Grooming your cocker spaniel by Syvie D'Amboise,
Lanaudière Perm. Registered ©

A cocker which is not groomed will have a neglected appearance. Competition grooming is an art. Beauty salons for dogs are not in a position to groom for competition. There is virtually only the breeders or the professional handlers who know enough about it to give you satisfaction. If your breeder sold you a dog who will eventually be a show dog, it would be best that he is groomed by him since a show dog will not be groomed the same way a house pet.

  1. The bath
  2. The drying
  3. The clipping

1. The bath

After cutting the claws, put your dog it the bathtub. With a showerphone, wet your pet's coat. Splash its coat with a good dog shampoo which has previously been diluted in about 10 times more water. Shampoo well without scrubbing too much not to mess up the coat. Repeat and rinse well. Mix the rinse solution : 1 part rinse for 20 part water and spread over the dog's coat, let it penetrate for a few minutes. Rinse abundantly. Wring out your friend with a couple of towels.

2. The drying

Make yourself comfortable to dry your dog because it is a very long procedure. Start by drying the inside of the ears and then the outside, by brushing the coat the wrong way (against the growth of the hair). The skin of the ear is very long to dry. It is important that the dog is dry before getting to the next step.

3. The clipping

You will need a clipper with a #10 blade to do the ears, the top of the nose, under the eyes and the throat. A #8½ or #7 blade for the back, the top of the head, the neck, the cheeks and the lips.

Set the dog standing on the table. Grab an ear and clip it against the grain starting at the bottom of the fold and going up. Do the same on the inside of the pavillion. Neatly clear the orifice of the ear. Be careful not to cut the fine skin inside the ear. Repeat on the other side. Using the same #10 blade, clip from the nose to the forehead, making a V shape in between both eyes.

With the #8½ blade, going against the grain, clip the top of the skull. With a view top of the head, stop clipping at the imaginary line in between the ears.

Always leave the front hair on the forehead: it will be trimmed whith thinning shears to give it a squareness look. Set the dog in a standing position with its nose toward you. Bring the ears to the nose to clear the neck and use blade #8½ from the base of the ears to the shoulder clearing the front.

A suitable grooming will give your dog the desired appearance for its race. Your dog will also feel more comfortable and you will be happy to admire him.

(Show dog)
Afterwards, start by clipping the back with thinning shears or with a stripper. The tail must be cleared underneath with the clipper and blade # 10. The rest of the back is trimmed with the thinning shears. Brush the coat while thinning until the desired appearance. This is a precision trim and you will acquire success with time and practice. Practice makes perfect!

(House pet)
Afterwards, using your clipper and blade # 8½, clip the base of the skull toward the back to the tail. Do the same for the whole back but when you get to the sides go down slowly without making any demarcations. To avoid this, lift your blade slowly when you go down the sides.

The last step is to clip the paws, nice big rounded paws. Set the dog in a standing position. With straight shears, carefully clear the cushions under the paws. Always brush the hair during the trimming to make sure you give it the desired fullness. It requires a lot of time and practice to achieve this. Since the coat grows very fast, you will have a lot of leisure time to practice.

One thing to remember: A fine grooming must have a natural look without any apparent strokes from the scissors.