I have been asked several times over the years if I did Hand Stripping.
I have always told prospective hand stripping customers 'no'.
I learned a little about hand stripping in grooming school.
We spent one whole day on it. :/
For years I never had a customer ask me about hand stripping a coat.
I hand stripped own TerrierX that had a great coat for hand stripping.
I hand stripped her up until she was 17, then the last few years of her life I just let the coat grow.
I felt that she was too old for all of that pulling.
A few of the reasons that I never offered this service is because my knowledge of hand stripping was very limited, it is very time consuming for an average pet groom, and I had no idea what to charge for a such a specialized service.
About six months ago, one of my long time customers, who had recently lost their elderly Wheaton, called to say that they had a new puppy.
A very cute Walsh puppy.
They brought him in for his first grooming at 8 weeks.
He did really well, but I noticed that he tended to be a bit toothy.
Meaning, he showed signs of being touchy about parts of the grooming process, and didn't mind using his teeth to tell you so.
I suggested that his owners start brushing him, and handling his feet right away to get him used to being fooled with.
His owners were great and did just what I asked.
He came in again for another bath at 14 weeks.
He was really good for some parts of the grooming and a little nasty for other parts, mainly anything having to do with fooling with his legs.
He also liked going after the dryer hose.
For the next four or five weeks his owners brought him every Saturday for a brush out and bath so that I could work with him.
In the meantime, the owners had also gotten a trainer to work with their dog.
With each grooming he was getting better about being groomed.
The owners also put him in doggy daycare.
While in doggy daycare, someone told them that their new Welsh puppy should not be clipped and only hand stripped.
So, they talked it over with me.
I told them what I have always told anyone who has asked about hand stripping, but they were long time customers that I did not want to lose.
I told them about hand stripping. (I have learned more over the years, still not an expert)
I explained the high cost of hand stripping.
The time involved.
The regular maintenance of the coat.
I also told them that I have groomed (clipped) several Welsh Terriers over the years.
A couple of them did lose a little of their crisp coloring from being clipped, but still looked very nice.
A few others kept their beautiful black jacket even after being clipped.
They took a week or two to decide if they wanted to try the hand stripping, or go for the pet clipping.
They decided on the hand stripping.
I was both excited and a little worried.
Whenever I had hand stripped my own dog, I had always only used my fingers.
I had never used a stripping knife, mainly because I am left handed, and for years could not find left handed stripping knives.
For some reason, about a year ago, I found left handed stripping knives at Hershey and decided to get them.
I am glad that I did, this Welshes coat is so thick.
So, I had a couple of weeks before the Welsh was do in.
I spent that time reading up, and watching a few videos on hand stripping.
I really didn't even think about taking pictures until it was too late.
I was so worried about doing a good job.
I did take one picture of the Welshes head right before I started stripping it.
Then I forgot to take more pictures during the process.
I hand stripped him in two sessions.
The first session I stripped his head and half of his body.
That was last week.
Today I finished him up.
Well, pretty much finished him up.
It is my opinion that you never really finish hand stripping a dog.
I think that they are just a constant 'work in progress'.
So, here he is after I finished with him today.
Don't be too hard on me.
I am not asking for a critique.
I knew that there are things I can improve on.
I am sure that a professional hand stripper would have a list of things to say.
But, the owners are not showing him, and for a pet hand stripping I think that I did okay.
I have to say, more power to those groomers out there that do this all of the time.
My fingers and wrist are so sore tonight.
Thankfully, I will only be doing this every six weeks to keep his coat maintained.
Oh.....he was really great about the grooming. :)
All of that working with him paid off.
✂ Happy Grooming, MFF ✂