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A perspective on grooming.

Grooming comes under the heading of evolution and new technology. Like all things, it must change as our lifestyles and affluence change. Do you wear the same hairstyle you wore 15 years or 30 years ago or wear the same clothes?

Many years ago it was the norm to run a dog under a hose and let them shake and dry overnight. Just a quick brush and an it will be right attitude. There are some that still do just that and still some breeds where the purists don’t believe in bathing at all.

A couple of years ago in Denmark there was a man with a rather good looking dog whose coat could have done with some attention. He assured me that this dog had never been bathed and we thought at first he hadn’t understood the query. He took great pains to tell us it had never ever been bathed since it was born. Oh dear! we know it gets cold up there and maybe dogs don’t smell as bad, but we were all was horrified.

We talked about of how the judge must feel touching a dog that had never been bathed. Can you imagine a doctor having to perform a medical examination on someone who hadn’t showered that day? Yuk! Many remember people would have their hair dry cut – no shampoo. We now think about where their head had been previously! Nasty thoughts but relevant.

The follow up on the exhibitor in Denmark was that the very next day, the lady judge gave this man a good public dressing down and told him to never bring an unclean dog into her ring again. Needless to say the dog didn’t win and that was a shame as it was a very nice dog and the judge told him that too. This man had shown the dog previously and hadn’t learned anything. He was quite insistent that it was better to leave this coat natural. We all are still figuring out what was better about it and for whom.

So, if indeed the lack of washing and titivating facilities had been the reason for hampering our pursuit of regular ablutions, then none of us have any excuse anymore and none of us have any reason to not wash our dog either! Have you ever stuck your nose near some of these traditionally “unwashed” breeds? Smelly little devils. If the Komondor owners in America can manage to bath and dry and keep sweet smelling these haircare marathons, then anyone can.

Just as availability of hygiene preparations and home haircare and equipment have become regular everyday items for us, then so have the opportunities to glamourize our dogs. I cannot tolerate the notion that a breed should be shown natural because it’s always been traditional! What rubbish! That would be like saying Miss World is a gorgeous natural beauty and we should send her out for the competition without make-up, her hair not done and wearing a beautiful dress.

It is different if your standard specifically states that no fluffing around is allowed with this particular breed coat, however I’m sure nowhere in the standard does it say to be presented dirty. You may live and show in a country where the “coat police” are out and about and it is a mortal sin to even think to attempt to alter a dog’s coat texture – technically that could mean no conditioner or shampoo as both of these items have an effect on coat texture. What do they suggest one washes the dog’s coat with? Scotch mist? Amazing how many cans of hairspray we saw on the grooming tables in one of these countries.

Of course, one can ask “When does a hairstyle overtake the dog?” Does a hairstyle then become the dog? Just how far can you push the envelope? When does reason go out the door and we lose perspective?

It’s all about enhancement – using what is available and making the very best of it. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear but you can sure make a darned nice dog look a million dollars if you present it well. No one is suggesting that one should present a poor specimen and then doll it up to try to fool the judges. Who’s fooling whom?

The Americans generally seem to have this grooming routine well in hand. Again hearing purists who think the American exhibitors over-do it. Do they? Or have they just evolved with technology to present any breed at their very best?

We see breeds trimmed that were not traditionally trimmed in the past even though their standards make no mention whatsoever of trimming. Now surely if the standard does not say one shouldn’t or must not trim, then that means you could trim if you chose to? Doesn’t it?

We all have the common goal to show are dogs at their best, with canine athletes to bring them to their very best performance and presentation. If you have a good dog conforming as closely to your standard as possible, you have fed and conditioned him and trained him to your very best, then it is down to the wire now with good, immaculate and state of the art grooming. If you don’t know how, learn. Life is a university, every day. Heaven forbid we should deny ourselves the opportunity to learn something new, evolve and improve.

The world once was restricted by available technology. We were limited to products that were available. The world has changed, a vast array of different products is now freely accessed to all. Allow yourself to use what is available to give you the winning edge.

Plush Puppy has always prided themselves on combining the very latest of technology with a greater availability for all to have access and knowledge on the very best of products.

The judges will thank you. The judge won’t need to wash his/her hands after every dog and perhaps your dog will look the better for it all.

Plush Puppy Australia