Dog brushing is one of my favorite things to do. A long-haired pup likes brushing that is gentle and will give you cues as you go.
I like to brush a dog when we're both in a calm mood. Brush, scissors, treats and a lap towel are already gathered in our spot, then I bring pooch over. An armchair or couch is my favorite place because my back is supported and I'm relaxed, which helps the dog relax, too.
I brush the outer layer of fur first, using slow, light strokes, and talk in a soft voice. Starting with the top layer is best because digging down too soon ends up yanking knots. I want to avoid that so the whole experience is pleasant for poochie.
I begin with the bottom inch or two of a section. Once that bit is tangle-free, I start a couple inches above and brush down, all the way through the bottom inches again. I gradually work my way up to where the section meets the skin. This technique minimizes tangles.
Coaxing out mats
A mat forms when hairs rub and weave together into a mass. Mats can go unnoticed because they like to form in hidden places that rub, so good spots to check are at the inside top of each leg (the four “armpits”), under floppy ears and any place where fur is extra long. When I find a mat I examine it to see how brushable it is. Sometimes, especially if I catch it early, it can be gently and completely brushed out. Other times it's either too large or has separated into its own capsule of fur. That’s when the scissors come out for a small snip.
Take your cues from the dog
I slowly work down to the deeper levels. It's helpful to take cues from the dog. Even the gentlest brushing pulls at the skin. The dog's breathing may change or pup may shift to indicate that area needs a rest, so I move to another. Also, several five minute sessions work better than one long one, to give the dog a break in between. And of course a treat after each session.
Sharing attentive touch leaves us feeling closer. "Who's a good dog? You are."
Living and enjoying life with furry friends in the East Bay