Dog Breed Info

Prepping Phase

The first phase in taking care of man's best friend is the prepping phase, which is where all the technical procedures are performed to prepare the dog for the bath. These task are conducted after evaluating the dog's evaluation for the grooming has been completed.

A proper prep before the bath will allow the professional to complete the remainder of the phases with ease and efficiency, thereby creating a compassionate time frame to complete the grooming and styling procedure on man's best friend. The prep phase is also referred to as the foundation in the art of grooming and styling dogs, therefore, without a solid foundation, it would be impossible for you to create your ultimate work of art. Some tasks are started and completed in the prep phase while others are started and may be continued through several or all the phases before they are complete.

The eye area is prepped for the bath by removing excessive hair, if applicable, from the corner of the eye area by either clippering, hand plucking or by using thinning shears, especially if the hair has been trimmed previously or if there is new growth. If the hair has been trimmed previously, the new growth will stick out after it is clean. Many pets have excessive tearing and if left over a period of time, the tearing dries, forming a crusted mass that sticks to the hair and skin and is very difficult to remove. A clipper with a #10 blade is used to go under the mass to shave the hair, removing the crusted mass along with the hair. If a #10 blade will not go under the crusted mass, a shorter cutting blade will have to be used and in some cases a surgical blade such as a #40 blade is used to remove the mass. After removing this crusted mass, the skin is normally irritated and will have to be treated with a medicated ointment.

If the crusted mass is attached so tightly to the skin that it is difficult to slide the clipper blade under the mass, soaking the mass during the bathing phase may also be an option. The care of the eyes will continue in the bathing and finishing phase.

The hair in the ear canal should be removed during the prep to allow for a thorough cleansing with the liquid ear cleaner during the bath phase. It is also easier to remove ear hair using an ear powder. This ear powder should be wiped out of the ear during the bath. If left, the ear powder could cause skin irritation.

Nails are trimmed and filed in the prep phase and should be completed during this phase. If the nail is quicked, a coagulant is used to stop the nail from bleeding. This coagulant can leave a stain on the coat that can be cleaned during the bath. Trimming the nails on a very large dog can be difficult because of the hardness of the nails. A bath softens the nails, therefore making it easier to trim the nails after the bath. If the nails have to be trimmed after the bath and the nail is quicked, a waterless shampoo product or hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean the area to remove the stain from the coagulant.

Sanitary Clipping
The stomach and rectal area are clipped. The sanitary clippering is started in the prepping phase and must be repeated and completed in the finish phase.

Excessive coat is removed by clippering or scissoring
Removing excessive coat in the prep reduces time spent in the bathing, drying and brushing phases. Clippering and/or scissoring techniques are used to remove the excessive coat. The type of technique used depends upon the coat type.

Matted coat is removed by clippering
Clippering to remove matted coat is done in the prep phase. Typical areas are behind the ears, under the tail, the armpits and stomach area. It is best to remove the tight, hard matts on undetermined coat types before the bath to allow for products to do their job on the skin and coat.

Matted coat removed by dematting
Dematting the coat begins in the prep phase but may continue through the bathing, drying and brushing phase.

Dead coat removed by brushing and/or carding.
The removal of dead coat by brushing or carding is a procedure that begins with the prep and continues in the bathing, drying, brushing and finishing phases.

Dead coat removed by handstripping
Dogs that fall into the wire coat type category require handstripping to remove the dead coat before the bath. Handstripping begins and is almost completed in the prep phase. Handstripping is done during the prep phase simply because a harsh coat is easier to handstrip when dirty. Chalking the coat facilitates the handstripping procedure. Chalk is typically used to assist in removing the dead coat and must be washed out during the bath. The chalk can cause skin problems if left in the coat, and for this reason, this procedure is completed during the prep phase. The finish phase will include a little handstripping to finalize the profile, but chalk is typically not used after the bath.

There are basically three different types of preps.


Prep 1 applies to the coat types that do not require a coat prep before the bath and to the pet that is groomed on a 4 - 6 weeks basis. The professional can trim the nails and check the ears for excessive hair and the dog is ready for a bath. Breeds with determined hair growth fall into this category.


  • Nails trimmed as short as possible
  • Ear hair plucked only if necessary.

Use this prep for the following:
  • Coat types that do not require a prep. Example: Doberman and Labrador Retriever.
  • Coat types with a grooming and styling schedule of 4 - 6 weeks or less except for the handstripped coats.


Prep 2 applies to the coat types that have to be prepped or the dogs that are groomed every three to four months or more, where excess coat must be removed before the bath. A good example would be a Poodle or a Bichon that would require clippering excessive coat or a Wire Fox Terrier that must be handstripped before the bath. Dogs with determined hair growth with the wiry coat types fall into this category.


  • Nails trimmed as short as possible.
  • Ear hair plucked only if necessary.
  • Remove excessive coat on the head, body, legs, feet and tail including the pads and the sanitary. The excessive coat is removed by clippering, scissoring, carding or handstripping.

Use this prep for the following:
  • All coats that require handstripping. Example: Wire Fox
  • All coats that require trimming or styling, with a grooming and styling schedule of approximately 6 to 10 weeks. Example: Poodle, Maltese, Yorkie


Prep 3 applies to the severely matted pet that has not been groomed in a long time. On a prep #3 most of the work is done before the bath by removing the matted coat leaving very little to finish after the bath. Dogs with undetermined hair growth fall into this category because the hair continues to grow to lengths that the average pet family cannot maintain. Many breeds with medium to long hair growth patterns that are considered determined are also placed in this prep category because the coat is long enough so that it can become hard feeling because the coat is packed together and the shedding coat that is trapped in with the rest of the coat. Many professional will not dematt this coat type and suggest to trim it off close using a #10, #9 or #7.


  • Nails trimmed as short as possible.
  • Ear hair plucked only if necessary.
  • Remove excessive matted coat on the head, body, legs, feet and tail including the pads and the sanitary by clippering.

Use this prep for the following:
  • All dogs with extremely matted coats that require a #10 blade or closer.
  • All that required handstripping that are extremely overgrown.
Pet Grooming Training