How to Groom your English Springer Spaniel

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Grooming is an important part of looking after your springer spaniel – keeping his fur gleaming and brushed, and his nails trimmed. The process of grooming is pleasurable for the dog, in the main. During grooming you can examine the dog closely and check for ticks, scratches, dirty ears, damaged pads, swollen leg joints and anything unusual. As a working breed they do not need professional grooming, but will look their best with some regular attention which you can do yourself.

Starting Early

Getting your pup used to regular grooming is the best approach, and if you include with this the commands such as sit and stay, it also forms part of his early training – he might not listen at first, but it will get easier.

Their ears will often get wet at the ends eating wet food, so washing will be necessary. He also gets used to having his ears handled – they need to be checked regularly with springer spaniels – they love mud and can be susceptible to ear problems.

A soft brush is needed for a pup – it will not pull at his coat or hurt his skin. A stiff brush may be invigorating for an adult dog, but pups have to learn with the soft brush first, and of course, to sit still whilst being brushed.

Nails should be trimmed regularly, you can do this yourself with a guillotine clippers, but not too close.

They will soon get used to the brushing and enjoy it.

Grooming the Adult Dog

Besides regular brushing (3 times a week), to keep him looking tip top, trimming will be required.

We are not dealing here with preparation for a dog show, but the general areas will apply if you want your springer to look its best. Of course, trimmed hair also stays cleaner and its easier to disentangle twigs, Some people use clippers, though they are not really necessary. Don’t overtrim your dog – he should look natural, as they are after all, a working breed:

– Tidy the head first – pull out dead or loose hair with your fingers.
– Thinning scissors can be used at the top of the ears, with a large tooth comb to help. The hair is thinned from the top of the ear down about a third of the way, combing out any trimmings. Don’t overtrim.
– Older dogs may require thinning of the lower part of the ear. Occasionally, a slight trim round the edge of lower ear flap may be needed  – the right length for the ear is when it is about 1 thumb joint on your hand forward of the tip of her nose when pulled forward.
– Inside the ear flap is a delicate area, and should be trimmed so the ear lies flat against the head and he can hear clearly. Hair around the ear canal should be trimmed to about ½” .
– Comb the hair at the top of the neck; remove dead hair with your finger and thumb.
– Beneath the chin, use straight scissors as far down as the breastbone, scissors pointing down. You can take off a bit more than on the ears.
– Trim the feathering below the breastbone, and down between the front legs, if it becomes too thick and unruly.
– The sides and the top of the back are never cut, just remove dead hair with your fingers.
– At the rump, tidy up under the tail, to keep the area clean and clear. Trim beneath the tail close to the body, to help with cleanliness. For an undocked tail, the feathering is maintained by pulling away dead hair and brushing. If the length of feathering becomes excessive, then slight trimming is ok, but don’t spoil the natural shape.
– Feathering on the quarters, front legs and belly may need some shaping and thinning on older dogs.
– The back leg should be thinned from the hock down to the ground using thinning scissors (hold them point downward).
– The paw should be trimmed to outline with straight scissors, and also trim the underside flat to the pads.

This grooming should only take 15 -20 minutes once a month on your adult dog. There are specific coat trimmers available too,  such as the Oster Professional Undercoat Rake.

Both you and your dog will need patience; also your dog will need to have developed trust and confidence in you. Start by doing a bit at a time and then combine the sessions so you can do it in one sitting.

Praise him often as you go.

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A long-term springer spaniel owner

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