Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lotus Gets Fixed Up - Maintenance of an Afghan Hound

On my visit to New Hampshire in May, I did a 'clean up' on Cyan Lotus while my sister mowed the lawn.  I just couldn't resist using these photos for their 'late in the day' quality.  We bathed Lotus at Petco that morning, or rather my sister did, while I shopped at TJ Max.  :-). It is so much nicer in NH than in the DC metro area.  My sister asked if I would clean Lotus's teeth.  Lotus had her first season at 3.5 years. She lives with an altered male and has little contact with other dogs, so she is going through her first coat drop.  I wanted to even up her side coat.  My sister had cut her feet back.  I find the feet just stay a little cleaner trimmed.

As I was looking at these photos, I thought I would share some comments about the grooming exercise and the environment where Lotus lives. It is a pretty pastoral setting.  This shot is at sunset, a great time for lighting and photography.  Then I wanted to make some pointers about how I handle and groom an Afghan Hound.  The house is sooo typical New England, circa 1779.  I love it.

This view looking west over the Connecticut River valley into Vermont, at the sunset, um-mm.

On the table next to Lotus you will notice Hydrogen Peroxide and Q-tips.  I would probably include paper towels and cotton.  My sister had a drug store-purchased tartar scraper.  I do most of my grooming with the dog laying on the table.  I work from their back, always knowing control is with the down side front leg at the elbow.  If I want to turn them, I flip them with a 1,2, 3 and spin them around at the same time, so I am again at the back of the dog.  This gives me good access to armpits, stomach, ears, toenails, and teeth.  I find if you swab the teeth with peroxide first, and let it be for a minute, the tartar breaks free from the teeth easier.  I use the scraper to chip the tartar and try to get them as clean as I can.  Sometimes I do go back over them with the peroxide, more scraping, and finish with peroxide.  If your fingernails are hard, sometimes you can chip the tarter at the gum line.  Bones do a lot to keep teeth clean.  We try to give them regularly in the cooler months.

I finish standing up, as Lotus is in this picture, to check overall grooming with a metal, long-tooth, open comb and do a little scissoring.  I comb through the entire coat while she is standing to check for any mats left from the brushing. To neaten a coat up, you can get an inexpensive pair of scissors for hair, and a pair of thinning shears (to give a more natural look) at a beauty supply house.  I like to have stools around to perch on while I am working.  To trim the feet I recommend this procedure.  Trim the bottoms while the dog is laying down.  When they are standing trim the back of the front foot by picking up the paw at the back.  Trim the back of the leg level with the back pad.  Then determine how much needs to come off, just to neaten it up.  You are still going for a natural look, not scissored.  I usually think 'oh this needs a half inch or an inch'.  This keeps me from trimming them too short.  I have a mentor who advises 'to shape the feet in the form of a stop sign, straight at the front, back and sides with 45 degrees at the four corners'.  She also recommends keeping the sissors flat to the table, to not end up with Cocker feet.  I neaten up the side coat since she is in a growth state by pulling and scissoring.  In this case I was offered small paper scissors for this job, that is one reason why I decided to write the blog post about tools and techniques for especially for those that are closest to me and my dogs.

I asked my sister to get my camera.  The light was at the horizon behind a cloud about to come out.  I wanted to see if I could get a few snaps of Lotus on the ground in the light.  She couldn't have made it more difficult, typical Afghan Hound.  Therefore, I decided to link to a cute video 'Note to File, the Morning After the Bath'.


Anonymous said...

I love Afghans... she's so beautiful, and her ears look really soft and silky...

How long was her hair before the coat drop and trimming?

Jenny said...

Lotus runs the property so she requires regularly grooming. Some of my girls blow coat with their seasons like Lotus, however her dam holds her coat after seasons. The trimming is very light just to neaten and finish the look.