My Furminator Review
Does the Furminator work on Shelties? Find out what happened when we trialled the grooming tool.
The Furminator is a dog grooming tool which claims to reduce shedding by up to 90%. The design has stainless steel teeth to reach through the top coat and strip away the dense loose undercoat. I asked Howard to pose after a recent de-furmination:
It's super satisfying to see all that loose, dead undercoat come out. As you can imagine, it's important to give your Sheltie frequent thorough grooming. The brushing stimulates blood flow and removes old dead hair, allowing the skin to breathe. Shelties did not evolve their super fluffy appearance naturally; humans bred it into them because we thought it looked cute. So it's up to us to ensure their skin stays healthy with regular deep grooming (at least once a month) using a decent brush.
I like the Furminator because it reaches in through the outercoat and focuses on stripping out the loose dead undercoat. With practice you can work really fast through your dog's back, rump and tail, getting lots of undercoat to show for it. However, be careful, because the teeth can hurt your Sheltie if you brush rough, and for that reason I don't recommend its use on especially skittish or anxious Shelties.
Prior to using a Furminator, I would line brush Howard and Piper with a fine-toothed comb (just like a flea comb) which took up to an hour per dog. Then I'd go over them with a slicker brush. That worked well, however there was more technique involved and it took me a long time to go through the undercoat inch by inch.
Now I start with the Furminator and just reserve the comb for delicate areas like behind the ears, arm pits, and underbelly (basically, wherever there's no woolly undercoat). I'm also careful to only run the Furminator in long strokes down the length of the body and not backwards or against the direction of growth. This consistent approach keeps their coats free of tangles, knots and mats.
Here's a video of the Furminator in use so you can see what I mean:
It's actually ridiculous how much fur you can extract off the little butt of a heavily shedding Sheltie. In males that's about once a year, just before summer. In females it's way more often - just after each heat cycle. If you don't groom your Sheltie during these peak shedding periods you'll soon know about it because your carpet and couch will be covered in fluff.
There's a slightly confusing array of Furminator brushes for different size cats and dogs. For average sized Shelties like Howard and Piper, I suggest the Medium Dog Brush for Long Hair.
Remember that proper grooming brings out the coat's natural oils, leaving a shiny and healthy topcoat so it's important to do it often, and only when the fur is dry.
How To Photograph Your Dog
One of the reasons I made Sheltie Planet is because I have an abundance of Sheltie photos I wanted to share. I love taking pictures of Howard and Piper and being able to capture them in a way that frames that moment forever. Today I'd like to share some general pet photography tips based on what I've learnt using my digital point-and-shoot camera. I hope this helps you get the most out of your pet photography and creates some great images that you will treasure forever.
The Top 10 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds
Dogs can be smart in different ways: a breed with an acute and wellhoned ability to work will be quick to learn how to do its job. Other breeds may be so eager to please their people that they're attentive and highly trainable. But intelligence alone doesn't make a good pet. Owners need to be willing to put in the work to channel a dog's inherent intelligence - and a good owner will understand a dog's natural traits to bring out his natural smarts.