Grooming my own Skye Terriers
The true definition of the verb “Grooming” is to
1. look after the coat of a dog or other animal by brushing and cleaning it.
2. Give a neat and tidy appearance. That being said there are two critical reasons for grooming.
The obvious one is above and the second reason is to make sure that your dog doesn’t have any medical issues under the coat such as hot spots or insect bites or infestations. Grooming the Skye terrier is an important part of owning a Skye. We will discuss how to and when to groom your Skye. It is not difficult once you get some basic guidelines. Those who don’t want to groom themselves should find a reputable Groomer and keep their dog groomed. I found it’s a good way to bond with my Skyes.
Six years ago I decided I wanted to start grooming my own Skye Terriers. I had a new puppy and thought it would be a great time to jump in. I am by no means a professional groomer or have had any formal training. I bought some tools such as a brush, comb and grooming table. Of course now after 6 years of grooming and asking anyone and everyone from the Skye Terrier community what to use I have come a long way.
Skyes have two coats, the top coat and a thicker under coat which protects their body if a scuffle takes place as did when Skyes were working hunting vermin.
You will see Chris Christensen brushes #27 (second and third wood brushes from the left) which helps get the under coat. Excuse the one eaten by Bali but it still works with a tennis grip on it. The wet brush was given to me by Bali’s breeder and surprisingly it is the only brush she lets me use. Her coat is a true Skye terrier coat (slightly rough) and is actually easier to take care of than a soft fluffy coat like some Skyes have.
On a dry Skye I brush out the top coat and then lift up the top coat and brush the undercoat. If I run into a mat I take my comb and lightly pull out some strands of hair and pull gently to break up the mat. If the mat is big I spray some demattting spray on it and gently pull apart the mat. If the mat won’t give then I take the mat in my hand then using the dematting brush (the one on the far left) and gently stroke the hair. If all else fails I take a small scissors and cut vertically into the mat and break it up.
After doing the body I go to the legs and paws. Legs are quite difficult but as time goes on it will get easier. For the paws I take the small scissors and cut the hair in between the pads very carefully. I then take the larger scissors and put the paw on the table and cut neatly around the front and sides of the paws following the natural shape of the paw.
The head of the Skye is next and I brush the neck, face and ears. The ears need to be cleaned with a wet cotton ball and dried quite well as bacteria can congregate there and cause infections especially with the drop ear variety. I rarely cut the facial furnishings or any hair on the head. Sometimes I need to make a little pony tail on top of the head so my Skyes can see.
Often with older Skyes people will cut the facial furnishings. Since Skyes aren’t doing what they were originally bred for and needed the hair over the eyes for protection some may choose trim it.. Show dogs should never have their hair cut except the paws.
Bathing a Skye. How often would depend on where you live and your dogs activities.
There are lots of dog shampoos and conditioners and you will have to find what works the best for your Skye. I purchased the bath tub on legs for washing the Skye. First totally wet the Skye and lather with shampoo then completely rinse. Put plenty of conditioner on now which will help with snarls and mats. Rinse and take your Skye out of the bath and most will shake and soak your room so get a towel on them quickly and pat dry. Rubbing too hard will make it more difficult to brush out the Skye and will create tangles. I have never used a blow dryer but many do. I live in Florida so its not necessary. Now go back to the previous paragraphs about grooming a dry Skye and brush away. Hopefully the conditioner has softened up the mats and you can get them out more easily. Many people don’t groom a dry dog but I brush my Skyes once or twice a week to keep the mats at bay and I find it is fine and hasn’t ruined the coats.
After the Skye is dry I put on Crown Royal Magic Touch spray and that helps keep the coat neat. Cutting the nails with dog clippers or a dremmel is next. Lift the paw and pull back the hair and cut carefully. Cut small amounts as too not touch the quick of the nail. None of this is easy but it will bond you with your Skyes and starting young will help. Do a little bit everyday till you and your Skye is comfortable with the new routine. Good luck!
Susan Ritvo Falvey