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Imagine learning how to groom a German Shepherd at home that makes your neighbors jealous and saves your money.
You can get professional grooming from the comfort of your home when you know the right tips and have the best grooming tools for your German Shepherd.
Here is the easiest routine to give you professional quality results that’ll save you time and make your neighbors envy your talents.
1. Thoroughly brush and detangle your dog’s coat before their bath.
Brushing before bathing removes excess hair and helps decrease the time you spend bathing your GSD. Brushing also keeps your drain from becoming clogged with extra hair.
And matted hair adds extra weight to your dog and can inhibit their natural movements (source). So a deep brushing is a must!
Use a Spray Detangler to gently remove loose fur, clumps of hair, knots, and make brushing easier. Spray the detangler on your dog’s coat and spend at least 10 minutes brushing out their coat.
You don’t need a drawer full of tools to brush your dog. Or fancy expensive brushes that won’t suit your dog’s unique coat.
While the German Shepherd’s fur is naturally designed to not get large mats, sometimes the fur does tend to clump or stick together. For these clumps, use a de-matting tool that gently removes the clumps and helps make their fur tangle-free.
Follow with a rounded-tipped rake brush, which removes loose guard hairs and the shedding undercoat.
2. Convince your German Shepherd to get into the tub.
Your dog needs to feel secure with a textured surface under their footing. All it takes is one bad slip in the tub and your dog may never want to step foot near a bath again!
Use a non-slip rubber mat or a large towel to line the floor of the tub to prevent slips and falls.
While my GSD willingly climbs into the tub, your dog may not.
If your dog doesn’t want to get into the tub, you can:
Use treats to temp them in.
Spread a small dab of natural peanut butter on this specially designed lick mat that stays on your bathroom wall at your dog’s face level to coax them in and keep them busy.
Set a small stool or chair next to the tub to help your dog if they’re older or unable to get in the tub themselves.
There are also plenty of dog stairs and ramp options online to ease a large breed dog into the tub.
Place a few folded towels on the floor to protect your knees from pain as you kneel to wash your dog. And, unless you want a clogged drain, set a hair strainer over the drain so you don’t have to spend time unclogging your plumbing from all the dog hair!
3. Work up a rich lather with a moisturizing shampoo.
Start with only tepid (warm) water that feels comfortable on your forearm. Don’t just begin spraying your dog with water as soon as they get in. This may worry them!
Instead, direct them to the peanut butter on the wall or use small, tasty bits of treats to reward them for getting in the tub and getting wet.
After you’ve thoroughly soaked them, starting from their neck and back down, apply a moisturizing shampoo to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. It’s best to use a Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Essential Fatty Acids for your German Shepherd to help with general itchiness and give them a soft coat.
Work up a rich lather of suds to dislodge dead hair and dirt. Be sure to reach their skin, which can take some time since their fur naturally repels water.
Avoid spray water into your dog’s ears and face, since this could make them sick or fear to take their bath. Use a washcloth or your hands to move the water on the face.
Pull the shower curtain across as much as possible as your dog will shake the water off them multiple times during their bath!
4. Rinse, rinse, and rinse!
Any shampoo left will cause itchiness and flaking. Double-check for any shampoo on the skin, especially behind the ears back of their legs.
Be sure there are absolutely no bubbles or residue left on your dog’s skin. Shepherds are notorious for itching and scratching and any shampoo left on them will only make this problem worse.
Watch out for the neck and back of legs, as this is where the thicker has is and soap tends to stay.
5. Dry their coats thoroughly and make them shine.
Your dog will shake off water in the entire bathroom area! I like to put towels over my dog and keep the curtain closed for a few shakes to avoid the splashes. Cover your dog with towels and wipe your dog down to absorb the water.
This professional high-velocity dryer works wonders to dry your GSD’s thick undercoat. If you let the coat dry naturally it takes a very long time and moist skin is prone to infections!
The high-velocity speed of the professional dog dryer also lessens shedding by loosening and dislodging trapped fur you might have overlooked during their bath.
Use a pin brush or undercoat rake to groom your dog when they are almost dry. Add back in moisture and shine with BioSilk Therapy Detangling and Shine Dog Spray. This spray helps prevent itching and tangles and is made with natural, healthy, moisturizing ingredients specially formulated without any artificial colors to avoid irritations.
The spray smooths out their coat and gives them a shine that makes your neighbor’s jealous!
Now, admire your work! As with most German Shepherds, this perfection won’t last long!
German Shepherd Grooming Tools
Now that you know how to groom your German Shepherd at home, you’ll need to gather the right grooming tools for him.
In this section, I’ve listed the best grooming gear for your GSD that will save you time and give you professional quality results.
Click on the links to read the full reviews of each product and, when you’ve found the perfect grooming product, click to buy!
Shedding Tools for Home Grooming
Since your breed is an excessive shedder, you’ll need a shedding tool to keep your house clean and their skin healthy.
Use the Furminator De-Shedding Tool every month to help decrease shedding in your home. The soft-grip handle ensures your comfort is in mind, while the easy eject button makes removing your dog’s fur from the brush a breeze.
The Furminator brand claims to reduce shedding by hair loss up to 90% with regular use!
Most German Shepherd’s fur won’t mat since they’re originally bred to have fur that doesn’t tangle when they work outdoors.
But sometimes their thick, longer hair does clump and needs a bit of help. Use the de-matting rake to loosen the clumps of fur and keep your dog’s hair smooth.
The Dakpets De-matting Rake Comb is inexpensive and reaches down into the undercoat to gently pull out the hair and loosen any thick fur that is stuck together.
The tool’s blades are manufactured from high-quality stainless steel with rounded edges to prevent inflammation to your dog’s skin.
The de-matting rake comb is specifically created for use on double-coated dogs, so it’s ideal for your German Shepherd’s thick undercoat and smoother guard hairs.
Pin and Bristle Double-Sided Brush
The double-sided pin and bristle brush gives your dog a smooth, shiny coat and removes loose fur sitting on your dog’s outercoat.
One side of the tool is a soft-bristle brush. On the other side is a mat of plastic-tipped pins.
The double-sided pin and bristle brushes are handy. They save you the expense of buying a separate soft-bristled and pin brush.
The JW Gripsoft Double-Sided Brush is furnished with a rubber-sheathed handle design to offer you ultimate comfort and precision when grooming both larger and smaller areas on your dog.
Gently use the pin side of the brush to get rid of loose undercoat or debris, such as twigs, leaves, or dirt. The soft brush side is then used to remove any shedding hair from the top of the coat and leaves the fur with a lovely shine by distributing the natural oils in your dog’s coat.
An undercoat rake is a necessary tool. Don’t get caught without this brush!
The rounded tips are smooth and don’t irritate your dog’s delicate skin while removing excess fur from both the undercoat and the topcoat. During shedding season this tool is essential for keeping your home clean and your dog happy.
The Furminator Undercoat Rake eliminates fur that would fall to the floor by reaching through to the thicker, tighter coat. This thicker undercoat holds the loose fur that winds up on your floors and furniture.
But the Furminator Undercoat Rake removes this fur to keep your Shepherd’s skin healthy and hasten the shedding process.
You can use the undercoat rake daily and most dogs enjoy the massaging tips which also help stimulate your dog’s natural oils and give them a glossy coat and shine.
High-Velocity Professional Coat Dryer
Don’t use your own hairdryer on a German Shepherd because this can burn their skin, cause dryness and itching, and will take hours and most likely destroy your hairdryer since they’re not built for extended use.
The tip that most professional dog groomers use to reduce shedding and give the coat body is a High-Velocity Professional Dog Dryer. High-velocity dryers are made for double-coated breeds and reduce shedding by blowing out the fur that is already loose.
They also don’t get hot enough to burn your dog’s skin and reduce your drying time significantly. In winter, this is especially important since a wet undercoat can make your dog sick.
In summer, the dryer blows out their thick fur and keeps them cooler by reducing the amount of hair their undercoat holds.
How Often Should You Groom Your
You should groom your German Shepherd at least 4 – 5 times a week with a rounded tip rake brush using gentle strokes. You only need to bathe and wash your dog about every 4 – 5 months. But, German Shepherds are high shedding dogs that require routine brushing to keep their fur and skin healthy and reduce shedding in your home.
Grooming doesn’t only mean bathing and brushing, though. Grooming your German Shepherd means a complete at-home program to prevent problems and keep your dog healthy.
Yes, German Shepherds need to be groomed! Especially since they’re high shedders with thick undercoats. Grooming is important to stop your Shepherd’s coat from matting and grooming at home keeps your dog’s skin healthy.
While grooming your dog check for any lumps or bumps, red irritated skin, dry patches, or parasites. Make sure to bring them to your vet’s attention and keep an eye on them.
A careful brushing removes loose and dead fur from their coat which helps to keep the skin healthy and their coat shiny.
Grooming your dog also massages their skin. This improves their circulation and spreads their natural, water-repelling oils, keeping them more protected from the elements.
Best of all, regular grooming reinforces the bond between you and your dog! Another popular way to bond with your dog is through obedience training.
How to Groom a German Shepherd at Home for the Best Results
Knowing how to groom a German Shepherd at home is important because it prevents serious health issues and spots potential problems.
It’s also a necessity because GSDs shed a lot—all day, every day, and even more during certain seasons!
German Shepherd grooming at home keeps them healthy and happy. It can be a pleasurable experience for both of you!
Use the right tools to make home grooming easier on you and to give you professional results, stick to a routine for the best results, watch out for areas that are prone to clump, rinse thoroughly or you may risk skin irritations, and dry your GSD fully to keep their skin healthy and supple.
Catherine Krasavin owns Shepherd Sense, a dog website aimed at German Shepherd owners and lovers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, and has been training dogs for over a decade. Catherine’s currently attending continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in animal science, as well as earning her diploma in dog training. She owns a plush coat German Shepherd who was awarded Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award - the highest level of achievement.
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