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Most of us consider washing, brushing, and trimming to be good habits to keep our dog’s coat in good condition. Regular grooming also helps keep the pet’s skin and coat healthy. But there are dog breeds like the Schnauzer with a wiry coat that need hand stripping for proper grooming. Hand stripping is different from regular grooming techniques using scissors and clippers.
In this guide, let us try to understand all you should know before attempting to groom your Schnauzer using hand stripping.
Hand Stripping a Schnauzer
Schnauzer parents know that their canine requires more than a regular grooming session because its unique coat and hair. These dogs have wiry coats. As it grows, it does so in a specific style and gets thicker and denser. If the dead hair is not removed regularly from the topcoat, it can negatively impact the appearance and health of your dog.
Hand stripping is a unique way of removing excess hair from the undercoat rather than clipping or cutting the top layer of the coat. As the name suggests, it is done by holding and pulling the layer of wiry hair on the undercoat to leave a soft, healthy coat. By removing the soft undercoat hairs completely, you give space for the new coat to grow.
Hand Stripping a Standard Schnauzer
For Schnauzers, the process of hair shedding is slow. The hair doesn’t fall out even when it’s dead. That’s why they need a little help plucking out dead hair through hand stripping. In this process, you remove the old hair to let new, healthy, shiny hair grow. Without hand stripping, your Schnauzer’s coat can lose its function and quality. It may no longer protect the dog from the cold and won’t comb well.
Hand stripping is a tricky process that requires some guidance from a professional groomer before you can attempt it yourself. It also needs some practice to avoid pulling too little or too much. You can start by placing the dog on a grooming table or counter. Then, use the forefinger and thumb to grab a few strands and pull gently to remove them. If the hair is dead, it should cause no pain to the dog and come out easily.
Consider breaking down the stripping session into sections and carry it out over a few weeks.
Hand Stripping a Mini Schnauzer Coat
A mini Schnauzer requires hand stripping in preparation for ring shows. The process improves the texture and color of the canine’s natural coat. A stripped coat not only becomes dirt- and water-repellent, but it’s also harder and does not mat like a clipped coat.
To strip a pup, you can puff some ear powder to the area, rub it onto the coat and use the index finger and thumb or a stripping knife to pull small amounts of hair. You can also consider pinching the skin between the finger and the thumb while pulling the hair with the other hand. It’s essential that you keep the wrist tight and not use a twisting motion while pulling, as this can break the hair. Schnauzers should be bathed before and after the session to minimize the risk of infection in broken skin.
When pulling the hair with your hand, always keep the pup’s skin taut to make it easy and pull the hair in the direction of the hair growth (as doing otherwise can be painful). Gently tug on the coat to see how easily the hair comes out; blown or dead hair comes out quickly. Stripping is generally done in sections as the coat grows at different rates on different parts of the body. The front and the head are stripped last as hair grows quickly on these areas.
Do stripping about 10 weeks before the show to leave enough time for corrections. Sections are done a week apart, though some may need it done every five days. Most dogs get their coat stripped down to the skin, leaving the entire area bald. Other pet owners leave the undercoat to be pulled later. The latter is more effective on dogs with heavy undercoats but takes more effort.
In black, silvers, salt, and pepper schnauzers, all the dark areas are first stripped and the lighter areas are left untouched. The blacks get all the areas stripped to maintain a uniform color.
Schnauzer Stripping or Clipping – Which is Better?
Hand stripping is generally preferable for Schnauzers as it retains the hard topcoat that gives them their distinctive look, particularly the salt and pepper color pups. Clipping, on the other hand, removes the topcoat and leaves the undercoat soft. This will result in a gradual color fading while the wiry hair loses its water repellence.
Hand stripping involves using the fingers or stripping knife to remove dead topcoat hair. A stripping stone is generally used to remove the soft undercoat. When you use clippers, they simply cut the old dead hair without removing them completely. As a result, new hair doesn’t get enough room to grow.
Clipping the wiry hairs of your Schnauzer also prevents the coat from properly growing, making it difficult to hand strip in the future.
Stripping a Schnauzer – Cost
A Schnauzer, both standard and miniature, is a demanding pet with extensive grooming needs. They need routine clipping and hand stripping to keep their coat shiny and healthy. Hand stripping is a time-consuming process but quite beneficial for your canine. Pet owners generally prefer visiting professional groomers for hand stripping as the procedure is quite complicated and requires patience.
The cost of stripping a Schnauzer depends on the size of your dog, the coat type, and other requirements. The general cost of hand stripping at most grooming services ranges from $60 to $200, with most groomers charging about $80 for a miniature and $100 for a standard Schnauzer. A Giant Schnauzer can cost more based on the location and reputation of the groomer. Overall, it’s an expensive service because it requires about six times the time for regular grooming.
The groomer can use a clipper to shave off a pet in five minutes and about 30 minutes to hand strip the same area. The pet groomer will also give the dog sufficient breaks and take time to pull the hair to avoid any irritation or cuts resulting from improper use of a stripping knife or friction against the coat.
Hand stripping might seem complicated, but professional groomers can provide you with adequate guidance on how to hand strip your Schnauzer at home. This should keep your fur baby happy and healthy.