Can it really make a difference?
There are times that we may want to make the coat look like it is handstripped. Not to deceive the owners but to give their clipped dog the illusion of being stripped, or as close to it as we can.
Carding is a fairly quick and simple process that concentrates on removing undercoat but still leaving the guard hairs. This process is used during handstripping too but in this article we are looking at the clipped coat. You probably already know that handstripping the coat protects the natural colour , shine and texture and that clipping can alter the coat
Here are a few tricks that you can do to to improve the clipped coat. This can be viewed as an extra service even if it was only an extra £2 or £3.
Wiry vs Silky
There is a limit to what we can achieve with a clipped coat. Wire coats such as terriers are much easier to work with. By removing the fluffy undercoat we can encourage the richer coloured, wiry hairs to come through. This means coats such as Welsh Terriers and Airedales can look much nicer with a darker more prominent colour.
White coats don’t really need the extra effort although it can make clipping a little easier it is always worth giving a few minutes attention to coloured patches with Wire Fox terriers
Silky coats such as spaniels can be a little trickier. It is very likely that neutered coats such as a cocker will never regain their shine but you can help with the colour. The darker colours don’t tend to lose their colour as much but always benefit from a bit of attention.
Feathering can also be kept in check and easier to manage to buy following these simple procedures
What Should I Do?
Right well you need to choose your weapon of choice.
This could depend on preference and coat type, you will also find some kind of stripping product helpful such as plucking powder or chalk.
Most carding is done before bathing or clipping but, experiment yourself to decide which technique works best for you. In both coat types you will need to keep the skin taut with one hand and use the carding tool in short strokes with the other.
Be careful you don’t over card and scratch the skin though.
- Firstly take a brush that is good for undercoat removal (i use the simpsons Purple Flexi slicker for this)
- Brush the furnishings such as the legs and a skirt up against the lay of the coat. You can also do this on the jacket if the dog tolerates this.
- Next, grab a suitable deshedding (carding) tool. This could be a curry comb, stripping knife or deshedding rake. Ideally, you need to start with something that has coarse teeth, then switch to fine. Personally, I start with a deshedding rake then swap to a fine stripping knife. Another handy tip is to use the lower (comb) part of a ‘surgical’ #50 blade, with top cutter, tension spring and blade socket removed. To improve grip and control, try wrapping it in vet wrap.
- Use the knife at a 45 degree angle to the coat or even a 20 degree angle for some coats and use in short sharp strokes.
- A little plucking powder or chalk can really help if carding before the bath. Use a curry comb or matt-breaker on the furnishings including the beard again in short strokes.
- With this type of coat you would be better using the finer tools such as the fine knifes/50 blade but as mentioned before you should experiment with the tools you have.
- I would definitely recommend the curry combs on the furnishings and ears of heavier coated spaniels. This can really help with the prevention of matting if the dog comes in regularly 8 weeks or so. In fact carding the ears and tails of many breeds can prevent future matting.
- Use plenty of chalk when carding the jacket (back area) before the bath
- Try a ‘banded’ comb (this is where a rubber band is wrapped through the teeth on a medium spaced comb and using this at a 20-45 degree angle). Keep the skin taut and use the comb in short strokes