The Schwarz Kennels

and the Dire Wolf Project


The following is an excerpt from the book

"Handbook for New Puppy Owners"
by Lois Schwarz



Why put a chapter on grooming your puppy in a handbook or manual on puppies? Because “housedogs” and “companion dogs” are mostly indoor dogs. They need to learn how to behave while they are being groomed. Your dog will not be welcome anywhere if it is not clean. Clean dogs get more hugs and more hugs, means less fear and less fear means a wagging tail.

Now I know your dog or puppy knows how to lie down or sit and I know your puppy knows how to be still.

He may not do it, but he knows how. If you have been doing “lap therapy” with your pup then you and your dog are miles ahead of most dog owners already.

Mostly dog owners know nothing about grooming dogs or puppies. Why? I guess it is because most dog owners do not think about the process of grooming a pet or they don't believe a pup needs anything but a bath when he stinks? Maybe most doggy owners do not think much about the grooming of a dog because training books do not include this knowledge or expertise in their books. Grooming a dog is part of training your dog.

Ok, so now I am going to throw you puppy owners some more knowledge. Awww come on, just scroll down the list of grooming tools and you will learn a heck of a lot, and maybe something will peak your interest and you will say, “Wait a minute, what’s this about?” And then, I GOT YOU. You are now going to learn something. Hot dog please?

The Alsatian Shepalutes Coat

A young Alsatian Shepalute around the age of eight weeks till he is about five months old, has what we call a puppy coat.

Depending on what time of the year your puppy was born, his adult guard hairs will begin to grow up and out of this fluffy undercoat. If your puppy was born early in the year his puppy coat will not shed as an adult dogs undercoat would. The first time his undercoat will shed out would be next year around April.

The guard hairs are long single strands of coat hair that is harsh to the touch. These hairs will pop up through your puppies coat at the dorsal or top spine of the pup and will first appear at the tip of the tail and the scent gland area.

The head of your puppy will begin getting a nice grown up look about him as his ears begin to stand.

During these months (two months old – five months old) just a pin brush or a bent steel brush will keep your puppies coat looking good. The puppy coat may not come out until he is a year old.

His first seasonal change from cold to warm and from short days to long days, your puppy will begin to shed from the hips and thigh area first. You may notice clumps of undercoat being a different color and hanging loosely or flying off the dog. It is here! The shedding season of the Alsatian!

I suggest you set up a grooming area because for about six weeks you should be grooming your dog weekly. Knowing how a dog sheds will help you to understand the grooming process of these dogs.

As I said the first shedding begins in March or April and the undercoat begins falling out around the thighs and rump of your dog. Next the rib cage and under belly starts to come loose and then the shoulders and front leg undercoat will come out in your brush. Finally the neck starts to shed out and then the tail.

Every two days I will bring in one of my dogs and brush the coat out. When the coat begins really coming out I switch to a wide tooth steel comb. Because the dogs entire body doesn't come out all at once I will only comb out the parts of the dog that are shedding easily and I will just brush out the rest of the dog. I will usually get a dog a week into the grooming area.

My males have a thicker coat than the females and females are easier to groom at this time of the year. It may only take me two sessions of grooming with a female where it will take about four to six grooming sessions with a male.

Most of my dogs shed entirely. They will end up with a single coat during the summer and then the undercoat will come back in around September/October.

Cutting my dogs nails

I clip puppy nails at four weeks old, eight weeks old and about three months old. Then I will clip a young dogs nails about eight months of age. I will not ever need to clip my dogs nails after that but every year. I check the nails on my dogs at their yearly grooming session when I am combing out that undercoat.

Cleaning my dogs ears

I do this with a damp face cloth while I bath them or dry them and that is it.

Anal Glands

I check them when I give young puppies a bath and that is the end of it. I never have to worry about their anal glands as these dogs have no problems with it.


I never brush my dogs teeth. I give them lots of bones and cartilage from the butcher shop. I do not allow them to fetch rocks. They will sometimes play with sticks and plastic soda bottles or water bottles as a pup but none of my older dogs play with toys much. The pups will until they are about three years old as by that time they just want to lay around, eat and go for a ride!

Grooming Tools

Brushes— Brushes do nothing but move the outer tops of the hairs around, and plastic brushes give a dog’s coat electricity. I do not use a brush on any of my dogs.

A slicker brush— is the only so called brush that can get into a dogs undercoat. This type of a brush has metal bent wires. When blow-drying a dog this brush can fluff a dogs coat up if that is what you want. “What a beautiful dog you have!”

Ear cleaners— (Alcohol, Special store bought ear cleaner, Cotton, Face cloth, Q-tips, soap and water) - I use soap and water on a face cloth with my finger inside it and I just wipe out the inside of the ear where I can see.

Manicuring— (Pliers-type nail clippers; Scissors type nail clippers for puppies; Human nail clippers (large); and/or nail file) - I clip my puppy’s toenails three times when they are young. At six weeks old, I may clip the curved sharp white toenail ends. At eight or nine weeks, I may clip once again for the new owners. My personal pups tend not to get second clipping until all the other puppies are in their new homes. This may be around three months old. This will be the first nail clipping your puppy really remembers so make it a ‘hot dog’ occasion and do not clip too far back into the nail's vein.

Teeth (Tooth scraping tool, toothbrush, dog chewy toys, and doggie toothpaste) - I do not use any of this stuff. My dogs do chew on real bones but I don't fuss over my dogs teeth, mostly I believe that the dog care industry would like to influence your minds . . .

Whisker cutting— I don't do this. Some dogs do look more sophisticated without those unruly wispy whiskers. I'm on a farm, the trees don't care.

Grooming loop— I use two leashes and a choke collar or a flat collar and secure it well to the studs in the wall above the tub and to the sides. This way I am in full control and the dog finds out it is not as bad as he feared.

Grooming table— I use the top of our chest freezer or the floor in front of the sofa and TV.

Coagulant— I don't need them as I don't ever cut my dogs nails into the quick. If I ever did cut too close to the vein, I would just use the store bought flour in our canister to stop the bleeding.

Conditioners— Coat conditioners help in lessening the pain my dogs may go through while combing them out. Coat conditioners also control electricity from building up in the coat as well as keeping a coat flat. Tip: don't use too much it will make the dogs coat too soft and/or oily.

Clippers— Don't need to use these unless you have a hairy dog.

Comb— This is important as it is the only tool I use to groom my dog's coat. The right size comb is a necessity for me. I use a very large and unbreakable metal comb that has very wide spaces between each tooth to get down to the dog's skin. I may also use a second comb with closer teeth for beautifying my dogs for photos or shows.

Crates— Yeppers! I have at least one crate per dog and then some. I “crate train” all my dogs for their safety and for my peace of mine. I keep several crates in the bed of my pick-up truck.

Dryer— For my young pups. I use a very good human hair blow dryer that attaches to the wall so my hands can be free to love, pat and brush my pup while the air is blowing. I have one that is very quiet.

Grooming glove— I don't use this, but I can see where it would be a good idea to have such a tool. Before the dog comes in the house, I could go over his coat to remove any lose hairs, twigs, or stickers.

Non-slip platform— Yes, for the safety and security of my dog while in the tub.

Scissors— I use an old pair of blunt tipped scissors for the back of the ears as the hair does get matted there. It is necessary to un-matt the hair or the dog will get sores from the tightening of the mattes into his skin. I also have thinning scissors for any big tangles. I just clip under the matt and then re-comb.

Shampoo— Yes, I use human shampoo sometimes and good smelling dog shampoo sometimes. My dogs do not have allergic reactions to any type of shampoos. Of course, I make sure I get all the shampoo out of the coat by watching the water as it rinses off my dog. This rinse water must run off clear. If the water is cloudy or dirty, the coat is not yet clean. It may take three applications of shampoo before the water runs clear. I bath my dogs once, maybe twice a year.

Shedding rake—I have a few, but I don't use them, I use the comb. It may take me longer but combing my dogs out is my individual time spent with them (quality time). We sit on the floor together and hug + comb and pet +comb and converse together.

Spray bottle— If I were “showing” my dog, this would be a necessity! I do carry a gallon of fresh bottled water in my car at all times. If you live in a hot climate, please carry jugs of water in your car and a spray bottle to mist them down

Sprays— I only use perfume sprays. No need to use any sprays as my dogs never get sick nor do they get fleas. I also do not like chemicals of any kind

Tack box or training bags— I have a tack box or a training bag for each of the following: first aid, show, retrieving, obedience, protection, and tracking. Each box is clearly marked and the tools for that game are within it

Tie downs—I have a lot of these placed throughout my home and my property

Tub—My own personal tub is all I use but the dirty water runs out to the apple trees

Tooth file— (Don't need one.)

First-aid kit—Yes! And a small first-aid kit in my automobile at all times


I take Shenanigan to school with me every day. There are two people in my class this year that are fairly allergic to dogs, but they can both pet her without any problems. In most dogs that are allergy friendly, it is because the dog does not shed, but this is not the case with Shenanigan as she sheds lightly throughout the year. It might have something to do with the fact that she almost exclusively sheds her undercoat? I thought that you might like to know this.


Schwarz dogs are NOT working dogs

Books by Lois E. Schwarz