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Hand stripping recommendations in Mid-Atlantic region


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Hi everyone,

I have a 7 month old male cairn terrier that is in need of his first hand stripping session. I have been calling various groomers and vets in the MD-VA-DC-PA region and have yet to find anyone that has availability in the coming months or can accommodate new clients. I would try hand stripping myself, but worried about traumatizing my guy because I have never seen it done before.

Does anyone here have any resources or ideas that I could try? I am willing to drive a decent distance to find a reputable hand stripper that I can establish a relationship with so that I can begin to set up a regular cadence for hand stripping into the future. 

Thanks for all your insights and input, hoping to get some scheduled sooner rather later!



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Suggest visiting local dog clubs, dog shows, contacting cairn breeders or others with double coated dogs like cairns.

I live in a remote area where unable to find someone who strips. In the end I learned to do it myself with much help from people on this site.  Look in the grooming section. There's lots about coats there. I found that the dead hair comes out easily. Stripping takes a long time and for many groomers it's just not worth while. A frequent good brushing helps a lot.

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Seconding Hillscreek's suggestions.

Your area is thick with Cairn breeders and shows. You might back into a groomer indirectly by seeking out recommendations from one or more of the breeders from the national club's directory (https://cairnterrier.org/index.php/Breeders/list-by-state).

And as Hillscreek mentioned, the stripping process itself is the same for all the double-coated terriers even if the end shape differs. Norwich/Norfolk, Westie, and Scottie folk are good bets. 

And learning to do it yourself can be satisfying (and economical ) but I definitely get the appeal. I'm perfectly capable of grooming our own dogs and used to do so, but now prefer to help fund a breeder-friend's retirement by giving her our two a couple times a year :P  

CAIRNTALK: Questions? Need help? → Support Forum Please do not use PMs for tech support
CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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I also agree with Hillscreek...and with your decision to find a professional groomer for stripping.

 In the years ahead, it might not always be convenient to get to a groomer, so it's good to know how to do some touch-up grooming/hand stripping yourself. I'm attaching pix of grooming guide. It's not for hand stripping, but gives a good idea of shaping and other info. (I was able to enlarge the type for legibility on my computer screen and assume you can do the same)

A groomer once told me that you must only tug 4 hairs at a time to avoid making the dog uncomfortable. I was stunned to imagine how long this would take, 😱 but she reassured me that it goes pretty fast as you develop more skill... Whaaat!

Hope this helps. Good luck!




Edited by sanford


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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone, just wanted to update that your suggestions were spot on! I wound up connecting with a lovely retired breeder who still does hand stripping in her off time. Great experience, reasonable price and my little guy is on a schedule now for hand stripping to keep his coat in tip top shape!

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