oh my auggie

A little on grooming – brushes

For those of you who own cordless/battery powered nail grinders (I personally use the Dremel MiniMite) – recharge your battery after EVERY session. Seriously. After every single one. There’s no harm in it. Your battery won’t be overcharged or anything. Yeah, you have to unplug the battery from the grinder, plonk it into the charger, and find somewhere for that rather large charger to plug into an outlet. But seriously. It’s a good idea.
Poor Auggie is lop-sided as he currently has freshly dremelled front paws, three nails on his back right paw dremelled and the one remaining nail about 80% dremelled… and one paw that I didn’t get to before my dremel died.
Poor, poor Auggie. All because I didn’t plug the stupid battery in after our last session (I’m lying. LAST THREE OR FOUR SESSIONS.) to charge it up.

Anyway, the subject of brushes came up on a group I belong to; usually it starts with somebody asking about the Furminator and people start chiming in what they like to use instead. I thought it would be interesting to put down here for my lovely readers what brushes I use on Auggie. I have quite a selection, you see. All links are to the exact product I own from the exact place I purchased it from; you can probably find the same or similar products other places.

First, I own this pin brush that I always start with. Everybody should have a basic pin brush, IMO, for simple day-to-day brushing. It’s good for grabbing a lot of the already loose hair and getting some of the other dead hair to loosen up, but not a heck of a lot else on a double-coated breed. A good pin brush won’t pull or scratch, so even if it doesn’t do a lot for the actual fur managing, it’s great for getting your dog used to sitting for some gentle grooming… making grooming a pleasant experience! For Auggie, it’s the warm up brush, the relaxing brush. Sometimes I finish a grooming session with this brush, too.
Second, I purchased a Master Grooming Tools Ultimate Coarse Comb from a local groomer who was placing an order with PetEdge (it’s VERY expensive to order from them if you aren’t buying a lot of stuff.) and I love love LOVE it. I actually have two and one stays in my car with the other dog gear that I haul around. With this, I continue in long, gentle brush strokes. This is REALLY great for getting out dead hair from Auggie’s pants, which are a different texture than the rest of his fur; for the rest, it just pulls out more of the undercoat.

For the more stubborn hair – that is, for our serious grooming sessions – I have other brushes I continue with. I have a shedding brush that was recommended to me by a guy at the dog park when Auggie was a wee little guy; he demonstrated how great it worked on his own double-coated dog because Auggie had no loose coat at the time. I went to PetSmart and got two of them a few days later – one for me and one for my sister’s two shelties. They unfortunately don’t carry it anymore which is a REAL shame… it really does work wonders on removing undercoat, and I especially like to use this on places that have shorter, tougher-to-remove fur, like his armpits and his thighs. I do find that during heavy shedding seasons, this can pull a little bit when it gets “clogged” with fur, so you have to make sure you remove the already brushed out fur from it fairly often. I find this brush to be a lot gentler than many other brushes and combs I’ve used in the past; I think it has to do with the varying length and the slightly wider spacing of the teeth.
This is the ONLY brush in my toolbag that I would say there’s no replacement for, no buying from another store. I haven’t found anything quite like it anywhere else. This brush is just fan-freaking-tastic. It’s a tragedy they don’t carry it, or anything even remotely like it, at PetSmart anymore.

Next, I have a fine-tooth comb that I purchased at Target before we brought Auggie home. I don’t have a link for this one because I don’t think they sell it anymore; but a fine-tooth comb is pretty much a fine-tooth comb as long as it lasts. Mine has held up through the three years (the first pin brush I bought for Auggie from Target bit the dust after about a year; pins were falling out.) The fine-tooth comb I use mainly for brushing behind Auggie’s ears, trying to get rid of the crimpy dreadlock look. (I also use a pair of thinning shears on the hair behind his ears, which also helps; the comb then is great for going through and getting out all the hair that has been thinned.) This kind of brush CAN be used on those sheds-a-lot parts as a de-shedding tool, but it also tends to pull far more than the above tool, so I really hate to use it for that purpose.

I also have this slicker brush (I think in the medium size) that I use during shedding seasons. The other brushes do a really good job any other time of the year, but this is really helpful to use on longer fur, like down his back, when he’s blowing coat. I find this does a great job of picking up undercoat more than really helping to loosen and remove it, so I guess that’s why I like to really only use it during shedding season, when the fur is already lose. I also don’t brush very hard with this, so that might be why… I’m hesitant to apply pressure with it.

Last but not least, I own a Zoom Groom that I use during bath time. It’s wonderful to get him all lathered up and to start working the dead hair lose in the tubby.

Finally, yes, I do own a Furminator. I got it for a fairly good deal, which is good since I hardly use it. I don’t like what it does to the texture of Auggie’s fur. I don’t believe it breaks the fur like a lot of people do… but it definitely does something odd, something not pleasant. The only places I will use it is on the SUPER short hair on the top of Auggie’s head, his muzzle, and on his paws… those are the only places where it doesn’t seem to have a weird affect on his fur nor cause him discomfort. I’m not sure if it pulls or scratches his skin; all I know is that he is not comfortable with it and therefore I am not either.
So, when it comes to the Furminator… if you have a pal who owns one, see if you can borrow it to try it on your pet first. Observe your individual pet’s reaction before you make a decision. I definitely don’t believe the Furminator is a tool for every pet out there, it needs to be judged on a case-by-case reaction from your particular pet. If you can’t borrow one, make sure that, if you don’t like how it works for your pet, you can return it to whatever place you purchase from – be it PetSmart, Target, or an online shop.

And there you have it… my brush collection!

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