Grooming Your Schnauzer
A WELL-GROOMED Miniature Schnauzer is a delight to the eye, and should be a point of pride to the owner. The breed loses much of its character and charm if the coat is not properly maintained.
The grooming instructions in this chapter are intended to educate the new owner in all facets of grooming and general coat management. The instructions may appear lengthy due to their detail, but once digested and experienced, you will want to know even more.
The first-time owner will probably be dealing with a three to four- months-old puppy, already with ears cropped and fully healed. If your puppy is uncropped, it is assumed that this is as you wish and the ears will remain natural.
The new puppy, purchased from a reliable and responsible breeder, will arrive with a multitude of instructions, hopefully even some on initial grooming. If you prove to be a worthy owner, that breeder may serve as mentor, providing a constant source for needed information and advice.
Purchased from a responsible breeder, your new puppy will have already had considerable experience, and will arrive in a neat and tidy condition. If it was agreed that yours is a "pet" puppy that will not be shown, chances are he will already be neatly clipped in a proper style, and maintenance thereafter will always involve electric clippers as your principal tool.
If there is to be a future in showing, be sure the puppy is not machine clipped early on, as this will make the required initial stripping process more difficult.
In either case, the grooming process should begin immediately. Proper training during puppyhood can mean the difference between an individual easily managed, leaving both hands for the grooming process, or one that leaves neither to do the job intended. Be kind, but firm. Keep the sessions brief in the beginning, and follow them with some reward, like a favorite tidbit or a brisk walk. There is much to be learned by you and the puppy during these first few months.
Tools and Equipment
Regardless of whether you intend to show or plan simply to maintain a well-groomed pet, certain basic tools and equipment are required. The advice of a mentor will prove invaluable in securing the best for the least. If this is not possible, another source may be a local grooming shop. The average pet store may not be equipped to handle your needs if you are planning to show you puppy. It may, however, be able to supply you with the address of , or catalogs from, wholesale pet supply houses. These are by far the best source for the sophisticated grooming gear needed. Another source may be at a local AKC sanctioned dog show, where suppliers and vendors have booths for direct sales. The selection may not be as complete, and the prices will surely be higher than those offered through wholesale catalogs. You will, however, be able to see firsthand the large assortment of grooming paraphernalia available.
Consider the grooming tools and equipment to be a lifetime investments and buy the best you can afford. A grooming table with a restraining arm, two combs, two brushes, two scissors, nail clippers, stripping knives and a hand and/or electric clipper are all required items.
Grooming tables are manufactured in a variety of styles, each suited to special needs. They are readily available through wholesale catalog suppliers as well as some national chain stores. Along with the required grooming arm or post, this may be your most costly investment. If you are planning to show your dog, you will certainly need this equipment for working both at home and at the shows.
If you wish to improvise, the simplest solution would be to secure a piece of one-half to three-quarter-inch-thick plywood, approximately 18 inches wide and 30 inches long. This can be topped with rubber matting, and a clamp-on post can be purchased or even improvised if you are handy with plumbing supplies.