Tricks of the Trade …

Having multiple dogs in the house … and grooming those dogs (mine and the foster dogs) … plus showing Dante, I’ve picked up a few pointers along the way from groomers and exhibitors regarding equipment and grooming supplies.   

I do all my own grooming (pet, show and foster) and recouped my equipment costs literally years ago.  Figure $70 every six weeks for two pet clips = $606 a year … and that doesn’t even begin to add in grooming costs for the foster dogs or show grooming for Dante.  Grooming gives me an additional chance to bond with the dogs, and for them, grooming day isn’t such an ordeal … and they always get treats afterwards!

For those interested in doing their own grooming, I have two recommendations as a priority — a stand dryer and an adjustable grooming table.  For the dryer, I recommend an Edemco and you have two good choices from PetEdge: Search Results … the ED70016 for $429 or the ED3002 for $319.  Having a stand dryer will cut down on the amount of time needed to dry and you get to use two hands in the process.
Basement grooming area ... "DogRoom"
Basement grooming area ... "DogRoom"
I prefer an adjustable 36×24 grooming table for home use.  Plenty of room and gives you the option of standing or sitting.  My choice (and this is about half of what I paid nine years ago for the same table) … PetEdge: Master Equipment Adjustable Height Grooming Tables.  Note the cushioned flooring in the main grooming area, purchased at Sam’s Club.
Clippers and how to use them … Andis or Oster are two good choices.  Because my basement is unfinished and without enough electrical outlets, I went with the Andis cordless model (which also means I’m not fighting a cord around a dog — a professional, we’re not!). 
This video is a good choice for getting started as it goes over bathing, clippers and techniques … “Grooming Your Dog – Basic Haircuts.”  One can also find grooming videos (Apso and Tzu) on YouTube with a quick search.  Just keep in mind that it’s only hair and it will grow back … one does get better with practice!
I have a grooming arm on the table (for the foster dogs’ safety) and recommend one from Table Works – Folding Grooming Arms (medium) as well as the tool caddy that fits the arm (use the side button link to see the caddy).  The tool caddy is unbelievably handy and I wish I’d gotten it sooner.  For those not wishing to purchase a stand dryer, the 24″ Table Works – Dryer Holder is a functional and well-built product.  Don’t waste your money on any other brand (been there/done that).  I can’t wait for the POS I currently have to give out so I can get one from Tableworks. 
Brushes.  I’ve used All Systems, Mandan, Christensen and MasonPearson.  I keep coming back to two … a Christensen pin brush and a bristle/nylon Mason Pearson.  Am currently using the 27 mm oval Fusion Pin Brushes.   It has brass pins and really does help cut down on the static generated.  Christensen has a #10 Buttercomb 7″ coarse rat-tailed comb which is good for faces and putting in a part down the back … Combs & Handles… as well as the #000 Buttercomb 7.5″ fine/course comb for overall use.  Christensen brush and comb “pins” are ground and polished which results in a smoother tip.  There really is a difference … Tip Test.   I do not use brushes with the little “balls” on the pin tips as this is hard on the coats (generally what one finds in the big box stores).
If you use a slicker brush (great for pulling out undercoat), Christensen has those as well … Slickers.  I have a Mark II that I use on the pet coats.  I found the All Systems Dematting Comb to be a good investment for my coats all around.
The Mason Pearson bristle/nylon brush I recommend is the brown Pocket size.  With two types of bristles, it gently teases out tangles without harming the coat.
If needing latex bands to keep hair up, I recommend these outlets … Lainee, Ltd. and Ena Lane.  I store my bands in their original bags in a ziplock bag in the freezer to keep the latex fresh.  No need in having a huge container of bands out.  The tiny imported compartment box from Lainee is quite handy for this …
Scissors.  Definitely get what you pay for here … invest a little more.  Suggest you go to a dog show and cruise the vendors, pick up and feel/fit the scissors to your hand.  I’d start out with a straight pair, probably 7-8 inches, and a curved pair.  Whatever you get, do not drop them as this can cause the blades to “nick” each other.  And then you have a blade that doesn’t cut smoothly, which means you’ll have to have them sharpened at the next show you go to.  I also like a small pair for trimming foot pads.
One doesn’t need to have a show dog to realize the benefit of having exercise pens, especially if doing a lot of traveling with dogs … J-B Deluxe Exercise Pen.  Also handy are Ground Covers.  Keeps the dog from getting soaking wet in the grass if it’s been raining.  The urine flows through it, keeping the dog clean.  Easy enough to clean up with a bucket of water, dries quickly and can be rolled up for storage/transport.
Camping with x-pens and ground covers
Camping with x-pens and ground covers -- front row, l-r, Dinky, Ali and Frankers; back row, l-r, Sierra & Emma

Crates:  I recommend a Mid-West 2-door crate in the 1624 DD model.  The double doors (DD) are great for vehicle or home use.  Also of benefit is a floor grate … Dog Crate Accessories – Midwest Divider Panels & Floor Grids for Dog Crates  (#1624 DD) … and recommended because the plastic pan will cause huge amounts of static if in contact with the dog’s coat.  Plus, if the dog has an accident or gets sick, the dog stays cleaner as any liquid falls through the grating.  And, yes, you’ll probably pay more for the floor grate than you will for the crate!

While this is pretty much falls under show equipment (used to get gear in/out of a show site), it is unbelievably handy around the house/yard as well.  I have this set up … MicroCart – ($105 shipped … and you can read my review on the site).  This next site, however, shows how versatile the cart is … Micro Cart.  I had occasion to use it during an office move a couple years ago as well. 
If you have a male with housetraining issues, I recommend the adjustable Belly Bands from Small Dog Shop.  They are more form fitting and, thus, more comfortable for the dog.  Lined with a Depends or Serenity pad, they work great to contain male marking, keeping the boys and the furnishings clean.  And the adjustable type allows you to use it on similar-sized dogs.  In order to keep Dante clean on show weekends, he sports a belly band every trip outside.  This also means I don’t have to give him a belly bath every day before we go into the ring.  (Yeah, yeah, hubby says the dog folks are nuts …).
Dante in belly band
Dante in belly band, getting ready to go to the show ...
Below is a listing of fav sites for both show and pet items.  Note that some of the places have a “minimum order” charge so I usually get what I need from one place or make sure I have enough to get over the minimum or enough to get free shipping. 
Happy shopping!

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