Most of us with pet Airedales (meaning we are not grooming a show dog) like to let our dogs get a little shaggy looking in the wintertime, so that they have more coat to keep them warm with during the winter months. Dale parents will know that weekly brushing helps keep the coat unmatted. Here are top grooming tips from Margaret Glass to keep your airedale’s perm looking perfect:
1) For dogs with softer coats, to keep the legs looking nice and to help prevent bad mats, use a slicker brush each week – pulling the brush up and down the leg, repeating often – try to remove as much undercoat as possible.
When using a slicker, Mars rake, furminator or combs, always remember not to scrape the dog’s skin with the tool, which can hurt and irritate the dog’s skin.
I recommend brushing out the undercoat on a weekly basis. This helps keep the outer wirehair lying flatter, and the dog looking tidier.
2) After removing what undercoat that you can, if you have a dog with a really excellent hard coat, it doesn’t hurt to fluff up the jacket backwards, so that the wirehairs are standing on end, then pluck the highest hairs. This will keep the jacket making new wirehair underneath, and when you come to strip the jacket in the springtime, there will be a new jacket underneath. Keep in mind you are only removing the very longest hairs; the dog will still have a long jacket. You can also do this with the legs just lightly plucking the very longest hairs.
3) Check the pads of the feet, and remove any fur balls between the pads. This should be done about twice a month. Keeping the hair trimmed around the pads helps prevent these fur balls starting. If there are fur balls, trim with curved scissors, or carefully use clippers to remove them. A comb helps to pull the fur ball out a bit if you need to scissor it all away. One wants to be very careful not to cut the pads. Grinding or cutting toenails at the same time helps to keep the nails short.
Trim the hair around the edges of the feet helps prevent mats and makes grinding/cutting toenails easier and safer.
4) I like to keep the hair fairly short behind the front elbows and under the armpits, as the fur tends to mat up there. It is good to keep the tummy area, particularly for the boys, fairly short and free of mats.
5) The muzzle is a place that quickly gets matted with the Airedales’ long beard hairs and their proclivity for sticking their noses into everything, so brushing it regularly is important. Trimming the hair around the dog’s lips regularly helps to prevent some of the worst matting.
A note on Bathing:
Airedales should only be done when absolutely necessary, (some Terrier diehards never bath their dogs). If you do shampoo your dog make really sure that you rinse every vestige of soap out. I personally like to use a conditioner after the soap, such as a mixture of Keri Lotion and water. Some people use a light spray of mineral oil on the jacket. Always towel the jacket going from the head to the tail sort of like a back massage, and repeat often – it feels good for the dog and gets the coat lying flat and shiny. Then towel the furnishings every which way to get them all fluffy-looking. Carefully comb any mats out of the furnishings. If you are dealing with removing burrs, twigs, etc., spraying a little moisturizer on the furnishings first helps with gently brushing/pulling the offending items out of the hair.
In between shampoos, if the coat needs a little cleaning, spray a mixture of Listerine (or witch hazel) and water over the jacket and furnishings. Towel the jacket from head to tail, and then brush the furnishings. I have an all purpose skin and hair moisturizer which I like to spray on the dog just before I have finished brushing; it smells nice and it helps to give the jacket a little extra sheen without being oily at all. Toweling/brushing the jacket repeatedly makes it look nicer.
Voila your dale will look lovely or handsome!!
Margaret Glass, AireCanada