Dog Breed Info

Chalking the Coat

Chalking the coat on man's best friend is a procedure used before handstripping to allow for a better grip on the hair. The same concept is applied when pulling the hair from the ear canal. The ear powder absorbs the oil and moisture and helps you to better grasp the coat. Chalking is also used in the conformation ring to enhance the coat color and to give the coat more texture and volume. Chalking is also used to whiten the coat on areas that are stained such as around the eyes, feet and hock area.

There are basically three reasons for chalking a coat. The first is cosmetic, the second is to assist in grasping the coat during handstripping and the third is primarily to build volume.

If utilized for handstripping, the chalk is usually applied before the bath. If used on the dog for a conformation show, the chalk is applied during the grooming before the dog is presented in the ring. If used in a grooming competition, the chalk is applied after the dog is bathed and dried and left in during the grooming competition and removed afterwards.

The chalk is usually applied on the grooming and styling table, however, it can be applied in the bathing station to prevent the chalk from falling on the floor, creating more clean up after the grooming.

Chalk is available in a powder form and a block form. The powder form is available in white only and is primarily used to assist in removing coat during the handstripping procedures. The block form is available in black, browns and reds and is used for enhancing the coat color.

Chalking the Coat for Cosmetic Reasons
Chalk is used to enhance the overall coat color in the conformation and in the grooming contest ring. The coat is misted with water and the chalk is applied to specific areas of the coat. Chalk is also utilized where the coat appears sparse after handstripping to maintain the overall color for a specific area. An excellent example is an Airedale Terrier that has been handstripped and the coat is sparse on the chest area due to handstripping. The area is misted and a chalk that is similar in color is applied to this area and then the coat is brushed to remove any loose chalk.

Chalking the Coat Before Handstripping
Handstripping the coat is a technique that is started during the prepping phase and is completed during the finishing phase. Before the bath, the dog's coat is dirty and oily, making it hard for the professional to grasp the hair, so chalk is applied directly to the dirty or greasy areas of the coat to combat the slipperiness of the grease and dirt. When the coat is this dirty the hair grabs the chalk easily, however, if the coat is not really dirty or is soft in texture, the chalk does not adhere to the coat, so the coat must be dampened lightly with water, utilizing a spray bottle, so that the chalk sticks. This light spritz of water to the hair gives the chalk something to attach to, which makes the cleaner, soft coat easier to grasp.

In a grooming and styling salon, the chalk is applied to the dog's coat and the coat is stripped before the bath. In a grooming competition, the competitor must handstrip the dog during the competition, and all dogs must be bathed and dried before the competition starts. Thus, in a grooming competition, the chalk is applied after the dog is bathed and dried. Bathing the coat will make the coat softer and will remove dirt and grease, making the coat very slick; therefore, chalk is essential when handstripping a dog for a grooming competition.

The professional should bathe and dry the dog as usual, but when the coat seems dry but is technically still damp, the chalk should be applied heavily. The chalk will absorb any remaining water in the coat and this chalk will fall out of the coat as it is brushed and as the handstripping is performed. A thorough handstripping job will result in a groomed dog with no chalk left in the coat, leaving essentially a perfectly stripped and clean dog.

Chalking the Coat to Create Volume
Many breeds lose their undercoat during the summer months and do not have the volume or mass of coat needed to create the ultimate profile. The coat is misted and the chalk is applied to the areas that need volume such as the mane on a Sheltie or a Rough Collie. Chalk is also used on the furnishings on the head and legs to build volume such as a West Highland Terrier. The coat is moistened and the chalk is applied. Often times other products are used in the coat to assist the chalk in adhering to the coat. After the chalk is applied, the coat is carefully brushed to remove loose chalk.

Safe & Gentle Handling
Take care when applying chalk to the coat on the head area to prevent getting chalk in the eyes.

Safety Policy
Due to the matting, the skin can be irritated after the removal of the matted coat. Clippering with a #10 or #15 can irritate the skin, especially if a surgical blade has to be used. Removing dead coat by handstripping can also irritate the skin. A soothing bath after these procedures using the proper shampoo for the skin and coat eliminates the dog reacting to the skin irritations by excessive scratching.

Client Relations: Notification to the Pet Family
Pets that are severely matted and are going to be "shaved down" require a signature from the pet family. The pet family must acknowledge that they have been told that their dog will be "shaved" due to severe matting.

Client Relations: Recommendation to the Pet Family
The schedule that best suits their individual pet.

Pet Grooming Training