a border collie dog that needs little groomingDog grooming and its relation to your dogs happiness

You might expect that a site about dog happiness would be all about human happiness too, but unfortunately what makes you happy does not necessarily make a dog happy.

To understand dog happiness we need to understand the underlying animal and dog, and yes even the breed. I will first explain what good grooming does for a dog and making it happy, then what are bad forms of grooming.

Traditional dog grooming

Grooming used to only be done on fine person’s dogs (wealthy people that is) and on working dogs. The gentry would get all kinds of crazy dog cuts (see poodle history) and it was all about fashion and pleasing the owners.

Working dog grooming still goes on, but it is a much rougher version of what the domestic dog usually gets. For instance in many countries docking the tail is illegal, however in many farming communities it still goes on in theory to protect the dog from disease. Apparently a long tail can get snagged on things or burrs or matted or any number of bad things out in the field.

Why Good grooming makes a dog happy!

Now firstly I need to make the distinction that not all grooming is good grooming.

Grooming for fashion and for grooming’s sake- has very little to do with what a dog needs.

People and groomers are often instructed to groom a dogs body shape (like a lion) or its head in a certain way so that it looks (like its breed). The point I would like to make is that while these breeds are ALL artificial – ie man domesticated and made the shape of dog and temperament he wanted.

I still don’t get why people insist on keeping with these traditions. Does a schnauzer really have to have a beard or wont it be a schnauzer without one? For me (Jenny) good grooming is one that allows a dog maximum temperature regulation and the ability to play and roam unhindered.

Since most dogs we have are of European origin (well over the last 500 years or so), then it makes sense that they mostly have very thick warm coats. If you bring a dog like that to a warm climate, whether it is shedding or non shedding, it should be shaved down a few times in summer. If it has a double or triple coat it will need this stripped extensively.

The whole point of good grooming should be for the comfort of the dog, not the visual pleasure of the owner. And sure you can shape a schnauzers head hair anyway you want to, but if it gets more burrs or gets caught up in its food, what is the point of that?

Dog happiness in this case is about physical comfort for the dog. What makes it happy at what season or time of the year. Appropriate level of coat is really what its about and what is manageable by the owner. If you brush regularly, then you might have it a little longer than usual in cool climates. Always groom as short as possible in hot summers, as long as your dog doesn’t get sun burn.