride themselves on the length of their coats, but occassional trimming helps keep the cords manageable and clean. There is no set timetable, but owners who do not plan to show their dogs can trim the cords to about 3 inches long with a trimmer or a blunt scissors. Keeping the cords at a manageable length helps prevent them from dragging on the ground and makes a lighter load for your dog. Keep in mind that this can be a tricky cut but there are a wide array of clippers and trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It's always wise to take a dog for a short walk or exercise to calm before clipping. Use a trimmer to trim excess hair between the dog's toes and around the face and rump, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. If your dog's coat becomes extremely mildewed or uncomfortable, you might need to clip the coat completely with a pet clipper, but because the process is so extensive, clipping corded dogs is recommended only as a last resort.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

Eyes & Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corded dogs should have their ears checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Because their cords tend to grow around their face and eyes, take special care to clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes to make sure they are comfortable.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.