So, the coat has to be looked at in each of its stages and handled in a different manner. Easiest stage of all is the “just right coat”. At this point we look for good health and vigour to the coat with a degree of shine plus I like to bath once a week and blow dry thoroughly, this keeps the coat rolling.
You will note that we recommend diluting all the shampoos and preparations especially for arctic coats, to get the total richness of effect to the coats right through from skin to tips. No point just applying to the ends of the coat if the underneath hair is not doing the same thing.
For the show ring you could conceivably use up to 5 different shampoos to sculpture that perfect silhouette. Depends on which dog and at what stage the coat is at. Also what parts do I wish to lift and which parts to lie down? A Siberian coat cannot be trimmed and therefore all sculpturing has to be cleverly done at the bath and drying stages e.g. for the white areas, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at around 5:1 for that crisp white finish. This will not lighten or bleach but instead tone with optical brighteners. Should a more natural white be desired, which is great for white areas on the red dogs, then use Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo diluted 5:1 which has a clarifying action and good for an all round quick clean up to mildly stained areas. You can also use Plush Puppy Wonder Blok; which is an extremely effective stain reducing pure organic solid shampoo that is mild, yet works amazingly well on those stubborn stained areas. Apply to wet coat and work well before rinsing. Use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluted 5:1 for the topline for shine and perhaps Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo for a coarse tail or pants that can sometimes tend to clump. Use at 5:1. Thus these are tools for the serious exhibitor who wants to tweak the silhouette to perfection. They are outcome oriented and do what they are meant to do.
Don’t use a conditioner, they flatten and soften and you want a fuller look to the coat, especially for those not in full coat. Plus the coat requires texture and not a softened texture. You need to hydrate the coat plus maintain the texture and shine, so use instead Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 tbspn to one gal/4 litres water. After shampooing and rinse, then thoroughly saturate with the oil mixture and leave in – do not rinse out. This is absolutely wonderful on the coat and skin, giving fabulous shine and texture to the coat without being greasy. Use it all the time even when just doing maintenance baths to protect the coats mid week. It allows you to bath weekly without dehydrating the coat and gives incredible gleam and vigour to the coat.
For out of coat situations, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at 3:1 for extra body or on those areas needing more fullness and lift. For a dry, old coat that is felting/clumping and needs resurrection, use Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose at the same ratio. If the coat is burnt, faded or has rusty tones, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at 5:1 to tone and reduce the unwanted warm tones. Rinse and follow with Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil as instructed above. Next step is to blow dry. Mix 1 tbpsn Plush Puppy Volumising Cream to 4 cups/1 litre approx. of water and apply thoroughly to the coat, saturating it and don’t rinse then dry. This gives the illusion of 3 hairs looking like 3,000. It doesn’t feel foreign in the coat and will give oomph and extra fullness without feeling sticky. You can add this in with the Seabreeze Oil/water mix to save time. Alternatively try the Plush Puppy Volumising Spray. A ready to use formula; simply spray on, brush and dry. Use after bathing or at shows.
If the coat is overly dry and looking too puffy or felted, sometimes just before shedding, use Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream 1 tbspn to 1 cup water and apply thoroughly & evenly with a sponge. This will instantly flatten and soften those dry, brittle areas, especially on the toplines that tend to frazzle with flipped ends. For extra attention to a dry frazzled coat, use Plush Puppy Coat Rescue. We apply this mid week diluted with water to a runny mix and slathered all over the dehydrated areas. Leave the dog if you wish in this for a couple of days or 10 minutes or whatever, and then rinse off. It won’t soften the coat and will add lots of protein and moisture. Use the Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush to blow dry. I avoid using a slicker on a wet coat as I find they rip the coats to bits when wet.
Blow dry with the brush and hands, pushing the coat forwards towards the head for maximum lift. It will settle down over night and follow the outline of the dog as required. You can finish the drying for a smoother effect with the Plush Puppy Ultimate Slicker Brush for the coat when perfectly dry and for fluffing up on show day.
Show day finishing; use Plush Puppy Coverup Cream, a small amount dabbed lightly with a barely damp sponge onto the legs, face, inside ears, elbows etc. Dab lightly and allow to dry and then reapply in layers hitting it with a bit of Plush Puppy Fairy Frost. If the weather is damp, this will dry it quicker – just brush or blow out any excess powder afterwards. Fairy Frost is super white, less abrasive and clings unbelievably well. For the true connoisseur as a way better alternative to chalks or talcs.
Brush up the main body of the coat use Plush Puppy OMG. It is one of the best overall grooming sprays available. Use at anywhere from 25:1 to 35:1. This will separate each hair and give you a wonderful finish.
For a good, regular well maintained finish, snip off the shaggy hair around the underneath of the feet and trim whiskers if you wish – I don’t. I prefer the character the whiskers give to the overall face. A good spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for that extra attack on the judge’s senses and a dash of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust sprinkled judiciously onto the pants and topline for that hint of a shimmer and finish with a light spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for a final bit of gloss and glamour.
There is one little other hint I will share for those coats that are too soft, and you don’t want “too soft” with an arctic dog coat, add a light dusting, and I mean light, of Plush Puppy Powder Puff for Terriers and Harsh Coats. This gives instant harshness and texture to any coat and is a really handy product. Just a light sprinkle or a quick flick with a small amount on the brush through the softer areas of the coat till correct level of texture is achieved.
Now it’s up to the handler and judge on the day. Your dog looks good & hopefully knows what is expected of him and you have attended to all the 100 little things that make a winning dog. It’s hard work to groom a dog to this level each and every week.
Written by Simon Briggs – Director of grooming, Plush Puppy Australia.