The rough-coated collie, far more familiar than the smooth variety of collie dog, might not need shearing and dipping; but he does need some grooming, although perhaps not as much as you’d expect for a coat as luxuriant as his.
Stroke your dog to locate any knots or burrs. The coats of active, exuberant breeds pick up all sorts of little extras, and a collie’s long fur develops tangles quite easily. Stroking indicates to him that this is a petting session to be enjoyed rather than a chore to be tolerated.
Pick out tangles and bits of vegetation with your fingers and the comb. Snip off any that don’t disentangle or come away easily.
Comb through his entire coat, not forgetting the chest, neck and tail where the hair is especially long and prone to tangling. The comb will collect hair, so pull it off and discard it periodically.
Brush with the slicker brush anywhere that is getting a bit tangly. If he is shedding, which collies do fully about twice a year, brush his entire coat with this one.
Brush his entire coat with the stiff-bristle brush, first against the direction the hair lies to remove dead hair from the undercoat and then with it, to make him look tidy.
Pick up each of his feet individually and check for injury or stuck matter. If the feathering on his legs tends to get a bit muddy, you might want to trim it a little; the same goes for overlong hair between the paw pads. A full-scale haircut is best done by a professional groomer. If the nails are overlong – if they touch the ground and make a clicking sound when he walks over a hard surface – trim as required. Nail trimming is a procedure that you must see demonstrated in person before you. If you don’t know how, wait until the next vet visit or grooming trip and ask a professional to show you how.
Look inside his ears. If there is an odor or discharge, contact your vet. Otherwise wipe the parts you can reach with a cotton ball dampened with lukewarm water or an ear cleaning solution. Never use Q-tips on a dog and do not push anything into the ear canal. Ear cleaning is another procedure you should ask a vet or dog groomer to demonstrate.
Bathe him as required. Collies tend to avoid getting dirty – this is not a breed renowned for rolling in cow pats or on dead animals – but he might need one now and again. In this case, the procedure is much the same as for any other dog. Bathe him after grooming, not before. The shower is easiest for dogs of this size. Use lukewarm water and a gentle dog shampoo. A dog conditioner restores his coat afterward and makes it look extra fluffy. Make sure that no suds get into his eyes, mouth or inner ears. After washing him, stand back and let him shake before toweling him dry and combing again.
- Collies don’t need grooming as often as you might expect. The American Kennel Club suggests once a week, but you might want to increase this when he is shedding.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.