Hand stripping is something that every wire coated dog should have done to maintain proper coat texture and color. Wire coated dogs have guard wires and undercoat so they require both hand stripping and carding. This tutorial will focus on removing the undercoat, by the method of carding, on a Border Terrier puppy to promote healthy hair growth for future hand strip grooms. Prep work on a wire coated dog should be done while the dog is still dirty.
Fig 1) By keeping the skin taut, you can use an undercoat rake to remove the bulk of the undercoat. This tool should be used with the lay of the hair to make certain that the guard hairs do not get cut. It is important to move onto the next area once you are not removing as much undercoat to prevent damage to the skin. Continue this all over the dog’s body with the exception of the dog’s head.
Fig 2) You will be able to remove a large amount of the dead hair with an undercoat rake!
Fig 3) By using a carding knife, you can continue to remove the soft undercoat safely without damaging the wire guard hairs. The knife should be used flat on the dog’s body while the skin stays taut above the area that is being worked on. Move on to the next area once you see that the hair has ceased to come out. Continue this throughout the dog’s body. Pay close attention to the legs as that can be a tender area. This also can be used on the dog’s head and cheeks to remove soft coat.
Fig 4) A pumice stone is a great and easy way to remove the hair from a Terrier ear. Protect the ear with one hand and, while holding the stone in the other, gently grab the hair between thumb and stone to remove in a downward direction. If you are working on a pet, typically clipping the inside of the ear with a #10 blade is acceptable.
Fig 5) Using a small toothed comb, go through the dog to determine if all of the undercoat has been removed.
Fig 6) Only a few tools are necessary for the success of this undercoat removal process!
Fig 7) Next, prep your dog as normal such as clipping paw pads and sanitary.
Fig 8) Bath time! A texturizing shampoo is always recommended for wire coated dogs.
Fig 9) Once your dog is bathed, wrap the body hair so it starts to dry flat. This will allow the follicle to settle in a natural direction for proper coat growth.
Fig 10) Using a soft bristle brush and a hair dryer on low heat, dry the hair flat. Make certain to keep the hair dryer at a safe distance to protect the dog’s skin from being damaged.
Fig 11) On wire coated dogs, using thinning shears should be minimal. Keep in mind that the more the hair is “thinned”, the more it can potentially be damaged, as it should be removed during the hand strip process. Trimming hair on a wire coat allows the trimmed hair to enter its resting phase and eventually become soft.
Fig 12) Depending on what the owner likes, trim the head and face to their preference.
Stay tuned for this little guy’s first hand strip…to be continued!