BlueMyst Australian Shepherds

Dave and Laura Fuller





Bringing Your New Puppy Home

What Now? Grooming

How often should a puppy/dog be groomed?

• Some people believe that canines do not need to be bathed unless necessary.

• Some people believe canines should be bathed about every 6 months.

• Still others say every 3-4 months.

• Some say once a month.

• Some insist on weekly baths.

Apparently, the more germophobic you are, or the more a pet is treated like a child, the more grooming the dog gets, even though research shows that being too clean can be detrimental to your health, as well as our pet's health.

If you bathe your dog too often, it will dry out the skin, deplete healthy oils from the coat and skin, and lead to scratching, irritation, and sores. It can also cause the coat to soften and reduce the insulating qualities in some breeds.

So, if you start noticing a skin condition on your dog, you need to give less baths, make sure you are only using dog shampoo and rinsing throughly, and/or consider changing the dog food to a more natural brand. Dog Food Reviews

Some dogs will scratch at the neck area when he/she is not used to wearing a collar, or when the collar is too tight.

If your dog is chewing and scratching at his/her feet, legs, or sides, he/she may be allergic to the dog food.

Many dog foods on the market are causing allergic reactions, so if your dog is scratching more often, and you don't see fleas crawling on the dog, change to a different brand of dog food.

IMPORTANT: Do not use flea and tick shampoo/products, unless they are natural products that will not harm your pets, or you. The products you put on/in your pets to control parasites are causing health issues in many pets and children. When you use these products with your bare hands, the chemicals going onto/into your pet is also being absorbed into your body through the skin. They are not safe to use. Toxic Flea and Tick Products  Poisons on Pets and You!  Natural Detox Methods Dawn Liquid Soap for Fleas

Australian Shepherds have medium length coats, and an undercoat that sheds twice/year. Aussies also tend to get mats.

We brush our Aussies once a week, and check for mats, debris, skin/fur condition, and foxtails.

We bathe our Aussies about every 3-4 months, that's 3-4 times per year, especially right after they shed most of their undercoats, which happens twice each year.

Note: Aussie owners that shorten the coat for summer, need to make sure they leave the length of the coat at least 1-2 inches long. Do not shorten the coat so much that the skin is exposed.

The coat insulates the dog from heat and cold, so shortening the coat too much may not allow the coat to do its job, protect the dog. If you must shorten an Aussie's coat, make sure there is enough fur left to protect the dog from weather.

Never shave all of the fur off an Aussie, or any other coated breed.

If you must trim your Aussie's coat, only trim the areas that are the thickest and longest, leaving the shorter areas alone.

Note: Grooming sessions are a good time to check your dog's overall condition. Before you start brushing, check your dog for sores, rashes, dry skin, or signs of infection such as inflammation or tenderness. Check the eyes for runny discharges, and the ears for foreign objects such as burrs or foxtails. The coat should look shiny. A dull coat is usually caused by a poor diet, or poor health.

If a dog has worms, one of the symptoms may be that the eyes will have a runny discharge.

If the dog has an ear infection, you may smell an odor coming from the ear(s), the dog may shake its head, or hold its head to one side, or the dog may yelp when the ear is touched.

Any behavior that is not normal for your dog, is a sign that something may be wrong. You should check the dog over to make sure you catch the problem as soon as possible. You can also research it on the internet, or call your vet's office and ask about the symptom.

If your dog has skin problems, or health issues of any kind, change the brand of dog food immediately! What's Really in Dog Food!

IMPORTANT: Possible Allergic Reactions to Canidae All Life Stages Formula  Canidae dog food may be causing allergic reactions and severe health issues in some dogs, since they changed the formula. The Canidae/Diamond company continues to sell this formula, plus many other brand names that the company makes, even though many complaints have been made.

Also, dog foods are not regulated the way human foods are, and may vary from bag to bag. Ingredients may be purchased from different wholesalers, pesticides could have been used on some ingredients, some ingredients may actually be lower grade, or not listed, and so on. Who inspects dog food?

At the present time, there are very lax or virtually unenforceable dog food labeling requirements.

Just because your dog is not showing obvious symptoms, does not mean the dog is not being affected by the food. Health issues can show up weeks, even months after feeding your dog the same dog food.

It's easy to change dog foods, it may not be so easy to fix health issues caused by some dog foods.


First, here are some examples of how to groom an Australian Shepherd, and grooming a Pomeranian.

Before the bath:

• Brush your dog to remove loose hair, tangles, mats, and debris. Bathing will only make them worse. Do any additional trimming of fur on the feet or body, before and/or after the bath.

• Grind toenails before the bath, while the nails are dry. Nail Grinders

• Clip toenails before or after the bath. Clipping nails is not the ideal method, because the pressure may crack and/or split the nails, which may cause discomfort or injury, due to the curved shape of the dog's nails, and some nails are darker colored, which make it harder to avoid the flesh inside the nail, be careful. Toenail Clippers

• Clean the inside of the ear after the bath, with a wet wipe, damp washcloth, or paper towel saturated with 3% hydrogen peroxide, or apple cider vinegar diluted with equal parts of water, sold at most grocery or pharmacy stores. Only clean the surface areas that are easy to see. The water should not drip down into the ear, so squeeze out any excess water that is dripping from the cloth. DO NOT GO INTO THE EAR CANAL.

Bathing your dog:

Before you start, close the door to the bathroom or whatever room you’re bathing him/her in, to thwart any escape attempts.

Remove the lids from the dog shampoo and rinse, and place any other tools such as a flea comb, bathing brush, washcloth, sponge, and towels, in a handy place.

Remove the collar.

Note: It's much easier to bathe your dog when you have a helper to hold the dog, while you do the bathing.

• Turn on the water and adjust to a warm temperature. Check the temperature of the water often during the bath.

• Put your dog into the bath tub with the drain open, so your dog is not standing in soapy water. Wet your dog from front to back and underneath. Try not to get his/her head wet yet. A dog with a dry head has less of a tendency to shake, or panic.

• Use a small amount of natural dog shampoo to facilitate easy rinsing, then work into a nice lather starting at the neck and moving back to the tail in the direction of hair growth. If your dog has a long coat, squeeze and press the shampoo through his hair rather than rubbing it, which may cause tangles. Do not use human shampoo.

• Do not get water into the dog's ears/eyes/nose, and be careful around the facial area. Use a wash cloth that has had most of the excess water squeezed out of it to clean the face. Use very little soap on and around the face and ears.

• Rinse using a spray nozzle, plastic pitcher, or a small kitchen pot. Do not use your cupped hand(s) full of water, it is time consuming and does not rinse as well as the other methods.

Run your hands over your dog and check for any soapy areas. You’ll need to rinse those areas again. Soap that is left on your dog can cause skin irritation.

If your dog is particularly dirty/smelly, you can reapply soap to the offending areas, wash, and rinse again.

Use a dog rinse, or rinse thoroughly with water, then sponge on apple cider vinegar (ACV) diluted with equal amounts of warm water. Allow your dog to drip dry. Using apple cider vinegar for the final rinse will help to restore the pH balance of the skin.

• Dry your dog, using a towel, then let him/her air dry, or use a hairdryer on low heat. If he/she has long hair, pat rather than rub to avoid tangles. Example of blow drying a dog

Remember, a dog is much more sensitive to loud noises, so be careful with loud blow dryers. You may want to reduce the amount of dryer use, by allowing the dog to mostly air dry.

Also, it is not a good idea to expose yourself to loud hair dryers for long periods of time. It could cause hearing loss over time. Noise and hearing loss

After a bath, expect a sudden burst of energy and running, rolling, and rubbing against the walls and furniture. Keep him/her inside and out of drafts until completely dry.

• Brush, once the dog is dry, using the appropriate brushes/combs, etc.

• Replace the collar and check to make sure the collar is not too tight. Adjust the collar, so that 2 fingers can easily fit between the dog's neck and collar after it has been fastened into place.


We groom our puppies at 8 weeks of age, so when the puppies go to their new homes, the new parents can give the puppy time to get to know them, without worrying about grooming.

If you have a new puppy, wait at least a week or two, so that your puppy is comfortable with your family and the new environment before giving him/her a bath, and only bathe the puppy when he/she really needs it.

It is also believed that a bath can wait until the puppy has had all of its vaccinations between 4-6 months of age.

A bath may not bother some puppies, but other puppies can become stressed and afraid.

This is an example of giving a puppy a bath.

The puppy may also feel less afraid if you put a large washcloth or rubber mat inside the sink for the puppy to stand on, and use a damp washcloth to wash the facial areas.


Grooming table (optional)

• Brushes, combs/flea comb, mat breaker, scissors, toenail clippers and/or animal toenail grinder, or Dremel grinder: Choose the appropriate grooming brushes and/or combs for your dog’s coat.

• 3% hydrogen peroxide for tear stains, cleaning ears, and first aid purposes.

Note: 3% hydrogen peroxide can bleach the area where it is used to a lighter color, so white will become whiter, and darker colors will become lighter in color.

• Washcloth for washing the facial area and around the ears. Do not get water and soap inside of the ears.

• Doggie shower cap, used to keep water out of the ears, avoiding ear infections.

• Dog shampoo and rinse: Never give a dog a bath with products made for people. The pH balance isn’t appropriate for dogs and can damage the coat and skin.

• Spray attachment, plastic pitcher, or small kitchen pot for wetting and rinsing your dog. Your cupped hands full of water is not enough.

• Drain screen, to keep your plumbing free of dog hair.

• Towels, for drying.

Helpful Hints:

Ask another person to help, it's easier, and the dog gets a better bath.

• Use a bath mat to help make your dog feel more secure in the tub. A slippery tub can make some dogs feel less stable and insecure, and they end up hating to take baths.

• Use a nylon leash and collar or grooming loop to help secure your dog, if necessary.

• Don’t use leather, which can stretch when wet, shrink when dried, and mold with constant water contact.

• You can place most of the bathing items in a plastic bucket for easy carrying and access.

• Open shampoo and rinse bottles before putting your puppy in the tub, so that you do not have to wrestle with caps while holding onto your dog.

• Adjust the water temperature to luke warm before putting the puppy in the tub, then check the temperature on your hand before using it.

• You can also put a few small tasty treats in a plastic baggie, so that you can reward your dog for good calm behavior.

• A detachable shower spray nozzle makes washing and rinsing much easier. You can find shower hose attachments at home improvement stores. Many attach right behind your regular showerhead.

• If you don't have a spray nozzle, use a plastic pitcher, or a small kitchen pot, for rinsing out the soap. Using your hands full of water to rinse is not enough, and will not adequately rinse your dog.

Using a shower cap or a dog shower cap to protect the ears is also a good idea.

Note: A lot of the skin problems are caused by over-bathing, using human shampoo, and by not rinsing the soap completely out of the fur. Rinse, check for soap, and rinse again.

Preparing your puppy for his/her first bath:

If your puppy becomes really upset when you try to bathe him/her, this training method may be helpful.

The first bath will go more smoothly if you introduce your pet to the idea of bathing for a couple of weeks, before actually giving the first bath. This will ease your puppy's anxiety and make baths more enjoyable for the both of you.

Step 1: Place the puppy in the tub, on a rubber mat, or towel, without water.

Put your dog in the tub once or twice a day for 1 or 2 minutes. Give him/her a treat and lots of praise while in the tub, for calm behavior. Slowly increase the time, up to 5 minutes, that your dog stays in the bath to get the treat. Repeat this step until the puppy acts comfortable in the tub, before going to step 2.

Step 2: Place the puppy in the tub, on a rubber mat, or towel, with an inch or two of water.

Put 1 or 2 inches of lukewarm water into the tub, before placing your puppy into the tub. Your puppy will only be getting the feet wet. Reinforce calm behavior with a treat and praise. Slowly increase the time from 1-5 minutes that he/she is in the tub. Repeat this step until the puppy acts comfortable in the shallow water, before going to step 3.

Step 3: Place the puppy in the tub with running water.

If Step 2 is going smoothly, try running the water while the puppy is in the tub. This will get your puppy accustomed to the sound of running water. You can reinforce calm behavior by using verbal praise and treats.

If your puppy is not afraid of the sound of running water, try pouring some water over his/her back, using a plastic pitcher. Make this a water bath, if the puppy is not afraid. If the puppy seems afraid, repeat this step using the sound of running water only, without pouring the water over his/her back. Repeat this step a few more times, if needed.

Let the dog sniff grooming tools, as the dog becomes less timid and more accepting of the tools, give praise and treats.

If you plan to use a dryer, slowly introduce the dog to the sound and the warm blowing air of the dryer. Pet dryers are recommended over human blow dryers. A floor fan on low, on a warm day, while the dog is in an exercise pen, also works well.

Before the bath:

Brush thoroughly and remove all tangles and mats, which you won't be able to unsnarl when the fur is wet. For badly matted fur, you may have to snip mats with scissors. Proceed with caution; it is easy to nick the dog's skin, and you do not want to do that. The Basics of Brushing a Dog's Coat

Using a slicker brush, stroke in the direction the hair grows, being sure to get all the way down to the skin. An undercoat rake is also handy for removing excess hair.

Mats are common behind the ears, and you may need to work through them with a stripping comb.

If the dog has any ticks, foxtails, or other embedded materials, remove them carefully. Typically, you will use tweezers.

If there is paint, tar, pine sap or other sticky substance caught in the fur, trim away the fur, or use a product that is canine safe. Dawn Liquid Soap may Help

It's a good idea to trim and file a dog's nails before a bath, especially if the dog might claw or scratch the floor, tub or you in an attempt to get away. If you're using a grinder, the nails need to be dry. If you're using clippers, some people prefer to clip the nails after the bath, because the nails are softer.

You'll get wet, so wear a smock or old comfortable clothes.

Pick a suitable location for the bath, such as a room with a closed door. This will prevent the dog from escaping and will also keep the rest of your house from getting sprayed with water. Prepare the room by removing items that could be damaged by water and any items that could injure you or the dog as you move around.

Remove the dog's regular collar. This is also a good time to check the collar and adjust for the the dog's growth. You should be able to easily slip 2 fingers (approx. 1 inch) between the dog and the collar once it is on the dog's neck.

To help you restrain the dog during the bath, you can use a nylon collar and nylon leash. Do not use leather in the water, since the water can cause the leather to shrink and to leak dye on your dog's fur. Many groomers recommend using a bathing tether when bathing dogs in tubs.

If your dog tends to bite when confronted with a bath, you might want to use a muzzle.

Use a shampoo formulated for dogs, and one that is gentle and will not strip the natural oils of the dog's coat.

Note: Do not use human shampoo, it is not the right pH for canine fur and skin. Read the directions, and be aware that some shampoos and soaps are not appropriate for all ages or types of dogs.

Oatmeal shampoos are good for dogs with itchy skin.

To protect your dog's eyes from bath water and soap, only use a washcloth that has had most of the water squeezed out of it, then slowly and carefully, avoiding the eyes, rub gently around the face.

You can also use gentle baby wipes for the facial area, ears, and anal area.

You might want to wipe around the dog's anal area with a baby wipe before the bath, and clip long soil-prone fur beneath the tail and around the anus where feces can get caught in the fur.

Choose a tub or basin that is not too deep and has a drain, so that your puppy is not standing in soapy water when you rinse him/her.

Place a nonskid rubber mat in the basin or tub. This will prevent slipping and make the dog feel more secure.

Don't pour water over the dog's head and face areas, it will frighten many dogs, and cause it to hate taking a bath. Soapy water that gets into the eyes and ears may also cause irritation and infections.

Choose a warm, draft-free place to bathe and dry the dog.

While some people have bathed dogs with garden hoses, there are drawbacks, such as the water being too cold, the outside air being too cold or windy. Your dog may also learn to hate baths.

During the bath:

Note: Having another person hold the dog while you use both of your hands to bathe him/her, is much easier, and you can do a much better job, than trying to do it alone.

• Make sure the water is warm, not hot. Check the temperature of the water each time before using. The temperature of the water can change between starting and stopping during the bathing process.

• If you plan to use a nylon collar and leash to stabilize your dog during bathing, put them on now.

• Lift your dog and place in the tub. Be sure to lift in a way that will not hurt your back.

For example, place one arm under the chest in front of the dog's front legs, and place the other arm behind the rear legs and under the tail. Stay fairly upright and lift with your legs, not with your back. For a heavy dog, have someone help with lifting the dog into and out of the tub.

• Get your dog used to the water by spraying his back and shoulders first. Keep the spray on low. Remember, scaring or hurting your dog will increase his resistance to being bathed in the future. Be gentle, work gradually, and give the dog time to acclimate. Try to keep the spray nozzle at least one inch from the dog, so that the water efficiently penetrates the fur.

Never spray water directly in a dog's face. Use your fingers, a washcloth, or sponge to move the water around the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears.

• Some experts suggest shampooing the body first, and then the head last, this is good if your dog does not have fleas.

Other experts suggest starting with the head and neck to prevent fleas from moving up the body to the head. In any case, avoid getting soap in the dog's eyes, nose, and ears.

• Don't use too much shampoo.

For dogs with long hair, massage the coat in the direction of hair growth to avoid tangles.

Work the suds down and under the tail, the underside, legs and all around the paws. And remember to clean under the neck, in facial wrinkles and the outside of the ear flaps.

A soft brush is useful for cleaning around the paw pads and other small areas.

• If the dog's ears stand up, carefully use a washcloth to wash and rinse the facial area and around the ears, or you can use a shower cap over the ears.

• A detachable shower spray nozzle is most convenient for washing and rinsing. Check the temperature and make sure the spray is not too hot or too strong, before aiming it at the dog. You can also use a large pitcher, or small kitchen pot.

Carefully rinse the dog's face and head first, by using a washcloth to wipe and rinse the top of the head and around the eyes. Next, rinse down the body until the body is completely free of soap.

If the dog is rather dirty, you can repeat the lathering and rinsing steps.

Rinse until the water runs clear so that no dirt or soap residue remains. Otherwise, the soap residue can lead to skin irritation or allergic reactions. The pet may also ingest the residue when licking her/himself. Knead the fur with your hands to help find and remove soap residue.

• You can reward good behavior by giving your dog a few treats during the bath.

After the bath:

If your dog has a longer coat, use your hands to gently squeeze excess water from the fur.

• Wrap the dog in a large, absorbent towel. Gently rub until most of the water has been absorbed by the towel. If he/she has long hair, avoid heavy rubbing that can tangle the fur; blot instead.

If your dog has urinary accidents, place a towel under him/her to absorb any urine released, while drying.

• If you prefer, you can also use a pet dryer, blow dryer, or floor fan on a low setting. Dryers are often used for dogs with frizzy or long fur.

Never aim a dryer at a dog's face, and never use overly warm or hot air, which can dry out the skin and even burn the dog. Use a low setting.

If using an automated dryer that hangs on the front of a crate, test the temperature before aiming it at the dog, and check on the animal at least every 10 to 15 minutes for safety reasons.

Note: On warm days, we put the dog in an exercise pen, inside the house, and then place a floor fan on the outside of the pen on low. It does a great job drying the dog, and the dog isn't afraid of it. If the dog acts like it is cold, turn off the fan. A floor fan is also usually quieter than a hair dryer, which keeps the loud noise away from your's and the dog's ears/hearing.

• Do not let the dog go outside in cool or cold weather until he/she is completely dry.


Trim nails on a regular basis to prevent painful splintering. You can use a Dremel sander on dry nails. Be careful with the sanders, they sand quickly. You can use toenail clippers on dry or wet nails. Be careful of trimming to short and avoid hitting the flesh in the nail, and of splitting or cracking the nails, which can be painful, and cause an infection.


If your dog is eating a well-balanced diet, and is given an occasional Milkbone, or crunchy dog biscuit to scrape and clean the teeth, you'll never need to brush your dog's teeth.

You don't need to take your dog to the vet's office for a teeth cleaning session, unless your dog has injured itself. This procedure is completely unnecessary, and can be dangerous to some dogs.

Note: We have owned dogs and cats all our lives and have never had a case of tooth decay or gum disease. Just because the dog's teeth become stained does not mean anything is wrong with them.

If your dog has bad breath, and/or teeth and gum issues, you need to find out the underlying medical condition. Healthy dogs do not have these kinds of problems. The diet may not be adequate, which can cause deficiencies in nutrients.

Note: If you feel the need to brush your dogs teeth, do it when you bathe your dog, which in normal cases, should be no more than 3-4 time each year.


You can use 3% hydrogen peroxide to gently wipe away tear stains. If a dog has leaking from the eyes, make sure they don't have worms or a medical reason for it. Most healthy dogs, do not have eyes that leak.

Remember that 3% hydrogen peroxide will bleach the fur to a lighter color, in the areas where its been used.


Squirt 3% hydrogen peroxide onto a soft paper towel or a wipe, and gently rub away the dirt. Only clean the areas inside the ears that you can see, don't go down into the ear canal.

The more you mess with the ears, the more chances of causing an infection. A lot of dogs get ear infections because their owners get water and soap down into the ear canals at bath time.


What the hell! Have you ever met a dog with impacted anal glands? Just because you can squeeze the glands and watch something come out, doesn't mean you should be squeezing them in the first place. Maybe the glands are being injured every time they are squeezed, which could be causing the medical issue.

If your dog has a problem with anal glands, have a vet evaluate the severity, and find out what is causing the problem. It may even be an inadequate diet.

Note: It is important that you protect your dog from the greedy people/company's out there that stand to make a fortune by selling you their unsafe products. Flea and Tick Products Unsafe Toxic Flea and Tick Products

Stop listening to the propaganda and educate yourself about the products you are using, or considering buying. Unsafe Pet Foods