Wondering what you can do to keep your pup looking good in between grooms?  Well don't ask me, you should see my dogs!  All kidding aside, I do have a few tips. 

Arm yourself with a really good slicker brush and a metal comb.  Without proper lifting of longer coats, a brush will keep the top coat silky, while down at the skin, little mats are getting ready to take over.  The comb can be used to detect where matting is occurring, then you can use your brush to make sure you are working on that specific location.  Pay attention to areas like armpits, behind ears, and inside the legs where friction promotes matting.  Use your comb again for a final once over. 

If you decide you are going to bathe your dog between visits, please make sure your dog is fully brushed out before putting them in the tub.  After the bath, put aside time to blow dry the dog and brush again once dry.  If allowed to air dry, the wet tangled hair will dry in place and wreak havoc on a longer coat.  This can be a considerable time commitment, so if you're feeling not up to the task, I do book appointments for bath and brushouts only and at a significant lesser cost of a full groom.

I notice a lot of dogs coming in every 3 or so months have lots of buildup in their eye corners.  Usually this can be removed quickly and easily but other times it can be difficult.  Hardening of this buildup can bond itself to the skin and irritate it.  To keep your dog's face kissable, a warm cloth to wipe away the tears every day will keep the goop from accumulating.  Stains left from tears can be reduced this way as well.  I do use a product in the salon that helps to minimize the staining, but at home effort would be the best option.

Nail trimming can be tough and some people just don't want to do it.  The first time I clipped a dogs nails I was terrified.  It took me 20 minutes and when I did cut the nails, I closed my eyes!  Yikes!  You can take the tips off if you like using a guillotine style nail cutter.  Just the tips should save you from cutting into the quick.  (The quick is a vein inside the dog's nail that will bleed a little or A LOT depending on badly severed)  You can detect the quick in nails that are clear.  You will see the pink inside, only cut the white end of the nail.  If the nails are black it is impossible to tell this way.  You will have to cut carefully and watch for a black dot that will become bigger and bigger the more nail you trim off.  It will also sound much softer the closer you get to the quick.  Be cautious trimming the nails on the hind feet.  They wear down quicker than front toenails and might be filed naturally down to its shortest possible state.  If you do cause your dogs nails to bleed, styptic powder can be bought at a pet store and will halt bleeding as soon as its applied.  If you do not have any, cornstarch will also work.  I can usually do a dog's nails the day you call so if this is overwhelming to take on, you can call me.  I am also willing to show you how to do this yourself :) 

A pair of ball point scissors could be useful for the brave ones out there.  I would suggest using it only to clean up hair on the bum to prevent dingleberries and on the face to keep hair out of the eyes.  Anywhere else and you could compromise your preferred style once you come for the groom.  Again, I can help/show you how to do these things safely in person. 

Ear cleaning and plucking can be done at home with a few products.  Pet stores sell ear powder and ear cleaner.  Ear powder is used for breeds that grow hair in the ear canal.  A  light dusting will absorb oils and offer a better grip on the hair.  Gently pull the hair a few strands at a time with your fingers until the ear is pretty much clean of the hair.  Dampen a cotton ball or swab with ear cleaner and remove visible wax and dirt. In other breeds all that is required is the ear cleaner.

If you choose to purchase a clipper at any time, I would suggest investing in a professional one made by Andis or Wahl.  Having said that you will find cheap $50 dollar clippers with these brand names but they aren't worth the money.  The blade that comes with these clippers will not produce a desirable result and the plastic guard combs won't work through a coat nicely.  The motors are cheap and not strong enough and they won't last.  A lot of people purchase 2 or 3 cheap clippers hoping to improve performance but you might as well just get a good one from the start.  Plan to spend around $150-$200.  You will have to also purchase additional blades for the professional clippers but they will be efficient.  Again, educate yourself before attempting to groom your dog.  You can opt to sit in on a groom for your dog and I will give you the most useful tips.  Can't promise you're going to do a beautiful groom in the beginning but I can guarantee you will leave with knowledge about how to do it safely. 

Of course, you can skip all this and come in regularly.  I suggest an every 10 week grooming schedule to keep your pet looking and feeling good.  You may have to come in sooner such as 4-5 weeks for dogs kept in long coats.  You may be able to extend this if you get a very short hairdo.  Either way, a routine grooming schedule will ensure that your pet is always comfortable. 

Hope this helps....I'm always happy to answer questions!