"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cathy's Corgi Grooming 101: Drying Your Corgi

Blow drying:

So you've got your baby out of the tub. She's nice and clean with no soap residue, right? Right. If you have a grooming table with an arm, set your Corgi on the table and slip the noose over her head, securing it lightly with the little tightener that slides up and down. You remembered to attach the safety release, yes? You don't want to make the noose too tight. Our goal is to train her so she knows that when it is grooming time we stand on the table and don't try to jump off and run. It is your job to make her feel safe and secure. It is your job to never leave her for even a second alone on the table. If you have forgotten something or need to get the phone, wrap her in a towel and carry her with you. It is better that you get wet and hairy than to risk her safety.

Now we need to start drying that coat. If she has blown her coat and is practically naked, then obviously the drying process will go a little quicker because you are not dealing with undercoat. If she is in full glorious coat, the drying process will take some time. Either way, I do not recommend letting your Corgi 'air dry.' A Corgi is a double coated breed. The lovely coat that offers them a bit of protection from the weather, also helps to hold in all of that water once they do become wet, like after a bath or a swim. Especially in humid weather, it can take a long, long time for a coat to completely dry and the moisture can cause it to smell sort of 'mildewy' or 'wet doggy' which you can prevent. Also, if you put your dog in a crate to dry with a towel, you will have a very wavy, dented 'bed head' looking coat that can take many washes to remove. With proper grooming, you can train the coat to lay flat and look pretty.

After a good brisk rub with the clean dry towel and the ears have been cleaned, (see previous grooming post) I usually just run my greyhound comb over and through the coat quickly before I start blow drying. It may feel like your comb is gliding through easily and that you have done your job combing, but trust me. You have not begun combing yet. The best thing to dry your Corgi with is a forced air dryer. If you do not have one, you can use your regular blow dryer, but please, put it on warm or cool setting if you have it and always keep a finger between the dog's coat and the dryer so you are aware of how hot it is. I usually start by blowing the water off of the coat from the back of the head and work my way toward the rear. If you have a forced air dryer with no heat, you can put the nozzle right on the coat and with the nozzle facing toward the rear so the fur is blowing in the direction it grows and slowly blast off the water. Keep doing this for a few minutes. You can blow the fur in the other direction every now and again just to make sure that you are getting the roots dry but try and generally keep the nozzle pointed toward the rear to train the coat to lay in the right direction.

If you are using a regular (hot/warm air) blow dryer, you want to do the same thing, but do not put the dryer so close to the fur. You can damage it really quickly, not to mention burn your dog. Be careful and pay attention. Next, I go back and forth on the sides of the dog. I usually blow in little 'circles' around the shoulder and upper arm and around the turn of the stifle and thigh muscles. Do both sides. Go to the front of the dog and starting under his chin, start blowing the fur. I usually go up and down between his front paws all around his chest. I don't worry about blowing in the direction of the fur on the chest. If we puff it up a bit, all the better. It will fall back down naturally on its own as it dries and calms down. Lift each leg and get under those arms. Rub the fur with your fingers, really get it nice and dry under there, gently pulling the fur down toward the feet as you do. Run the dryer across the belly gently. Rub with your hands as you dry, gently pulling the 'fringe' down with your fingers. Go to the inner thighs. Be especially careful around their private parts. If you have an intact male, never use heat in this area as you can render him temporarily sterile. Even if he is neutered, be careful. Girls too, it is a sensitive area.

Lift and dry each foot and go up a bit further to dry the hocks. Keeping him on a dry towel as you work will help dry his feet as you go as well. Let's work on the rear. After drying the hocks, start drying the pants. If you have a Cardigan, hold up the tail and work on the pants a bit. You can dry in circular motion, spreading the fur outward to fluff them up a bit as you dry them, taking care not to push up the fur on top of the nub (for a Pem) because we want to create a nice flat back. If you have a tail, start close to the body and work your way, back and forth down the length of the tail. Try and pull the 'fringe' of the tail down and out as you dry it so it looks like a lovely feather.

Turn off the dryer for a few minutes. You may think your dog is dry, but chances are she is still wet underneath. This is a good thing! It means you have a luscious undercoat and the coat is doing its job. Let's quickly comb the dog again, head to tail, sides, chest, pants. Start the drying again. Let the air lift and separate the coat down to the roots and then push it back in place again. You can start using your pin brush now as you continue drying, brushing along the airstream of the dryer. If you are working with a hot blow dryer, do hit it with a 'cool shot' if you have that button for the last few minutes of drying to help close the hair shaft and prevent breakage.

We want to make sure the undercoat is completely dry to the roots before we start combing. It is OK for the topcoat to be a bit damp, in fact during regular daily or weekly combing and brushing you never want to comb a dry coat. Always keep a fine mist spray bottle of cool water with your comb and brush so you can lightly spritz before combing. It will encourage new growth and protect the lovely fur from damage.

Upcoming grooming posts: Line combing/brushing, nails and coat maintenance from the inside, out.

Still with me?-CS ^..^


Chatty Crone said...

I don't have a Corgi - I have a Beagle right now - do Corgi's like baths and hair dryers? Our pup does not!

Karen Dimaio (in Maryland) said...

The first time I turned the blow dryer on Kailyn freaked out a bit. I just left it on low sitting on the floor and brushed her out until dry (she was just a pup and didn't have much fur) The next time I used it a little on her, now she just falls asleep while I dry her.. Cathy, I am so glad I discovered your blog, your posts on grooming have come at just the right time for this new to Corgi owner. I see you are going to do a post on what goes into your dog, we are feeding Kailyn Solid Gold Hunderfloken puppy and it is wonderful food. I don't have a blog(I's on my to do list), but I do have a page on mycorgi.com here is a link if you want to see some pictures of Kailyn. http://mycorgi.com/profile/KarenDimaio
Thanks again for all the wonderful information!!!

Anna M said...

In less than 10% humidity Idaho a dog dried very quickly. I am getting the feeling from your post it might take a wee bit longer here *g*

My girls are a bit on the grungy side right now, not filthy but a full on bath and groom is definitely needed before we hit farmer's market season and they meet their "people".

These posts are wonderful and we here at Corgi Hill Farm very much appreciate your time doing them.

Cathy Santarsiero, "The Christmas Corgi" said...

Hi gals. Yes, it could take time for any dog to get used to the dryers. Go easy. Anna...I may just have to take a ride up to one of your farmer's market's in Vermont. I'm sure the Corgis will bring a smile to everyone...bath or no bath!

dana said...

I read this post and was in awe at the work it takes to achieve that beautiful Corgi coat! To think, when we had our Golden Retriever, I would put him in a huge tub, wet him down and lather him up and scrub, scrub, scrub--then rinse him off! If I was lucky, I'd get him in the garage (cuz we only did the tub and hose technique when the weather was warm and we could do it OUTDOORS!)before he headed to the corner of the yard, where the dirt pile was, and start to roll in it!! He pretty much air dried! :( He didn't look pretty, but he didn't smell!) Seriously, I know it takes a whole lot of work to achieve that "show dog" look--and it is so worth it!! However, I really do appreciate my kitty cats--they give themselves their own little baths! ;)

Hope you've had a great week! Dana

ClassyChassy said...

Thanks for the new addition to the grooming techniques! I've always let my girls 'air dry', not knowing any different! It does take a long time for them to dry that way - VERY long!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your post. You put so much love into caring for your precious animals. They are blessed to have you. ♥ The corgi does have such a beautiful coat. They also have such sweet little faces. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Dances with Corgis said...

Thanks again for these wonderful write-ups, Cathy! They truly keep on giving. I just gave Linus a spontaneous bath because he rolled in a dead animal at the dog park today, and was able to quickly search and reference these (particularly the drying one) and they were a huge help.