How To Groom The Papillon

The Papillon has a silky coat which does require some attention and grooming.  I have put together some guidance, so you will be able to keep your Papillon in tip top condition, from just a quick tidy up to preparing your Papillon for the show ring.

I am a qualified Canine Beautician tutor, so as you can imagine I have tried and tested most products that are available to us, some over priced, others don’t do what the tin says and others worth their weight in gold. You really do not need a lot of products for a Papillon.  The main thing to remember is to prevent knots building up in the first place. Regular brushing ie once daily will in it self prevent the knots and will keep the coat cleaner for longer.

The ideal brush to use is a 100% natural bristle brush to groom out the coat, chose one which has firm bristles to enable it to get right into the coat. Do not use a comb on the body or ear fringes, even the anti static ones, as they will split the hair.  You will need a small pair of sharp scissors to trim the feet and back legs.  Nail clippers, metal small tooth comb (just for scissoring the legs)and toothbrush and paste, (do not use  your own  paste for humans, as there are ingredients in it which will make your dog ill).

Tipsy having a papillon bathOn bath days, choose a gentle shampoo and conditioner, it doesn’t matter what brand it is as long as it is not harsh or an anti dandruff one. With puppies I prefer to use Johnsons baby shampoo, as this doesn’t sting the eyes and is gentle for a puppies coat. Once older and dirtier you could go on to using a stronger shampoo.

Always start as you mean to go on. Be kind but firm, do not encourage your puppy to play with the brush as this can lead into a bad habit and make your task harder and take longer to finish, this will only frustrate you and your Papillon.

You need to start a good relationship and routine as early as possible with your Papillon.  Start by placing a non slip mat or towel on a worksurface or table, to groom your Papillon on. In the beginning just lightly brush in the same direction as the coat grows, praising and talking. As the puppy gets confident you can start to teach it to stand still in one place. Always support your puppy with your free hand.

I like to start from the back working forward leaving the head until last, making sure you thoroughly brush the ears fringes, legs, tail, under arms, belly and knickers, even if your puppy doesn’t have much coat to groom, this is the ideal time to start.

Trim the hair away from the pads, keeping your scissors level, do not cut inbetween the pads, it may be useful to have someone hold  your Papillon until both of you are used to doing this, you can then just concentrate on the scissors. Do this as often as the growth of coat requires.

Using a soft toothbrush, gently lift the lips with your finger and brush the teeth.

Before bathing it is very important to brush the coat out beforehand,  dilute your shampoo with warm water, this will make it go into the coat easier, shampoo twice, rinse, and condition then ensure you rinse thoroughly.  Towel dry.  Now the fun bit starts, as best as you can, keep hold of your puppy and put the hairdryer on, brushing  the coat downwards as you dry.

Once the coat is fully dry, using a comb to comb the hair on the back legs out, the area from just above the paw to the hock, (the straight bit ) Not the knickers. Holding your scissors upwards trim the hair back as close to the leg as possible, with out exposing the skin, to leave a nice slender leg.  Comb the hair away from the paws and trim round the feet.papillon shaking

I find cutting the nails last is best. the warm water helps to soften them making it easier to cut them.  Also most dogs do not like their nails cut so doing it last doesn’t upset your papillon at the beginning of your grooming time. If you haven’t cut dogs nails before may I suggest you ask your vet or nearest canine beautician to show you first, dogs have a quick, not unlike ours, so you must make sure not to cut it,  If you tip the nails on a weekly basis the quick will shrink back allowing you to keep the nails short, the longer you leave the nails the longer the quick grows so you will end up not being able to cut them back.

Quick touch ups, If your Papillon soils it’s knickers or comes in wet and muddy, just shower that area in warm water, towel dry and leave to dry. Once dry brush through. For soild bums I put some baby powder through the coat for a nice fresh smell. Never brush a wet dirty coat this will just push it into the coat and cause matting. If you prefer just leave it to dry and them brush it through.

Good luck and have fun.