Long, Silky and Very Glamorous – The American Cocker Spaniel.
The lovely American Cocker Spaniel with its flowing feathers and flashy movement is indeed a site to behold in the show ring. A merry dog and the smallest of all the gundog breeds the American Cocker is truly one of the die-hard groomer’s passions. To prepare and American Cocker you use almost all the grooming techniques available; clippering, scissoring, hand stripping, bathing, and blow-drying and Plush Puppy has the perfect range of products to have your yank in its most superb condition.
I won’t go into all the pre bathing preparation here, i.e. trimming, stripping etc but what I will let you know you is how to prepare the coat for the show and what to do to keep the coat in peak condition between shows. The American Cocker standard declares that the texture of the coat is most important. The coat should be silky, flat or slightly wavy and of a texture, which permits easy care. No cottony, frizzy coats – silky is the go! For the coat that is a little on the dry side or is fluffy or frizzy use the Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose. This shampoo contains Evening Primrose Oil and will help moisturise and settle the coat. For a coat that is in good condition and does not need any extra help use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna.
This shampoo will not alter the texture but will add lots of shine. Always shampoo your coat at least twice. Dilute the shampoo through your hydrobath if you have one about 10:1 i.e. ten parts water to one part shampoo and give it time to do its job on the coat. You will find the second shampoo will really lather up well and will rinse out nicely also. You can dilute your shampoo up to 10:1. Use undiluted for the really dirty areas such as the ears, under the tail area and under-carriage. The Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo is wonderful for cleaning very heavily soiled areas of the coat – Ideal for the oil build up you get on the ears and it is a wonderful clarifier for the coat used once a month to remove any product build up. Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo with Wheatgerm is great to use on areas of the coat that you want to appear fuller and great for a dog “out of coat”. This can be used just in the areas that require that more!
For Parti’s you can use Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening. This is great for the white areas for its toning qualities reducing red and warm tones and is perfectly safe on all colours. Use at 1 part shampoo to 10 parts water. Another amazing product for white areas is Plush Puppy Wonder Blok this product is one of our proudest achievements in helping to maintain a white stain free coat. It’s not a bleach and contains no harmful chemicals but with the use of modern technology and high amounts of naturally sourced vegetable surfactants and glycerine. This product is designed to remove gently, unwanted warm/red tones to the coat. Best used on a damp/wet coat. Gently rub into the areas requiring allow time (5-10 minutes) and rinse.
For maximum effects repeat or allow a longer time for this amazing product to work. As with all products take care around eyes.
Due to the face structure of this breed a great product is Plush Puppy Let’s Face It; this is what the dog showing world has needed for way too long. Another one of the famous Plush Puppy products that with the latest of technology and the highest amounts of naturally sourced ingredients has developed a product that is a must! This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed for faces. It’s no tear formula with the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean, sooth, adds moisture, aids healing and anti-inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. Can be used in and around ears also with the same benefits. Its low foaming design allows easy of rinsing yet complete cleaning.
Great for the feet and also for thinly coated areas. For your conditioning rinse use the Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner. I do mine through the hydrobath and I use about a quarter of a cup. Use more on a dryish or damaged coat. If you don’t have a hydrobath then apply the conditioner with your hands doing one area at a time i.e. the chest then front legs then undercarriage etc, working it through the coat gently. You can rinse the conditioner out or partly leave it in depending on your specific coat requirements. You will need to do some experimenting to find just the right balance of conditioner to use. The Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner is a light conditioner so does not weigh the coat down. It has natural active ingredients to help soften and rehydrate the coat. If you are doing a maintenance bath then leave the conditioner in. I never use conditioner on the saddle area. If you have groomed your saddle area well it will be shiny and in great condition.
Plush Puppy Swishy Coat helps the hair to fall gracefully back into place after moving just like Ginger Roger’s dress. It is designed to reduce the wave and frizz in the coat. It will straighten and smooth the hair without softening it and will make blow-drying easier. Mix a tablespoon of Swishy Coat to a small Plush Puppy Spray Bottle, add an inch of warm water and really shake well till the mixture goes a whitish, then you can top up the rest of the bottle. Spray this lightly through the coat, including the under layers after towel drying and before blow drying. You are not trying to saturate, just distribute.
When you blow dry use a Plush Puppy Pin Brush or Plush Puppy Anti-Static Brush (I use both, the pin where there are knots and the metro when there are no knots) and really stretch and smooth the coat out as you go. Always dry in the direction that you want the hair to lay. I put my dryer on the opposite side of the table to do my dog. She lies down and I do all of her outer coat with the dryer blowing towards me so the coat is blowing in its natural lying position, show side first. This method really makes a big difference. You can then bring the dryer around and do the under carriage areas and the feet.
The hair must be bone dry – no moisture at all. When you go to do the other side make sure you have a dry table so as not to undo all of your hard work. Even blow dry the table for a moment so that it is dry and warm. Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream softens and flattens and will add weight to tame a boofy or unruly coat. Mix and apply just as per the Swishy Coat. If you have a coat that needs straightening and de-boofing you can mix Swishy Coat and Blow Dry Cream in the same bottle and mix with water if you like. Use a tablespoon of Swishy Coat and a teaspoon of Blow Dry Cream. Increase the Blow Dry Cream ratio if required. The Puffy Dog Firm Hold Styling Mousse is fantastic for the hocks to give them a great full look and help them stand out creating that lovely flow of coat from under the tail right through to off the hock. I put this on after towel drying by getting about a golf ball size dollop in my palm and scrunching it through the hocks.
This is the only area of the coat where I use a soft slicker brush and brush against the natural lay of the coat, so brush the hock up, still paying careful attention to get the coat really straight and really dry. Plush Puppy Volumising Cream is a superb grooming to tool to use on a coat that is thin. Mix it in the same manner as the Swishy coat, i.e. one tablespoon to a small Plush Puppy Spray Bottle. You can apply it when the coat is damp or when the coat is dry. It will coat each individual hair and give the appearance of more coat. You can use it all over the coat or just in a specific area. When you are trying to volumise the coat you can blow dry the coat in a fluffing up kind of manner to help increase the volume. For easier use we now have the “new Plush Puppy Volumising Spray is a ‘Ready To Use’ for quicker, easier and fuller coat results. Perfect either before blow drying or used to ‘fluff’ up the coat at the show. A light even spray, brush in until dry or use a dryer. Produced for easy use and scientifically balanced for all coat types. This is a hair thickener to add volume – not a hair stiffener and not easily detectable as it leaves the coat with a natural fuller look and feel.
Volumising Cream cannot be felt in the coat. With Swishy Coat, Blow Dry Cream and Volumising Cream it is not recommended to try to use these products undiluted on the coat as it is too difficult to distribute them evenly. Please do use the dilution method with the spray bottle. The mixed up products will keep in the bottle, just shake them well each time you use them.
For maintenance baths I use the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil. It contains natural extracts that promote hair growth, repair of damaged hair and are very good skin conditioners. It also dramatically reduces matting and knots. It is one of the finest oils made and it easily washes out with any of our shampoos. I do always shampoo at least twice as I said earlier. Seabreeze Oil can be applied at 1 tablespoon to 1 litre of warm water. I use a sponge to make sure full coverage of all the feathers. It can also be used in your conditioning rinse. Just put one tablespoon along with a quarter cup of Silk Protein Conditioner into approximately a half gallon or 2 litres of water. Saturate this well through the coat and leave it all in. Blow dry as you normally would for a maintenance bath. Plush Puppy Reviva Coat is fantastic for in between baths and can be used at any time that moisture is required. You do not have to blow dry it if you don’t want to. Just apply it by squirting a dollop into your hand and scrunching into the coat as required and just leave it to dry on its own. It contains UV filters as well. You can’t overdose on this product. It is very handy to help when you have to brush out a knot as it makes the job much easier and you will lose less coat. It is superb as a maintenance conditioner (in between shows).
I scrunch it in all over the coat quite liberally and then blow dry leaving the coat not ready for the ring but simply brimming with moisture and hydration. Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm is my favourite show ring product. It helps with static, flyaway and drying out. The best attribute of this product is that it will not undo all your blow drying hard work. The worst thing you can do to your coat at a show is spray it with a water based spray. Humidity is the enemy of a silky straight coat. Make every effort that you can to keep your dog out of moist or humid situations at shows. Keep your crate covered up if you have to. Protein Coat Balm is the perfect finishing cream. Just squirt a few pumps into your palm, smear your hands together, then smooth your hands over the coat.
The very best grooming spray is Plush Puppy OMG. Used at a rate of 1 part OMG to 30 parts water. This is the greatest and will leave the coat looking and feeling amazing. Or use the easy ready to use Plush Puppy OMG.
Then comb the coat into place. Do this just before you go into the ring. There is no point doing it an hour before hand. You can use Protein Coat Balm multiple times throughout the day without altering the texture or look of the coat. It’s great stuff! Plush Puppy Pixie Dust will give the coat a stunning shimmer in the sunlight and can be used on any colour coat. The trick is to apply a little dust to a bristle brush then wave the brush in the air a bit. Then brush over the coat to give a light dusting of shimmer. The effect in the sunlight is super! Plush Puppy Shine and Comb is just super used lightly on the back coat. Mist it down over the coat just before you go into the ring to give a classic natural shine. So there you have it! All ready to flash around the ring and take everyone’s breath away with your glamorous American Cocker Spaniel with it lustrous, silky feathers and long luxurious ears flying in the wind.
Director of Grooming