Always brush the longer hair, legs, and beards before bathing. The oils and dirt in dirty hair actually helps knots and mats to brush out easier. Using thinning shears on the matted area will also help. Bathing knots only tends to make them tighter — and harder to get out.
When bathing the dog all over, getting the head wet last will help to keep them from shaking soapy water all over you. Use cotton balls in the ears if you're afraid of getting water in them. If you get shampoo in the eyes, rinse them with saline solution for contacts.
Drying and brushing
Always groom your dog on a table with a noose. This is safer for the dog and enables you to have both hands free. It is better if you dry your dog with a hair dryer, rather than let them run around rubbing on your carpet and furniture!
Grinding toenails sometimes works better than cutting. SOMETIMES, let's face it they are Schnauzers and they just don't like it!!! BUT it is important to keep those nails short. Long nails can get hung up on carpet or crate grates and tear off, making for lots of blood and a very sore toes.
Long nails also can splay the foot and cause arthritis as the dog ages, not to mention how they hurt (us) when jumped on. I know we all hate to tackle this, but please try.
If you cut or grind a nail too short ☹, use styptic powder, such as Kwik Stop. You should always have that around, but if you are caught without it, try apply flour (baking type) or a moist tea bag on the nail and apply pressure. If you cannot tackle this on your own, take your dog to the vet's office or to a groomer at least every 2 weeks to keep their feet healthy.
One of the best tutorials I've seen on caring for your dog's nails is on the DogsNaturally magazine website. The article is “A Stress-Free Way For Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails,” by Dr. Karen Gellman. Click on the article title to read it.
Ears with NO hair are best. Grooming (or ear) powder makes pulling the hair out much easier. Lots of us teach our dogs to lay on their side when on the table. This is a big help with ears. You can see and pull those long critters out of their brains!!! Forceps are a handy tool for this project. Lots of hair in the ears can get wet and hold the moisture, making a wonderful place for a yeast infection to start. Not to mention they hear better!!! Again, please have your vet or groomer do this if you are unable.
When clipping a dog, in the summer I use a #9 or 7F blade on their bodies and most people use a #15 on their heads and butts. I use a #40, but watch out for clipper burns — this is a surgical blade. I find if you start clipping with this blade and keep up on a regular basis, the skin grows used to it.
Winter cuts can be done with a #7F or #5 if you like to keep some hair on them for warmth. Remember, with Andis and Oster blades, the higher the number, the shorter the cut. Groom on a regular schedule such as every 6 to 8 weeks EVEN if it is winter and you want the coat longer for warmth. Just because you want them longer doesn't mean you skip grooming. Ears, toenails, and bathing are still needed!
Remember, these are Schnauzers and should look like one 90% the time … The Old English Sheepdog look is out! Please groom your dog!
Shampoo and Conditioners
I use a whitener/enhancer shampoo found in all the stores and catalogs. Cream rinse conditioners are also used to help soften legs and beard. I do not use it on the dogs body.
I do bathe my stripped dogs. It will not ruin your dogs wiry coat! Remember, they are working dogs and it does rain from time to time when working the fields in Germany 😉. It will help your dog's skin and brighten the coat. When stripping, I always bathe even more when they are in undercoat. I bath my black dogs 2 days before showing as their coats tend to get dull or dusty looking!
These suggestions are based on my own experience grooming Schnauzers. For more detailed grooming see the Standard Schnauzer Club of America's web site. They have wonderful grooming advice. I couldn't have done better myself! Happy grooming!
What upsets me the most is when I get pictures of my babies and they are groomed like a westie or scottie. PLEASE show your groomer pictures of the parents or dogs off of our web site. DO NOT assume that all groomers know how to groom Standards!!! Talk to your groomer BEFORE you let them groom your dog!! It is important to me and it should be to you as well, that they represent the breed well! — not to mention "Shana" kennels.