Undercoat Rake – How to Groom an Australian Shepherd
Sometimes you do something the hard way for awhile before you discover there is a better, faster, more efficient way to accomplish the same task. That perfectly describes my experience with grooming Trooper. Before I discovered the amazing undercoat rake, I spent lots of time grooming him with poor results. The discovering of the undercoat rake was definitely an ‘Ah hah!’ moment.
Australian Shepherds have a double coat!
Mr. Trooper with his neglected, woe is me, scissor haircut.
I like to handle most of Trooper’s needs myself (except for vet visits), which means I groom him. My method of grooming is utilitarian – while I would appreciate a resulting Australian shepherd, my purpose is mostly to have a clean and comfortable pet.
I didn’t realize that Australian Shepherds have a double coat until I did some research to discover why it was so challenging to bathe them. Grooming a dog with a coat that has two distinct layers is certainly different than one with hair so fine you can see their skin through it.
I use a simple undercoat rake like the one shown here.
With Aussies, the overcoat is typically medium length and texture and is weather proof. The undercoat is soft and dense. This combination makes it very challenging to give an Aussie a quick bath. For example, if Trooper shakes in the middle of the bathing process or if I’m just not fast enough applying soap after wetting him, he will become almost completely dry.
Grooming an Aussie on a Budget – The Undercoat Rake
Grooming an Australian Shepherd with an undercoat rake is definitely the way to go!
In addition to bathing your dog yourself, a strategy for the budget-conscious is to do the trimming and brushing yourself. During hot months, I have typically ‘trimmed’ Trooper by using scissors and cutting his hair as short as possible. While I think this hairdo causes him to look a tad neglected, it makes him very comfortable, allows for very easy bathing and causes everybody we meet to mistake him for a puppy and talk to him in baby-talk.
Because of the arduous nature of trimming with scissors, I recently decided to try a new approach. I have not had the best of luck brushing hair from Trooper and it ends up in the carpet and on my black dress pants; most likely due to inadequate brush type or frequency.
After posting the video, several people have recommended getting a FURminator. I have never used one, however, so be sure to read reviews.
After recently being encouraged to buy an undercoat rake, I made an earth shattering discovery. An undercoat rake actually brushes out his undercoat, removing tons of hair, which makes him cooler and reduces shedding.
In case you have made the same mistake regarding picking out a good brush, I’ve made a video comparing the results between my old brush and my new rake. The day after making the video, I brushed Trooper all over with the rake and removed a huge pile of hair (see photo). Now, in warm (not blazing hot) months, I can give up scissor cuts all together and just give him a thorough brushing.