Dogs need regular brushing to maintain skin and coat health and to keep up a striking appearance. Even daily brushing won't do your dog much good if you don't brush all the way to her skin. Line brushing gets down to the skin and keeps Fifi looking fabulous.
Line Brushing Benefits
The line brushing method works best for dogs with long, thick coats. It's a way of gently untangling their fur while brushing out loose hairs from their undercoats. The process takes time, but it ensures a thorough, down-to-the-skin brushing that doesn't pull improperly on your dog's hair and skin -- something she'll certainly be grateful for.
Proper line brushing is done while your dog is lying on her side. This allows her to relax and lets you access difficult to reach areas like the tummy and chest that tend to be neglected during a quick brush-over. Once your dog is lying down, begin by parting the hair on her back, and starting at the nape of her neck, brush out a small section at a time, working from the skin outward and brushing against the grain. Work down in a straight line to your dog's tail then come back up and start another "line" below the one you just finished. Remember to get under her arms and legs and include her tail as you go. Once you've finished one side, have your pooch flip over and line brush her other side. Some techniques recommend starting on the belly and working out, but it's all a matter of personal preference. You may find that it's easier to keep track of your lines if you start on your pup's back and work down to her tummy.
Tools for the Task
Having the proper tools on hand makes the task easier. Pin brushes and slicker brushes are valuable for brushing dogs with long hair and wide tooth combs and shedding combs are useful for dealing with stubborn mats. Wetting your dog's coat before you begin line brushing can help minimize damage to the hair too. While you can line brush your dog dry, you might find it's easier to detangle your dog's hair when it is damp, so keep a water-filled spray bottle with your grooming tools to either use on individual tangles or to mist over each line of hair before you begin brushing.
Good for Seniors
The line brushing technique is helpful to use on older dogs no matter how long their coats are. It's easy on arthritic joints because the entire session is performed while your dog is lying down. The stimulating and thorough brushing benefits all dogs, but seniors will particularly appreciate it, as it feels soothing and gets the blood circulating, kind of like a full-body massage.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.