Grooming Your Cardigan

My grooming also is very simple.

First, you must put good nutrition into the dog, before you can see the shine of their coat. Find the feed that works well for you and your dog, along with proper exercise for conditioning and you're off to a good start.

Here in the Pocono Mountains, we have a large area for the dogs to romp during the day. They love playing "king of the rocks" on the large boulders and dart about leaping and chasing in play. They develop great muscle tone this way.

Starting at the head, check the eyes and ears. Ears should be clean. Take a cotton face cloth and cover one finger with the cloth to wipe the inner ear. Check the teeth and use a toothbrush or tooth scaler to rid any tartar build-up on the teeth. A serious build-up may need the professional services of your veterinarian.

I do use a Shed N'Blade for shedding season. I get out on the lawn and brush bag fulls away for the birds to make their nests. Ah! Recycling! The birds love us. If the dog is shedding a hot-warm bath gets the loose hairs out. Of course, if the dog is shedding don't bathe the day before the show, a week is better. Then give the dog a bath again a day or two days before the show. I like to use the whitener shampoos for my blues and for white markings. (Mr. Groom does make shampoos for Bronze coats that work on the brindles. Or do we just think they do?)

I trim excessive hair from the feet pads. You can do this on your lap with the young pups, but your goal is to be able to do this on the grooming table. This trains them for vet visits and for exhibition. Trim the hairs inside the pads of the feet and any excessive hairs around the dewclaw area (dewclaws are removed but hairs grow in that area) Shape them as naturally as possible, without leaving blunt marks.

I do not trim whiskers, though some people do trim them. I believe God gave dogs and cats whiskers - let them keep them on.

Trim nails using the Oster Dremmel Nail Grinder attachment. Start this early with pups - it's the noise that scares them so get them use to it. Fast and no bleeding and you have control so you can get them close safely. If using nail clippers, be sure to have some Kwik-Stop on hand and clip a bit at a time.

I use a wire pin brush (tips covered), to brush through the coat. Back brush those pantaloons and under the chest, brush up the prosternum, and level out the topline.

On the day of the show, you can clean up feet and whiten with some Kote-Glom a waterless shampoo, rubbed well into the hairs, then dry off with a towel.

Bingo, I'm ready to walk in the ring.

I don't use chalk.

We also have strict AKC rules concerning "foreign substances" on the coat, and personally, I do not use additives, other than a spritz of water and a cloth towel to wipe off any loose hairs and to shine at ringside. Steve and I are approved AKC judges, and as judges, we must exclude dogs found with any foreign substances and we both are a bug about this.

Some people are trimming body coat to sculpt the dog and this is wrong. If the dog has a bit more coat, this is just a fault. Let the dog stand on his merits. Too much coat, "cut" your loss in the show ring, sell as pets, don't cut the coat. Remember, our Standard states, "Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers."

This is a natural breed. A herding dog. I remember reading in one of the old books, perhaps the Clifford Hubbard book or Lloyd Thomas that the corgi should herd the stock in the morning, take a brush through the coat, and then walk into the show ring. Let's keep this a natural breed.

Showing tips to come



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