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Grooming Your Collie

 Collies come in two different varieties, "smooth" and "rough." Rough collies require much more grooming, but smoothes do need to be groomed regularly to keep their coats healthy. Collies have a double coat of hair, meaning there is a thick undercoat and an outer coat of thinner and flatter hair.

A smooth collie has shorter hair like that of a Labrador or Dalmatian. The hair is short and smooth with a thick undercoat. Rough collies have a long and flowing topcoat and a dense undercoat. You can keep your collie looking good, no matter what the variety, with regular brushing.

You'll need a pin brush, a slicker brush, a comb, scissors and a spray bottle filled with a conditioner spray. You can buy a commercial conditioner spray, or make your own using 1 to 2 tablespoons of dog conditioner diluted with water. Make sure it is diluted well or the spray will make your Collie's coat greasy.

Make sure to spray your dog's hair thoroughly before you start to brush. Never brush a Collie's coat dry because it will break their hair. If you have a rough collie, part the dog's hair and brush from the roots out. The pin brush can be used if your dog is not shedding and is free of matting.

The slicker brush and comb are helpful for shedding dogs and for removing mats. If a mat cannot be brushed out of the Collie's hair, you can cut it out. Collies most often have matted hair behind their ears, underneath the front legs and on their underbelly so make sure to check those areas carefully. For a smooth collie, a slicker brush will suffice for both the undercoat and outer coat.

You should brush your collie everyday during shedding seasons, and at least once a week when they are not shedding. Regular brushing is important to remove the dead hair. If left alone, the dead hair will cause hot spots on your dog's skin.

Collies generally do not require all over trimming, but you might want to keep their feet trimmed. With a small pair of scissors, carefully trim the hair around each footpad.

This will keep your collie's feet clean. While you are working with your collie's feet, you can also trim the nails. This should be done every 1 to 2 weeks to keep the nails from getting too long.

If your collie is a puppy, you can train them to be used to a Dremel tool with a sandpaper attachment. Apply light pressure with the Dremel and grind down to just before the pink quick.

The alternative to using the Dremel is to use a standard dog nail trimmer. Before you clip the dog's nails, find the pink quick and cut just before that point. Cutting into the quick will make the dog's nail bleed. If this happens, styptic powder is helpful to have on hand to stop the bleeding.

Finally, remember to clean your Collie's ears about once a week. You can purchase a canine ear cleaner at any pet store. Squirt the ear cleaner into your dog's ear canal and then rub the base of the ear. This will help the ear cleaner coat the inside of the ear canal. You can use a cotton ball to remove the excess cleaner and then allow the ear canal to dry naturally.

About the Author
Robin Darch, of PRT Specialised Services Limited has a website, My Pet Dog to help you find all the information you need about pet dogs, dog grooming and training.