Grooming Your Silky

First, place your Silky in the tub of warm water and wet him down thoroughly. Then add shampoo and work in completely through the coat, being careful not to get any in his eyes or ears (you can put cotton balls in the ears to help prevent this). Rinse thoroughly. Repeat. Then add the conditioner and work it in. Leave the conditioner on the dog for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse until the water is clear and no bubbles are forming. Towel him off with a good absorbent terry towel.


Next, place your dog on your grooming table. If you don't own one, then a rubber-backed bathmat placed on a table or counter will work just fine. Just make sure your dog has firm footing and cannot slip. I find the grooming is easier if you first blow-dry your dog for a few minutes on medium heat (never high) to allow the coat to start drying ,but leave it still a little damp. Then put down the dryer and work with your pin brush or comb (whichever you find works best for you) until you're sure you have removed any tangles or knots. (Hint: if you brush your Silky daily, you will find your grooming sessions much easier on you both!) Once any tangles are removed then pick up the hair dryer again and finish drying your dog, stopping every couple of minutes the brush the coat in the direction you want it to go (from a centre part down the spine and straight down on either side). If you have either a grooming arm on your grooming table, or someone else to hold the dog while you groom, then you can blow-dry and brush at the same time. If you are alone do NOT take both hands off your dog at the same time. You would be amazed how quickly they can jump off the table and they can injure themselves quite badly.


Once the dog is dry you can begin to do the trimming. Don't panic: it's really very easy and once you've done it a couple of times you'll wonder why it ever worried you! The tail can be tidied by parting the tail on the upper side (like an extension of the part on the spine) and then using two of your fingers to pull the hair around the tail and to the back of the tail. (Your fingers should now be pinched together along the back of the tail with the excess hair sticking out from between your fingers). Scissor off the excess hair. Tidy up any loose ends and the tail is done.


Next, the feet. Holding the foot in your hand, use the other hand to brush back (towards the body) any hair that is growing above the "knee" joint. You are going to cut all the hair that grows below this joint and afterwards you want to be able to brush down the longer hair from above the joint so that your masterpiece of a groomed foot can peek out through the hair. Now, take your clippers and, holding them flat against the dog's leg, stroke the clippers in the direction that the hair grows (from the knee to the toes). Take long strokes from top to bottom and work your way all around the leg. When that is done, take your scissors and cut off any excess hair growing between the pads as well as any longer hairs left growing around the foot that the clippers didn't remove. Then use the nail clippers to trim the ends off the toenails. (If a toenail bleeds, don't worry: it looks much worse than it is. Use Quick Stop on the nail to stop the bleeding. If you don't have this, try corn starch.) Now, repeat on the other 3 feet.


You've now made it to the head. Using your clippers, and working in the direction the hair grows, clip off the hair on the back of the ears (I find putting your hand under the ear while you're clipping gives you a more solid surface to work with) and the inside of the ears. Be very careful not to nick the ear. Using your scissors, trim off all the hair that sticks out off to the side of the ears. This will give the ears a nice, sharp, clean appearance.


Now the muzzle. The hair in between the eyes should be trimmed to resemble an upside-down V, rather like this:  o/\o. Have the scissors pointing up and the tips well above your dogs eyes in case it suddenly jerks. Then use your thinning scissors to shorten some of the hair that grows on top of the muzzle to give your dog that well-groomed look.


Periodically you should check your dog's ears for build-up that might need cleaning out, and you might want to talk to your vet about what he recommends for cleaning the teeth. Toy breeds are prone to developing teeth problems, not because of problems with the dogs but because of the owners! People love to give their dogs people food, and they love to give them tins of moist food. Neither of which helps the dog maintain good teeth. Give your dog raw beef bones to chew: the meat on them is good too, and large hard biscuits also. Both help to remove build-up of tarter from your dog’s teeth.

Grooming Supplies

COMB AND BRUSH:  Buy a good quality steel comb (commonly called a greyhound comb) in a combo style (coarse teeth on one side and fine teeth on the other). It isn’t cheap but it will last the life of the dog unlike the cheaper ones that need replacing. The brush should be a natural bristle type and of good quality. Nylon bristles are not necessary. A wire slicker brush is a good investment too, and is good for getting the burrs and knots out of the coat.

SCISSORS: To trim the tail and around the ears.

ELECTRIC CLIPPERS: These are not a necessity as you can do the job of clipping the feet and ears with your scissors. However, clippers make the job a whole lot faster and easier!

KNITTING NEEDLE: Good for getting a straight part in the coat. A steel one is best.

NAIL CLIPPERS and QUICK STOP: A heavy pair with replaceable blades is a good choice. Scissors types are on the market but they can’t be sharpened and need to be replaced at a higher cost than replacing just the blade portion. However, many people find the scissor type much easier to use. So the decision is yours.  Steel yourself, you ARE going to cut the quick at some time in the dog’s life. It is not life-threatening and if you have the Quick Stop, it is easy to stop the bleeding (easier than getting over the guilty feelings!). An alternative to nail clippers is to purchase a tool that sands the dog’s nails down rather than cutting them.

TOOTHBRUSH AND DOGGIE TOOTH PASTE: This, like combing, goes on the whole dog’s life so you might as well start young and let the pup get used to it while things are still fun. Several brush styles are on the market but they do need replacing every once in a while, so buy the one that appeals to you. The tooth paste however needs to be DOGGIE tooth paste, human types are poisonous to dogs. Baking soda is a good alternate if you run out.

RUBBER BOTTOM BATH MAT: This is a handy item to have when you're grooming your pet. Put the mat on a table or countertop, and your pet will have a secure, non-slip surface to stand on while you blow-dry the coat after a bath, or brush it, trim the toe-nails, etc.

SHAMPOO:  A good brand regular (not flea) dog shampoo that is easy on both the dog’s eyes and yours is a good buy. Soap in the eyes hurts anyone and the first few baths could be a wrestling match. Choose one that rinses out well.

CONDITIONER: A good conditioner will help slow the tangles down and keep the fly-aways at bay between baths.

TOWELS: Dark coloured dog towels are a good investment as well. Puppy needs drying after baths and needs wet feet dried on rainy days. Brown is a good color to hide any stains that may appear and are easy to tell from the ‘people’ towels.