Winn and I went to a grooming seminar last weekend. It was hosted by the people who have taught us so many things about this breed I love. They fostered Annie and gave her the first taste of what her life should be. We met when we went to their home to welcome Annie into our family and we immediately knew that we had made some new friends. They have had Newfoundlands for as long as I have, but until I met them, I didn’t know about local breed clubs, water and draught work, and how to find an ethical breeder.
I went to learn more about how to care for Maisie and Winn’s coats and how to keep them looking good. My biggest takeaway is that every dog is different. Their coats are different, their shape is different, their needs are different and what works for one, might not work for another. This was a huge relief because of my four female Newfs that I’ve had, each one is unique. Bailey and Annie were both black and their hair was more coarse. Bailey had a very think undercoat and Annie did not. Maisie and Winn’s brown fur is less coarse, but Maisie’s is curlier, whispier and not nearly as thick as Winn’s. My big challenge with Winn is that it takes 2 to 3 times longer to get her dry as compared to Maisie and Annie. She is also a wiggle worm and very restless and would rather be doing anything else than getting groomed.Everyone there had their own grooming kit and their favorite items. The fun part for me was checking them all out, talking about all of the different choices and trying out some new tools. This is the amazing set up our friends have put together:I keep my tools in a tote bag, but I may need to graduate to something bigger pretty soon!My favorite tool has always been a grooming rake. I bought a cheap one 15 years ago and it worked beautifully on Bailey. I would brush her at night while watching tv, and she would snore through the process. Eventually, a couple of the pins bent and started to snag and I have bought multiple rakes since then trying to find one that worked as well as that one. Even though I no longer use that one, I still have it, comparing it to others while my search continues.
The session was led by an experienced Newfoundland groomer. She enthusiastically shared her wisdom and tips on washing and drying, brushing out and trimming both for a pet Newfoundland and the polished look of a show Newfoundland. We talked at length about shampoos, conditioners, sprays, brushes, combs, rakes, and scissors, scissors, scissors. She demonstrated trimming on one of our friend’s dogs. She would show us how to do an area and then walk around the room and help each of us individually before moving on to demonstrate another area. There was a good mix of dogs there of different ages with different grooming needs and I learned so much, not only trimming Winn, but observing other owners working on their dogs as well.I’m comfortable giving ear and paw trims to keep a neat appearance, but what I really needed help with was what to do with her lion’s mane and her leg feathers. Winn’s adult coat is continuing to come in and I haven’t done anything other than bathing and brushing her regularly. The biggest change occurred with her neck trim. Suddenly, she looked smaller and in better proportion without all of her crazy fluff around her head!
Overall, I didn’t take too much off of her and was able to give her a cleaner look. Winn has limited patience so we took lots of breaks but she let me know when she had enough!I could certainly keep going with the blending shears, but she looks pretty and now I’m more confident about how to tackle those bigger areas.
When the session was over, several of us sat around the dinner table, drinking, eating and web surfing for scissors, rakes and products with credits cards ready to go! I ordered a new rake (I’ve got high hopes that this one might be THE one), a leave in conditioner which will hopefully add more moisture to Maisie’s coat, a detangling spray and another pair of shears.
I left feeling accomplished and with so much more knowledge. I now know I need to clean my brushes more frequently and oil my scissors after each use. I can dry blow them outside to keep them clean in between baths and control the shedding. Spayed girls have a different coat texture from non-spayed girls. Dogs, just like humans, come in all shapes and sizes and each have different grooming issues. The rake that works well for Maisie doesn’t work well on Winn, and that’s OK!