To bring out the best in your dog’s features, hand stripping can be interesting! If your little (or big) sweetheart has a ruff or wiry coat, then this might definitely be a perfect technique for you. Before we go into more detail about when to hand strip and about the different hand stripping tools, we find it important to mention that stripping should not hurt your dog. If the hairs are ripe and ready to come out, you’re basically just pulling out dead hair, which should go easily.
In our previous posts, we talked about The Sentinel stripping knives. Would you like to know more about these before you read on? Then make sure to also check our YouTube channel, Transgroom TV. Also interesting are this video with Rony De Munter about hand stripping techniques and this video about grooming a 5-month old Lakeland Terrier.
How often should I hand strip?
Now let’s talk about how often you should hand strip your dog’s coat. If you want cheaper and less frequent coat maintenance, then you can hand strip every 6 months. This way is the easiest. The wiry top coat is completely removed and the dog is left with only the undercoat. You can compare it with clothes and underwear. In this case, the top coat is your clothes and the undercoat your undies. By hand-stripping every 6 months, you basically leave your four-legged friend partly undressed and standing in his knickers. He goes from having very long hairs to very short ones.
Is this too bare to your taste? Then we advise you to hand strip every 3 months. By hand stripping 4 times a year, you create two layers. You pluck only half of the long hairs of the top coat and leave the shorter half untouched. Thanks to this method, you will never see the undercoat or skin, because there is still and always a nice layer of hairs beneath the one that is stripped, a bit like when you’re wearing a slip dress or undershirt. It’s best to begin with this method when the dog is only 5-6 months old. The first time, you need to strip half of the coat. 3 months later, the first half will have grown already. Now, the other half needs to be hand-stripped. To achieve a nice finish, you should groom your dog’s head, neck and behind as usual.
Do you want your little sweetheart to be perfectly presentable (for shows)? In this case, your answer is creating a rolling coat.
This means hand-stripping every 1-4 weeks. A rolling coat is never very short or long, unlike when you hand strip every 4-6 months. It’s almost like a perfectly tailored dress or suit. The coat stays the same approximate length all the time. Each time that you hand strip, you only pull out the longest layer of hairs, leaving all the other layers as they are. This technique is ideal if you want to build different lengths and layers on different parts of the dog’s body. You’ll have a beautiful dog with a short but thick and wiry coat that has nice, deep colours! If you want to know more about creating a rolling coat, stay tuned. We'll tell you more about it soon!
How to better show off the coat’s colours and structure
For some dog breeds, certain parts of the coat grow faster or slower than others or they need to have a specific length. If you want to better show off your dog’s coat’s colours and structure, without doubt staging the coat is what you need to do. Coat staging is hand-stripping the coat in sections over different periods of time. This way, your pooch gets to have the ideal coat for a scheduled dog show or competition. To learn more about this technique, be sure to check out our next blog posts about hand stripping in which we’ll show you how to stage a coat in different dog breeds.
A perfect coat also starts with one that is protected and undamaged of course. To even better protect your dog’s coat against humidity and from the sun, pollution and heat stylers and to also help with damage, we have developed the Show Tech+ Protect and Shine Serum. It puts a protective layer on each hair and leaves the coat hydrated, free from flyaway hairs and with a super shiny finish.
Hand stripping with finger tools
Excited to get started with hand stripping? There are many interesting stripping tools available. If you aren’t yet that experienced, it can be hard to still see the wood for the trees. If you want to hand strip with your fingers but want to get more grip on your pooch’s coat, rubber thimbles are simply great! They have a studded surface to help you grab and hold the hairs while you pull. Your skin will also be protected from becoming sore and another advantage is that you won’t be damaging the coat because all the hairs will be pulled out in their full length. Just put the thimbles in the correct size on your finger and thumb and make a tweezer with the point of your finger and thumb. With your other hand, lift a few hairs from the coat with the help of your fingers or a brush. Now you can clearly see the hair points standing up. Firmly grip the points between your thumb and finger and pull with the hair growth. Only hand strip a few hairs at a time.
Do you want to have even more grip when hand stripping? Then use finger condoms. The Show Tech disposable ones will protect your skin and prevent blisters. Because the latex material is so thin, you will still have a very good feeling of the coat texture. Finger condoms are ideal for situations where every hair is important and when the coat must be hand-stripped from root to tip without damaging or cutting. They are also great if your beloved four-legged friend’s coat has been clipped or stripped with a sharp stripping knife, because they help to pull out entire hairs from root to tip, so the coat can recover. By pulling out a few soft hairs, there will be place again in the cuticle to produce more hairs. Hallelujah, the coat will be wiry again! Show Tech Fingers Condoms are also perfect for plucking hair from the inside of your dog’s ears.
If you prefer to reuse your finger thimbles, grippy fingers are a must-have! They sound almost like a snack, but they are actually a grooming tool as well. Grippy fingers have small studs on the front and back that grab the hairs when you pull them and are a bit the same as finger condoms, but the material is a little bit thicker and stronger. This makes them reusable.
Of course, there are many more interesting hand stripping tools. To get to know them all, make sure to check out our next blog posts!