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A Few More Aussie Shaving Tips

As I mentioned in Recognizing and Avoiding Heat Exhaustion in Dogs, I recently commenced the next round of shaving the dogs. Our most recent full shave down was in March, when the weather started warming up (we are in the southwest corner of New Mexico). Now that we are in the pre-monsoon weeks, the weather is hot, humid and uncomfortable. And to top it off, our hiking locations that contain water are down to just one.

We had to go to El Paso a few weeks ago and the dogs were miserable. The car service took longer than expected so we ended up going for a (HOT) walk.

Thankfully, we were able to talk the manager of the McDonald’s into letting us bring the dogs in. I barricaded them into our corner using wet floor signs.

McDonald’s, as seen from Sydney’s dog level.

Some Additional Shaving Tips

Last week, Sydney came inside after finishing her meat meal and she started weaving in and out of my legs, doing her Velcro dog routine. I decided to shave whatever was accessible while I waited for Trooper. I got about halfway done before Trooper came in; then I shaved about half of him. I finished them up a few days ago and then we went for a big swim in the Gila to loosen up any itchy hairs that remained. Here are some things I learned:

  • If they will stand up for you while you are working on them, the shave job will likely look more even and orderly. I shaved most of Trooper while he was standing and at some point, the clippers stopped removing hair. Then, he flopped onto the ground. I started shaving his leg again and a ton of extra hair came off. I think it is because when he is laying down, his skin becomes ‘baggy’, causing the clippers to respond in a different way. Clip the dog standing up if you want it all to be the same length.
  • I used the number 3 comb/guard before and remember thinking I wanted a longer one. This time, because I could not find my number 1 or 2, I used the 3 again….and wished I could have gone shorter. The number 3 is WAY cuter (they look like puppies) than the number 1 (which makes them look naked) but it means I will have to shave them again soon.
  • Just a reminder that if you were worried that shaving an Australian Shepherd results in the hair not growing back in – My dogs had nearly full coats (Sydney was a little shorter) less than 3 months after the prior shave.
  • I did not brush or rake out either dog this time because I was being opportunistic by catching them when they were standing nearby. I decided that if it shaves in a lopsided/ugly way, that I could just do a better job next time. Results: There is definitely some unevenness but they still look cute. And not raking/brushing prior to shaving reduced the dog grooming time by half.
  • I did rake and brush them out after shaving them; I think I did it while watching a movie. With their coats short, it was much easier. What surprises me every time, though, is that raking them out with short hair still produces undercoat. (Shaving them does not remove their undercoat. But it does make it a lot easier when you do get around to raking out the undercoat.)
  • One of the reasons I brush and rake them after shaving is to remove any loose hairs that haven’t fallen off and that are just waiting for me to vacuum so they can shed all over the ground again. The other reason is it helps reduce the itchy feeling they get. To completely shake out those loose hairs, I recommend giving them a bath or letting them go swim somewhere.
  • Speaking of baths – I gave them both a bath about a month ago because we were going to be spending the night at someone’s house, and I did not want to be that person with stinky dogs. However, because we go swimming in the river multiple times a week, I have stopped giving them regular baths. After a bath, they smell so good and feel so soft; but only for a matter of hours. Then, they are back in the river again. The river works fine for now and we will resume baths with shampoo once the weather cools down and they are no longer jumping in every puddle they see.

That’s it for now. Happy summertime everybody!

Our one hiking spot with water – Box Canyon Rd. Ahhhhh, so refreshing!

A nap well earned.

Other Dog Grooming Posts:

October 2013: How to Wash a Dog – Australian Shepherd Style

August 2014: It’s Summertime! How to Shave your Dog at Home

February 2017: Shaving a Double Coated Dog

March 2017: Australian Shepherd Shedding & Using an Undercoat Rake

March 2017: The Shaved Australian Shepherd & Why It’s Okay

March 2017: Australian Shepherd Haircut – Shave Time!