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Photo: Jessie Cody

This is Tula from Fort Worth, Texas enjoying a day among the wildflowers.

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Training and Care — Tip Of The Week

Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
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Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Excerpt #132

Undercoat and Guard Hair

There are actually two kinds of hair that make up the dog's coat: the undercoat, and guard hair. You should be aware of this fact, because different grooming tools are used for removing or shaping one or the other of these hair types.

Grooming Tools

To do a good job of keeping your Aussie looking good, you need the right tools. You wouldn't try to cut your own hair with a kitchen knife, so don't try to groom your Aussie with tools not intended for dog grooming.

Here are some of the most important tools you'll need. Bear in mind, you don't need absolutely all of these for basic grooming. I'll point out which ones are essentials and which are extras as we go.


This is for you, not the dog, to ensure your clothes don't become covered in matted Aussie hair. It's not an absolute necessity but, obviously, it's handy.

Pin Brush

This is a brush with metal pins, used for removing loose hair. This is an important tool to have.

Slicker Brush

The slicker brush is used to remove hair that has just been clipped off with scissors, to get it out of the way so you can see what you're clipping next. This is another must-have tool.

Stripping Tool

This is not a necessary tool, but it can be very useful if your dog hasn't been groomed in a while and has thick matting throughout the coat.


Combs are used to remove knots and straighten out the hair so that when you clip you'll have a clear idea of what the end result will look like. If you clip hair that isn't straight, the end result will look different when the hair is straightened out.

Undercoat Rake

This is used to detach loose undercoat hairs. It's generally used before you start giving your dog's coat a thorough brushing.


Thinning shears will be the only pair of scissors you'll need for basic Aussie grooming. If you want to do dog show or you simply want to have your Aussie looking as well-trimmed as possible, you can invest in other types of scissors such as styling shears and straight shears. Thinning shears will do the job for a beginner as they're fairly easy to use.


You'll also need a tool or tools to trim your dog's nails. There's a variety of different tools you can use for this, the simplest of which are clippers. Some tools are more like a 'buffer' which files down your dog's nails. Use whatever your dog seems to be most comfortable with, because you want her to be calm and still for this.

Next time: The Grooming Routine

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care


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Dog Quote of the Week

"Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What's one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully."

~ Jon Katz




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