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A Primer on Grooming Your German Wirehaired Pointer Laura Reeves – The Scotia Kennel Bernee Brawn - Justa GWPs


About the authors

The Scotia Kennel was founded by Laura Reeves. Laura's background includes involvement with breeding, training, and handling purebred dogs since 1982. With her parents, Laura handled and trained the sporting dogs of the RBD Kennel. It was from her family that Laura first learned the importance of breeding sporting dogs that are not just pretty and not just hunting fools. RBD champions were the first Clumber Spaniels to achieve Working Dog titles and later Junior Hunters. Laura is continuing the tradition of dual-purpose dogs at The Scotia Kennel. She also offers professional handling for select clients. From her you will find a wide range of dog experience, commitment to excellent ring presentation, and honesty to a fault.

Justa German Wirehaired Pointers began in 1980 when Bernee Brawn purchased her first GWP. Bernee is a firm believer that the GWP must first and foremost be a working hunting dog sound in mind and in body. Since that first GWP, Bernee has bred and owned some of the top GWP’s in the US both in the show ring, and in the field. Justa GWP’s can be found across the United States winning in competitive events, testing in NAVHDA and being wonderful companions and hunting dogs for their owners. We invite you visit our web pages to learn more about the German Wirehaired Pointer.

Other Ebooks by our authors: Hunt Em Up Pup! Starting your German Wirehaired Pointer puppy for the Field.


Grooming your German Wirehaired Pointer The goal for German Wirehaired Pointer breeders is to create a dog with a very low-maintenance coat that repels dirt, burrs and water. Sometimes that just doesn’t happen. If you own one of the GWPs with more hair than is ideal, this ebook is for you. Pet owners and hunters don’t need to spend hours creating a special “do” for their Wirehair. They just want their dogs to be tidy, not track in mud from the yard and not soak up a gallon of water in their beards with every drink. We’ve provided five simple steps to a clean, shiny, healthy GWP coat and 10 bonus tips for easy living with our whiskery friends. Keep in mind that grooming should be a treat for the dog, not a chore. Start slowly and gradually increase the duration of time spent grooming the dog. If possible, start when the puppy first arrives rather than when the dog is two years old, bigger, stronger and the hair is out of control. Regular grooming each week will reduce the amount of time required to keep the coat in good shape. Thirty minutes is about average for a dog that is maintained consistently. Your buddy will appreciate the time spent bonding and the special attention he gets on grooming day.


Tools You Will Need: 1. Comb 2. Slicker Brush 3. Mars Coat King 4. Coarse Blade Stripping Knife 5. Undercoat Rake 6. Toenail Clippers 7. Thinning Shears or Scissors 8. Shampoo 9. Grooming Table or other raised surface The tools shown in this photo are Bernee’s and as you can tell have been around a long time! Invest in quality tools and they will last you the lifetime of your GWP. Left, a sturdy grooming table with an attached arm will make your life easier, and save your back!


Grooming steps: Comb A steel comb with thinly spaced teeth at one end and widely spaced teeth at the other will be the most important grooming tool you own. Start at the front of the dog and work backward. Comb the beard thoroughly, under the front legs and work your way through the coat of the whole dog. Comb in the direction the hair grows. Make sure the tines of the comb go all the way to the skin. When working on the back, sides, shoulders and thighs, place the comb at a sharp angle, only slightly raised from flat against the dog’s coat. Undercoat will be pulled out as you go. There may be mats in the coat the first time you start working on the coat. Small mats can be pulled out gently if possible. Larger mats can be cut out later in the process. There are grooming products, like Cowboy Magic detangler, that contain silicone to help remove the mats. You should comb through the dog every week. After each combing session, brush through your dog’s hair with a firm slicker brush to stimulate healthy coat growth. Note: A special grooming table, a whoa training table, or even a picnic table will make your grooming chores easier. By raising the dog off the ground, he is less likely to wrestle with you to avoid being handled. The height of the table also will save you back strain. It is important to remember that with or without a table, finding a way to groom your dog on a weekly basis will improve your bond with him, as well as keeping his coat in the best possible condition to repel burrs and mud.


Rake Once the coat is completely combed out, you can rake out any additional dead undercoat. This step should be done every couple weeks. There are a variety of tools that accomplish this goal. Your objective is only to pull out dead coat, not break the hairs in the top layer of the coat. Undercoat is the soft, fluffy hair you see when you part your dog’s coat to the skin. The wiry topcoat is the part you want to encourage to grow, as it is the most protective to the dog in the field and will keep him looking like a Wirehaired Pointer, instead of a fluffy mutt. My two favorite tools for raking dead coat are the Mars Coat King, preferably the medium 12 or 14blade, and a coarse bladed stripping knife. If you can afford both, the Coat King is a fabulous tool. If you can only afford one, the stripping knife does double duty and can be used to pull coat in the next step. Using either tool, start at the base of the skull and pull the tool in a smooth straight motion back to the tail. Keep your wrist absolutely still. If you twist or bend your wrist it will break hair. Continue working down the sides of the dog. If you are using the coat king, use the tool much like a brush. Press firmly but not aggressively against the skin. Be very careful in the sensitive areas around the flanks, ears, throat and underarms. If you are using the stripping knife, replicate the angle you used with the comb – only slightly raised from flat against the dog’s body. Again, always rake in the direction the hair grows.


Stripping Now comes the slightly technical part. If you follow steps one and two routinely, your Wirehaired pal will look good, shed less and be more comfortable. If you want to keep your buddy looking like a Wirehair and not a mop, you’ll need to go the extra mile and pull some of the long hair on his body. This process should be about removing dead or dying hairs. Done properly it should not be painful for the dog. Done regularly, it will improve the texture of your dog’s hair, making it better at repelling dirt and burrs.

With your dog freshly combed and the undercoat raked out, take your comb and break all the rules! Comb the hair backward so you can see which hairs are the longest. I always prefer to start at the front of the dog and work toward the tail. Using your coarse bladed stripping knife or


just your thumb and forefinger, pinch a few of the longest hairs and pull in the direction the hair grows. Here again, it’s important to have no motion in the wrist. The stripping knife will cut the hair if you turn your wrist. At that point, there is no difference from clippering the coat. Using electric clippers to cut off a wire coat, or stripping it incorrectly, will result in a soft, wooly coat that is useless for protection from the elements. Cutting the hair completely changes the texture and ensures more and more work for you down the line. Working slowly and carefully at first, continue to comb the hair up and pull the longest hairs. Here it’s important to note that I said “pull”, not yank or pluck or pick. The most useful technique is slowly pulling in a motion that follows the line of the dog’s body where you are working.

I tend to do the body first and then give the dog a break. After a quick potty trip and a cookie, I work on pulling the long hair on the head and ears. I find it easiest to use the stripping knife in these areas. It provides a better grip in close areas. Pull the hair from the ear canal to help prevent ear infections. You can use an ear powder to make it easier to grip or just use the end of the stripping knife to help get a hold on the hair.


Long hair on the head should be pulled from behind the eyebrows to the back of the skull. Then, pull the hair down the cheeks in a line between the front of the ear and the outside corner of the eye to the back corner of the mouth. Stripping your dog’s coat will take some practice, but you’ll find that the finished product is distinctly tidier. This should be done once a month and will add 20 to 30 minutes to your regular grooming time.

Trim After you’ve combed, raked and stripped the coat, your buddy is looking fabulous. All that’s left to deal with are those talon-like toenails, Sasquatch feet and Grizzly Adams beard. A good pair of scissor-type toenail clippers used each week after the comb out will keep the Wirehair’s toenails short enough that they won’t scratch you or the floors and they won’t catch on anything and break while out hunting. Unfortunately, toenail trimming may be the most feared part of dog grooming in the known universe. It doesn’t have to be! This is a simple process. Most folks don’t want to hurt their dog and that’s good. By following a few simple rules, you won’t have to worry about that. First, start your dog when it’s young. Every week from eight weeks old, the pup should have its nails trimmed. At that point, you can just hold them in your lap and it becomes snuggle time as well as training to accept handling. Exercise patience and only do one foot at a time if that’s what it takes to make it a positive experience. Eventually nail trimming will be part of the attention and bonding that your dog associates with grooming day. If the dog is comfortable, he won’t wiggle and you will be able to easily see where to trim without hitting the “quick” of the nail.


Look at your dog’s toenails. If they are white or clear, you’ll be able to see the pink line that is the quick. If you trim in front of that, the dog won’t bleed, simple as that. Just like trimming your own nails. If your dog has black toenails, you’ll look for where the nail begins to curve. Cut in front of the curve and, voila, there should be no blood. If for some reason your dog jerks at the wrong time and you do cut in to the quick, don’t panic. It hurts, just like if you tear into the quick on your own finger. But it isn’t life threatening. A styptic pencil or a small amount of cornstarch or flour applied with pressure will stop the bleeding in a short amount of time. Click here to watch a video on how to trim a dogs nails. Most of the trimming on a GWP can be done with an inexpensive pair of thinning shears. After the nails are trimmed, you can use the shears or just regular scissors and trim the hair from the bottom of the footpad and around the edges. This will help keep the dog from tracking in mud and crud from the yard. You can also trim the beard to help limit how much water your pal can share with your lap after a big drink. Feet and beard trimming can be done once a month.

Bathe Now that your buddy is spiffed up, he can have a bath. Frequency of bathing is up to you. If he sleeps in your bed, he might need more regular bathing than if he is a kennel dog. For most GWPs, a bath every couple months will keep them looking good. Use tepid water and a dog formulated shampoo. I really like a shampoo designed for wire coats, as it will help keep the coat texture correct. Don’t use conditioner, since it will soften the wire coat. Remember to rinse, rinse and then rinse again. Shampoo in the coat can cause itching and hot spots. With a good towel dry and a warm place to sleep, your Wirehair is ready to go. His hair may stick up for a day or two after the bath, but it will lie back in place and look great soon.


Bristle Face Bright Ideas Beard Patrol A hand towel hanging near your GWP’s water bowl will let you dry his face after a drink without the dog using your pants to do it. Foot Patrol A beach towel laid at the entrance of the door is a great tool to teach the whoa or stay command. It also allows you to dry muddy feet before your buddy goes thundering across the carpet. Basic training All GWPs should be taught basic manners. Start with a control command. Some hunters choose not to teach sit, so they start with whoa at an early age. Down is a control command that is very useful with a rambunctious teenage Wirehair. Whatever command you choose, start teaching it early. Add stay until released, come when called, leave it and heel. Simple jobs Wirehairs need a job. Start with an easy job like teaching the dog to sit or stand before he gets his food bowl. Then he can learn to bring his bowl to be fed.


Hard jobs Once you’re fuzzy faced friend has mastered a few simple jobs, start teaching him more difficult ones. If he can find his food bowl, you can teach him to find your slippers or the newspaper and bring them to you in your recliner. Exercise Lots of exercise will help make your high energy, high drive companion easier to enjoy. Fetch games, swimming, romping in a park or open field are all great exercise. An hour a day spent on these pursuits will help keep you and your GWP fit, happy and relaxed. Play time Each day’s play time can also be a learning time. Use the opportunity to teach the dog to hold the ball until asked to release it when playing fetch games. This comes in handy when hunting and the dog is retrieving a crippled bird that would otherwise possibly escape if not delivered to hand. Quality time Your Wirehair wants nothing so much as to be with you. Preferably touching you. If he’s a house dog, that’s easier to accomplish than if he’s a kennel dog. GWPs that don’t get enough quality time will bark, dig, shred and otherwise entertain themselves with games they make up by themselves. You probably won’t enjoy these games nearly as much as he does. Bed time Wirehairs certainly love to sleep in bed with you. Starting a puppy out that way can be a disaster, as it encourages him to believe he’s in charge. Puppies should be crate trained and sleep in their crate next to the bed for the first 6 to 12 months. When they are invited to sleep in bed it is a privilege that can be removed if it is abused.


Travel time The Wirehair puppy’s early crate training at bed time will come in very handy during trips in the car. Dogs are far safer when in a crate while traveling. It protects them in case of an accident, contains them so they don’t leap into traffic when the door opens and reduces the likelihood of them distracting the driver and causing an accident. And last, but certainly not least……

Hunting time! There isn’t anything finer than a good, clean, and well-groomed German Wirehaired Pointer, well maybe a good, clean, well-groomed German Wirehaired Pointer out in the field hunting! Other Ebooks by our authors; Hunt Em Up Pup! Starting your German Wirehaired Pointer puppy for the Field

Copyright © 2009 Laura Reeves & Bernee Brawn All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this ebook may be copied or sold.

Gwp Grooming Tutorial  
Gwp Grooming Tutorial  

GWP Grooming Tutorial by Laura Reeves and Bernee Brawn

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