Hand-Stripping is a grooming method that removes excess hair from a dog’s coat. Most standard grooms are done by clippers or scissors and only cut off the top layer of hair on a dog’s coat, whereas hand stripping is done by hand; using a painless "pulling" technique, allowing a new coat to grow in (by just clipping a coat, you’re only taking off the top layer of dead fur, so the dog’s coat can look duller in texture and colour.) Although not all dog coat types can use this method, it is the healthiest method for the coat on those dogs who can use it. It also lasts a lot longer than a typical shave down groom. Please note however, some dogs will not tolerate the process so we do have to see how your dog goes.
When it comes to hand stripping, it is more about the type of coat than the breed of dog. Of course, certain dog breeds more commonly have wiry coats so you can identify them as requiring hand stripping. Some examples of these breeds are Border Terrier, Schnauzer, Airedale, Carrier Terrier. The type of coat that requires hand-stripping produces two types of hair – the undercoat is made up of soft, thin hair fibres and is dense in volume, while the top coat is longer, wiry, with thick hair fibres. By removing the softer undercoat hairs entirely, rather than trimming them, you make room for the new coat to grow in. Dogs with wiry coats go through a specific growing cycle in which the hair becomes thicker and darker as it grows – if you do not remove the dead hair from the top coat it will have a negative impact on the overall appearance of the coat, while also being itchy for the dog.
The sound of pulling hair and using stripping knives doesn’t sound painless, does it? But if done correctly the dog won’t feel any pain. The soft fluffy hair (in wire-hair breeds only) comes out very easily and the dogs aren’t bothered by it. The very first time a dog gets hand stripping it may feel uncomfortable just because he/she isn’t used to the feeling. We recommend that for the first time you start small and only do a small amount of hand stripping. With every consecutive groom, you can work up to the normal amount so they can adjust and have a pleasant experience. If anything they’ll just be extra tired at the end of their appointment because it’s such a time-intensive process. We find many dogs just get a bit bored and fall asleep if anything!
There are 4 main reasons that hand stripping costs more than other basic grooms:
1 - It is time intensive
It is a delicate process and takes about a significantly longer amount of time than a normal appointment using a clipper to shave back the dog. The groomer also has to give the dog breaks which also take up time.
2 - It is laborious
This technique is done by hand and is much harder on the groomer's body.
3 - It requires expertise
In order for it to be done safely and done well, the groomer needs to apply a technique that many can't do. It involves the use of knives and the risk of irritation or cuts is higher than other techniques.
4 - It is better for the coat
Simply put, you are getting a better service. The groom will last a lot longer and there will be less hair left around the house. You are getting a quality groom.