The Art of Drying

Knowing the best technique for your dog’s coat type will result in a ribbon-worthy look.

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It doesn’t take an engineer or brain surgeon to figure out how to get a dog from wet to dry, but doing it well requires a certain amount of finesse. Achieving a glimmering, shining coat that adds what some judges and handlers refer to as the “icing on the cake,” is an art. You can’t turn a badly built or unkempt dog into a show-stopper with just a puff of the hair dryer, but you can hide a multitude of sins with proper hair care. And you can just as easily turn a near-perfect breed specimen into an also-ran with improper care.

Every hair type requires different care, tools and drying techniques to make it the very best that it can be. If you don’t know what types of shampoos and conditioners are preferable for your breed and your dog’s particular needs, ask your breeder. It’s amazing how much hair types vary within the same breed, to say nothing of the differences in coat types among different breeds. Knowing how to perfectly turn out a Siberian Husky won’t help you a bit if you’re suddenly faced with a wet Irish Setter.

Hair dryers for dogs can be divided into three main types: stand dryer, which free up the groomer’s hands and can be used at either high or low velocity with either warm or cool air; forced-air, or high-velocity “barrel” dryers, which some people jokingly describe as having two settings (blow-them-off-the-table and hurricane); and hand-held dryers designed for human salon use.

Long and luscious hair
Long, silky feathering, as found on spaniels, setters, Afghan Hounds, Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terriers, requires coaxing from a stand or handheld dryer set to gentle breeze function. A high-speed burst of air can, in just the blink of an eye, create tangles that take hours to unweave.

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