How to line brush a dog. What is Line Brushing?
Line brushing is a grooming technique used on dogs that gets down to the skin, beneath the coat. Dogs need regular brushing to maintain proper skin and coat health. Even daily brushing won’t benefit your dog if you are not using the proper tools, techniques, or products. Learn more with our full tutorial below.
Video: Sheepdog Riggs is a graduated senior in life, and had a very busy day. We must respect his physical limitations. Hence, we did not intend or prepare to take this video, but it is here for educational purposes.
Full Written Tutorial Below:
Line Brushing Tutorial for Dogs
What is Line Brushing?
Dogs need regular brushing to maintain proper skin and coat health. Even daily brushing won’t benefit your dog if you are not using the proper tools, techniques, and products. Line brushing gets all the way down to the skin. There are quite a few variables when it comes to dog coats, so knowing what type of coat your breed has, and what type of tools are required to maintain that coat is essential for optimal lifelong preservation and health.
Why is Line Brushing Important?
Line brushing gets down to the skin, beneath the coat. If only surface brushing (brushing or skimming over the coat), your dog may look nice, but matting and debris are hiding beneath the coat, next to the skin. The longer this is left, the tighter the matting becomes. This can restrict air flow, trap moisture, parasites, cause irritation, and sores. Even the mildest matting can be painful, and in severe cases, matting can cut off circulation to the dog’s skin, and create hematomas.
Tools Needed: Caring for your dog’s coat properly starts with choosing the right type of tools:
- Depending upon your breed and their coat type:
- pin brush, slicker brush, undercoat rake, deshedding tool
- Spray bottle filled with coat conditioner, detangler or water – never dry brush.
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How to Line Brush:
- Get your dog comfortable and prepared for grooming. They can stand for this, or have your dog lay down on either side of his body. -We are accustomed to both, and both are valuable life skills to have on the table.
- It does not matter where to start, as you can “dive in”, anywhere. However, this can be an overwhelming and intimidating task – “where do I begin?” – so here is a guide to get you started:
- In 1″ sections, (less than 1″ if you have a small dog), you can use your comb as a gauge; begin by grooming at the lowest point on your dog that has a long, full coat.
- By looking at the Old English Sheepdog, (or any dog with a lot of hair on his legs), start by grooming just above the feet. If you have a dog with fringes on the legs rather than a full coat, start grooming along the lower rib cage, or on the shoulder, right above the front leg.
- *Never dry brush. Mist your dog’s coat until it is damp, to ensure that you are always brushing or combing moist hair.
- Brush the entire coat section (1″) in the direction of the growth of the hair to separate any hairs that have stuck together. (With legs, groom vertically).
- Brush the hair against the grain of the coat growth; brush again. Repeat these strokes gently, and work in 1″ sections. Remember to mist the coat with product to not break coat. Gently brush until you are able to hear or feel the brush moving through the coat.
- “Check your work” with your comb, making sure your comb can get through coat, down to the skin (“smooth like butter”).
- When you have successfully completed that section, “line”, move onto your next section, “line”, 1″ – using your comb as a guide to move through your sections of your dog’s whole body.
- Part the coat.
- Mist the coat.
- Brush with the growth of the coat.
- Brush against the grain of the coat until you cannot feel or hear your brush moving through the coat.
- Checking your work with a comb.
- Moving onto the next line.
*The important part is to not treat your dog like a Christmas tree – no cheating! Pay special attention to the legs, chest, rump, behind the ears, ears, belly, and tail, if they have one.
How Often Should I Be Brushing My Dog?
- Maintenance Brushing: While it may seem tedious, and daunting, regular maintenance gets easier, especially if you keep on top of it. Maintaining coat health by brushing is recommended at least every couple of days. If you keep on top of it, you’ll only have to brush higher maintenance coats fewer minutes each session
- *Remember, this is supposed to be a bonding time between you and your dog
- Brushing is especially of particular importance after getting wet; before and after bathing; swimming, and rain.
The Benefits Include:
- Builds and strengthens the bond between you and your dog
- Regular brushing stimulates skin, coat health, and coat growth
- Distributes natural oils throughout their coat, keeping their fur nice and shiny
- Prevents matting
- Reduces shedding
- If you have a breed or mix that requires regular clipping and you would like to keep their coat length preference, you will need to stay on top of brushing at home. Otherwise, they will have matting when they go in for their grooming appointment and may need to be clipped or shaved closely
- Allows for proper physiological homeostasis of the integumentary systems, keeping your dog cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
Danielle & Sheepdog Riggs
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