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Conformation Corner

Thoughts on Getting Your Newfoundland Ring Ready 

Newfoundland Coat Care for the Conformation or Obedience Ring 

by Pauline Baldwin 

Conformation and obedince grooming

When Ingrid asked me to write a grooming article for NewfTide, I kind of laughed, as I am more like a "part time" show person, I spend most of my time at obedience trials. However, I do like our dogs to look like the breed entrants-they are not "they'll do, its only obedience!" 
So, for all of you "part time" show people, here goes. 

I live in a very dry climate and find it difficult to keep a huge full coat on my dogs at any time of the year. In the summer, my Newfs are in the (smelly) river every day. I do not bathe them every week, as it would be a lost cause! However, I do bathe them before every show or trial. 

Every week, if actively showing, or about two months before the National, I will start getting them prepared. I use a pin brush and thoroughly brush my Newfoundlands out at least three times a week. On the alternate days I spray them with water and blow out all of the dust and dander. This is a good time to check the skin, to see that it is looking healthy. I usually have to comb through feathers to get our anything that is attached from their walks; for the most part I do this every day. Our dogs are walked every day and tend to bring home all kinds of debris in their coats! 

On the week of the show I will start with a complete comb out, right down to the skin. I mist them thoroughly with a conditioner to stop the coat from breaking while being combed. I use one part (tablespoon) Cindra Moisturizer and two parts Reconstuctor, mixed with warm water in the summer. The reverse is used in the winter, as it tends to be a dryer season here. I use a product called Motions all year, an oil sheen and conditioning spray, on all the feathering, pants and tail to stop them going brown or brittle. I spray into the feathers after I have combed them out, then comb from the skin to the tips of the hair, making sure it gets fully covered. I do not use on the back of the dog, as I find there are enough natural oils there to keep the hair healthy. 


When the dog is completely combed out, I trim our all the excess hair from under their feet and tidy up around and under the ears. Nails are clipped, and then they get bathed. I use a good quality shampoo, BioGroom Protein and Lanolin. I find that it cleans the dog but does not strip out their natural oils. I sometimes use a conditioner Bio Groom Silk creme rinse, which I massage into the feathers, tail and pants. The next job is to get them dry. 

Most Newfoundlands have fairly straight coats, which makes them easy to dry. However, I have a Newfoundland that has a less than perfect coat and takes extra time in the drying. I start by blowing out the excess water. I then concentrate on the back, starting at the tail and work towards the neck, blowing toward the tail at all times. To help the coat lay straight and "stay" straight I use Cindra Super Coat mixed with two-thirds water in a spray bottle, which I spray on to the coat as I blow-dry. I blow-dry the back of the dog till I think it is dry, then I blow-dry twenty more minutes, just to be sure it is thoroughly dry! I will put a thick, heavy towel on the back end of the dog to keep the coat from getting wet or blowing forward while I dry off the rest of the coat. 


Now the dog is completely dry. To trim, or not to trim? Well, I trim! I cannot stand a dog that is moving toward me and excess hair is flapping all over the place. I watch the dog move and take off any hair that is spoiling the appearance of the dog coming and going. Of course, I also trim the usual, feet and ears. I will tidy up the neck area, under the chin and chest, the sides of the front feathers and shorten up the hock hair to match the pants. I pay attention to the balance of the dog and trim accordingly. 

On the day of the show, it all starts again! I brush out the body and comb out the feathering, using the conditioning spray, then, subject to availability, I will bathe all over again and repeat the drying process. If there is no bathing facility, I will spray down the dog till it is wet throughout, then dry. Depending on where I am showing, I will spray the dog down with different liquids. In a dry climate I will use plain old water, maybe with a little moisturizer. If in a humid climate I would use a mixture of Listerine and water, this helps the coat stay "fluffed" up.

Conformation and obedience grooming Just before we go to ring side I will use the blower to make sure the dog is thoroughly dry and to give that final poofing. I then check again, to see if any bits of hair are sticking up or going in the wrong direction and trim off. I am now ready to take my beautiful Newfoundland to the show or obedience ring! 

reprinted from NewfTide 2002

Images © Chad Perry 2009, used with permission

 

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