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I just want to say I'm so glad I found this forum!! When we first found Kenzie 3 years, I did as much research as I could about how to properly care for her. Somewhere along the way, my husband and I were misinformed about how to properly strip her coat. We'd kind of been wondering why she didn't look quite like pictures of pretty Cairns we kept seeing on the net and in calendars and books. We've mostly used a furminator on her every couple of months or so, which would strip out some of the old outer coat but we always thought we were supposed to go for the undercoat. I now know why her coat always look a little dull and lifeless. Thankfully we were correct about not bathing her very often, and when we did not using a moisturizing shampoo. We used a shampoo for wiry coats (YAY!). We also knew that you aren't supposed to shave them! (Something Petsmart apparently DOESN'T know! But that's a separate horror story!) We had bought a stripping knife, but hadn't really ventured into using it because we weren't entirely sure how to do it correctly. So, after the pointers I got in my first post, and reading more through out the sight, I think we've got it down! I just spent about an hour stripping the dead outer coat on my pretty little girl, and pulled out a grocery sack full of hair! I was amazed at how easily the coat came out! Kenzie was super great through the whole process! Gave her a couple a yummy treats, and she laid still and enjoyed the attention (plus, I think she feels a LOT better now!!).

I think in about a week or so, I'll go over her again. Didn't want to take too much out since it is still supposedly winter. (Don't tell the weather that, tho!) I am totally amazed at how much better she looks! She color is so much brighter, and you can actually see her brindling now! Once I can manage to get a good picture of her, I'll post one up!

Quick question: What do I do about her face? Does it need stripped? Or just combed through? We usually do shave the top of her nose and trim around her eyes.

So, thanks so much everybody!!

The only thing better than owning a Cairn is owning two!

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:) It does make a big difference in their color and they do feel better with their old hair off. Dempsy is in need of a good stripping. Like you, I am waiting just a bit longer till winter decides to loosen its grip. I haven't done alot around Dempy's face - I comb it and maybe pluck a few hairs, but I am not sure of what needs to be done. It is nice to refer to that article that Brad posted. I bet Kenzie feels like a pup again with all that hair off. Isn't it amazing how the color of the undercoat is so much brighter? Hair - an issue to humans and animals alike.

Elsie, Max, Meeko & Lori


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Perhaps this video will help with the head grooming: http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Hand-strip-the-Head---Cairn-Terrier-198453069 If you want to see a great vid on how to gently work on 'problem' areas, try this one and it's companion one, 003:

Some of you with 'yelpers' during grooming or those who aren't sure of hand stripping may want to watch these, too.

Hair around the eyes shouldn't be cut, but plucked. A hair that's cut has a blunt end to it that can be very 'pokey' if it hits the eye and will cause irritation, whereas a stripped/grown out hair has a soft pointed tip to it and won't cause nearly so much irritation to the eye. Do remember that you can control the direction hair grows by plucking it in the desired direction; so for the dog that may have hairs growing into the eye, plucking them will 1)remove them, 2) insure that the new growth hair will have a softer tip to not irritate/cause less irritation, and 3) you will retrain the hair to grow in the proper direction away from the eye.

[i can't imagine why you'd shave the top of her nose-- I guess I've seen too many puppymill dogs with "cage nose" where they've stuck their nose through the bars of their cages so long they've rubbed off all the hair. Due to that constant abrasion, sometimes the hair never grows back, but when/if it begins to, we rejoice in that sign that they're 'free dogs' now. Besides, I love their furry little noses.]

Since I'm not trying to show groom, and sometimes having to 'hurry' a grooming, I have used thinnng shears to quickly shape their faces. In that case, I will put on rubber gloves and do a vigorous rubbing and drag my closed fingers through the face hair to do a 'sloppy' but quick, plucking session, so I don't end up with a totally blown head.

Blown hair/coat means lots of dead coat, ready for plucking--as you've discovered it tends to be dull and lighter colored at that stage; often straw-like, lifeless looking.

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I really like the Frank Edwards video. I have an old VHS copy somewhere, but I should probably just watch one of the online snippets every week to motivate me to go groom on one of the dogs!

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The head grooming video is amazing! That Cairn didn't mind it a bit. I'm supposing that it reflects years of training to get him to stand that still.

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Megs Mom........ Thank you so much for posting those web sites. My Cairn, Luigi is six months old and this whole stripping thing has been a mystery to me. Though everyone explains it really well, until I watched those videos I was clueless. I also groom Luigi on a daily basis, (brushing) and have tried unsuccessfully to strip.... well, that's because I've been doing it all along (un-beknownst to me) while brushing. After seeing the videos I see where there are areas that I need to hand strip and I tried that yesterday. For me it was easy and effortless. Luigi seemed to enjoy it as well. So for all those who are still having issues, watch those videos they are really helpful!


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