Friday, 27 January 2012

Fur Change

Much has been said lately on Facebook, where Edward has been allowed to rant on about his on-going hunger strike and his frustration with excessive grooming and lack of good food. I thought perhaps it was high time for Mum to say a few words about the situation.
First of all, thank you so much for all your kind and good advice, which we have greatly appreciated. Much of it has been very useful to us. Also thank you for all the lovely and funny comments that have given us many a good laugh.

We must of course admit that our lack of experience as dog owners is a handicap to us. We have never owned a dog before, let alone a poodle, but we are firm believers in reading and preparing for all situations, and the number of dog books and dog sites that were combed for information is considerable. So we felt relatively confident when we got Edward. However, these know-it-alls don’t say much about what to do when things don’t go according to plan, do they? “Is the dog a fussy eater? Just be firm, no dog will starve itself.” Oh, really?
And do you know, in all the poodle books we have read, there hasn’t been a single mention of the fur change. Not one! The first we heard about it was at a poodle show, where a woman told us all about the trials she and her 15 months old male had just been through. Everybody else we had spoken to had just told us what a joy it was to have a dog that doesn’t shed.

So here we are in the middle of it. It started just before Christmas, and I am reliably informed it will take around three months. Edward has never been a great fan of grooming, but he has put up with it quite patiently, as he does with his weekly shower. He doesn’t enjoy it, but he seems to have a philosophical attitude towards it. Now however, it’s a struggle, both for us and him.

A proper grooming table is on our wish-list. However, this workbench solution isn’t as bad as it looks. Edward can stand on it quite comfortably but not turn around, which keeps him from moving too much. When we dry him after his bath, he is lying on a towel on the kitchen table.
We have found that a daily brushing is absolutely necessary, and it takes about an hour to get most of the mats out. After much trial and error, we have found that a metal comb is the best instrument for breaking up the mats. We brush him first with a pin brush, and let me say – the gold pin brush from Chris Christensen has been a godsend. It is just so comfortable and effective, and even Edward appears to enjoy it. We spray on diluted conditioner to make the hair more manageable, but to be honest I don’t think it makes much difference. I have heard about a product called Ice on Ice, which is supposed to be very effective, but it isn’t sold here in Norway. However, Edward’s grandparents will bring some over from England when they come to visit us for Easter.

We use DeZynaDogMagic Formula 1st Aid Shampoo, which is supposed to be ideal for coat changing, and follow it up with DeZynaDog Magic Formula Sculpture Rinse.

We then use the metal comb. I have found that a slicing motion cuts through the mats a lot more effectively than normal combing. I try to get a firm grip on Edward’s skin, so that the pulling won’t hurt him too much, but he still finds it very uncomfortable of course. Finally we go through the fur with a rake to remove anything that the comb has loosened. We did try to use a slicker brush, but it just wasn’t doing any good. Something I found strange, because that was highly effective on the cats we used to have before.

The amount of dead fur that comes out is just unbelievable. We save it to see how much it will be in the end, and so far we have a carrier bag full.
So why put Edward through all this stress? Why not just shave him and get it over and done with? Well, we have considered that, but first of all, we found out that short fur mats too. Edward’s sister Frida has very short fur, but when she came to visit us to use our clippers, we found that although her fur felt soft and lovely, we couldn’t get the clippers through it because of the dense matting.
Secondly, Edward has shown some promise as a show dog, and we would like to try a little more to see how well he can do. Edward seems to enjoy being shown quite a lot. He gets loads of attention, and it is a great way to socialise a dog, teaching him how to behave around judges, onlookers and other dogs.
I guess we show our inexperience again by letting Edward behave as an outdoor dog, even if we have show-aspirations. Perhaps this whole grooming business would be a lot easier if we kept him mostly indoors and only allowed very controlled exercise at places where he couldn’t get dirty. However, we see the joy he gets from roaming around in the garden, jumping in the sea and generally behaving as a dog should, and we don’t want to take that away from him.
Now, as to the matter of eating or rather the lack thereof… I think I’ll have to tackle that topic tomorrow or this blog post will become far too long.  


theflyingacc said...

Hello Mum
I never apply any moisture in the form of creams, lotions, or anything to my brushing for several reasons>> 1) if not blown dry it crinkles the hair and repeats the problem immediately >2)It leaves a residue that attracts dirt and causes discomfort to Edward that he will mess with and cause more mat. I am so obsessive about this that when I give my girls a bath I wash and rinse, then I use a cream rinse, and then I rinse and rinse and rinse again>> no residue is left on their bodies and the water is completely clear before they leave the tub. I have a K-9 mini hair dryer, that is a tank type hair blaster that is a challenge to use and you can go to a groomer to see what I am talking about>> it slams the hair straight in parted lines and removes the excess water, before you start brush and warm air drying the hair. Do not underestimate what I am saying about using the K-9 dryer, IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING IT CAN RUIN THE COAT! Learning how to use it will change your life and as I said, you could ask a dog groomer to teach you first> the coat will be blown straight, then brush dried straight and that grooming will last a month or so with little fluff ups.You have seen I keep my three girls in long coats for my pleasure with one eighth the work you are doing>> I am going to stop her and start again, Charlotte

theflyingacc said...

You have not seen the photo of my beloved Jessica, the white girl (photo you see here) that died the year before last>> we are Jazz, Jade, and baby Issabella (your contest winners and major fans of Edward)and all black girls
Food, we started buying ground lamb, and boiling it with QUINOA, mixed frozen vegetables and garlic powder>> cook and stir for about fifteen twenty minuets, let cool and bag in many freezer bags so it stays very fresh, My eleven year old has never liked food and has always been thin is putting weight on at her age! We feed a high end, HIGH RATED, reasonably priced dog food called KIRKLAND Super premium for adults(puppy for Issabella) here in the USA it can only be purchased in COSCO stores >> I do not know if they have it there. My email address is,, if you like, email me and I can send photos of grooming aids I like better than what you have>> I can also send you photos that would give you confidence in what I am saying. You have a magnificent dog in Edward what you are struggling with keeps him lovely>> there is an easier way. Enjoy the weekend, kiss Edward for us, Charlotte

BKayP said...

We have 15 month old Spoo Gracie so I understand the thing with the hair. We keep her in a puppy or sport cut (all one length expect for her face, feet and the base of her tail). Brushing is always difficult and like Edward she does not care for it much.
Gracie does not seem very interested in eating so we mix canned food with her kibble once a day and that seems to work. Although unlike Edward she will eat dry food if there is nothing else.
I love to read her Edwards stories and show her his pictures. She will look at the pictures and videos. My favorite was the video of him rolling in the high grass just after grooming.
I love that you let Eddie be a dog.
Spoos give us the best of all breeds...a athletic rambunctious and beautiful animal to love and spoil.