The Scottish Terrier has a hard, wiry coat with a cycle where it starts growing and then sheds as it reaches maximum length. So, hand-stripping coordinates the shedding and makes room for a new coat to grow. The hair is removed with either a stripping knife / stripping stone, or with fingers and, if done correctly, the procedure is painless. However, it isn’t appropriate for all dogs. My dog has poor quality fur and he found stripping too painful. Equally very few groomers are prepared to do hand stripping these days – and if they do it costs a lot. It’s only really necessary if you want to show the dog.
When searching for a groomer, ask them if they are experienced at doing Scotties. A good groomer should shave your Scottie’s underbelly and the inside of its legs completely (to keep it relatively knot-free) and will shave its head quite closely – with no tufts between the ears. They should also shave a wide strip (about three widths of a blade) across the length of its back, leaving a skirt in place all around the outside. Your Scottie will lose the hard top coat but that shouldn’t cause any problems other than he might need a coat in very cold weather. They will usually trim the tail so it looks like an upside down carrot.
In-between visits to the groomer, your Scottie will benefit from regular grooming. Not only does this get them used to it as a regular occurrence, but it’s also a lovely way for you and your dog to bond. The happier and more exercised the dog, the more chilled and content they are, so you’ll find them much more receptive to a groom when they are relaxed after a good walk. Use treats to make it a positive experience and get them used to it gradually by building up the amount of time you devote to it bit by bit.
Scotties can be prone to itchy skin, so making your own shampoo, free of chemicals, is a useful thing to do. You can make your own shampoo by purchasing Paraben-free base shampoo and adding in a few drops of calming natural oils, like spearmint, germanium and German chamomile.
Many commercial conditioners contain silicone-based ingredients. A more natural option is Dr Zoo conditioner for itchy pets. It contains jojoba which is a light natural oil that is a great moisturiser that won’t weigh down the coat. Gently massage it into the Scottie fur – particularly the skirt – after shampooing. It can be left on the coat or rinsed lightly and spread further around the coat for best results when you start brushing.