For anyone new to the breed, keeping your Rough Collie neat and tidy is not an onerous task once you know how, but you will benefit from having the right tools and a bit of practice on a couple of areas that benefit from occasional trimming, ie: the paws, the hocks, and around the ears.
Grooming keeps you dogs coat in good condition, and also helps building a close bond with your dog/puppy. Puppies will not require bathing. The only times bathing is considered, is just after the first major coat loss at approx. 14 months old. Groom out all the dead and loose hair. If the weather is kind, then he may be bathed outside using a specialist dog shampoo (One with an insect repellent is very useful) Once bathed he can be allowed to shake off the surplus wet and then towel dried.
Should your puppy be unfortunate to acquire fleas, then treatment with a product similar to “Frontline” may be used, obtainable from your Vet.
Puppies need to get used to brushing as young as possible, and short little and often sessions with a soft brush to start with gets them used to the idea and it will become a pleasant experience for both of you. Some puppies will not be ready to stand still and be brushed, but don't let them play with the brush, it is not a toy. It can be a good idea to stand them on a sturdy non slip table, and get someone to help to ensure they don't jump off and hurt themselves. Reward and praise them throughout the grooming session and finish with a cuddle and a treat.
The Rough and Smooth Collie have different grooming needs. The Smooth Collie has a ‘wash and wear’ coat, and a once weekly brush with a rubber curry comb, and/or a wash leather, and a slicker brush when moulting is sufficient.
Rough Collies do require a little more work but with a little practice, you can keep your Collie in good condition with a weekly brush and occasional trim on certain areas.
Your puppy's breeder will be able to offer advice. Collies are naturally clean dogs and do not need regular baths, and even if they get muddy, once the mud dries, it can easily be brushed off. A bath once or twice a year when moulting is usually sufficient.
Please note, that whilst it may feel like clipping would keep the dog cooler, it is likely to do the opposite. Clipping a Collie's coat stops it insulating against the heat and keeping cool in the summer.
Everyone has their own favourite items of grooming equipment, but the basics would be a Bristle Brush/Maxi Pin Brush, I would not be without my combi Bass wide head multi sectioned brush available from Groomers online HERE. You will also need a comb and scissors to trim the hair around the dogs paws, underneath and between the pads, and below the hocks - otherwise they will soon look like they are wearing a pair of slippers.
The weekly brushing routine should start with a brush first, and finish with a comb, work to a routine so you don't miss anywhere, paying particular attention to behind the ears and behind the front legs.
I often wipe the dogs coat over with a baby wipe or damp flannel/microfibre cloth and spray the coat with a light misting of water with a teaspoon of surgical spirit added or a specialist grooming spray which keeps them fresh and clean.
If the hair around the paws is left untrimmed, they can look like they are wearing a pair of slippers and a neatly trimmed foot will attract less dirt, mud and snow.
Although Collies, like any other dog, need weekly brushing, it isnt necessary to trim the hair on the feet and hocks every week. The step by step guide below may make it look time consuming, but it really does only take a few minutes and can become part of your regular grooming routine.
Tools - You really only need one pair of hairdressing scissors, but will benefit from a pair of thinning scissors as well.
If you take your Collie to groomers, please stipulate that they must not trim, or shave a Collie coat, I have had
numerous distraught owners who have left Collies in the care of a so called experienced groomer to collect
them and find they have been 'trimmed' and at worst, shaved!
We have a list of breeders and knowledgable owners willing to offer advice with grooming HERE
You will also need to ensure your dogs nails are not allowed to get too long. Regular walking on a hard surface will negate the need to do this too often, but make sure you keep an eye on the dew claw, especially with older dogs as these can grow quickly and cause the dog some discomfort. If you are not happy cutting your dogs claws yourself, your local grooming salon will do it for you for a small fee, or even your vet.
You may prefer to do them at home using a Dremel
Trimming dogs nails the easy way....
I had an unfortunate, and probably painful experience for the dog concerned, with some traditional nail clippers many years ago, and it wasnt until I saw an article in the Dog World recommending a Dremel sanding tool that I was able to trim my dogs nails myself. This was some 20 years ago now, I still have the same Dremel tool, but I still cringe if I see anyone using nail clippers.
I have the Dremel Mini Mite (above), they dont seem to make this model anymore, but there are various ones avalable from Diamond Edge, and some of the larger DIY stores.
It has two speeds, the slower speed, although it takes longer, is quieter, and easier for awkward dogs that are put off by the noise.
Replacement sanding bands are available, but make sure to use the sanding bands and not the grinding stones - the latter will cause the nail to heat up.
The only thing you have to be careful of is trimming the dew claw on the Rough Collie, as the longer featherings which can get caught up around the tool.
I have seen various ideas for getting round this, from putting a sock or stocking on the leg and poking the nail through it, or what I find easier is some micropore tape on both the underneath of the claw and on the top to keep any straggly hairs out of the way, any kind of tape would do the same job. (see below)
Some tips I have picked up along the way are to only use the sanding tool for very short periods - 2 - 3 seconds at a time and I tend to hold the paw and the nail I am working on to lessen any vibration.
I use a different method for each dog, the older ones will let me do it while they are lay on the floor and generally fall asleep, you may find it easier with the dog on a grooming table and when trying the Dremel for the first time, get someone to help in case the dog really doesnt like it and throws a wobbly.
Hope you find this useful - there is an excellent article on the internet here which goes into more detail than I have.
And a video I found on you tube below
(I do think the sound of the Dremel used here is far louder than the one I use,
but it does show how quick and easy it is)