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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay, I have a Westie show dog that we think has a good chance of finishing his championship this upcoming show if we can have him well groomed. We asked two people for their opinions, and they contradict each other entirely.
According to a Westie breeder for the last 15 years: To get a dog’s coat to come in quickly, keep the dog as cold as possible, spraying them with water several times a day, and keep their crate in a position so an air vent blows directly into it. Keeping them cold tricks their body into thinking is winter and needs more coat. Keep them moist all the time. Never use whitening shampoo, as it is too harsh on the coat. A little wheaten-tipped coloring in a very thin line on the topline is unacceptable. If the dog is too skinny, just overfeed them and fatten them up. Bleach the coat before a show. Add in ice cream, chicken, beef, cheese, and eggs every day.

Pro handler and groomer for terriers for 15 years: Keep the dog a little warm, as this opens the pores and helps the dog’s coat come in faster. Westies don’t put on extra winter fur, so keeping them cold does not help. Keep dry all the time, wiping their mouth after a drink and the legs after a walk. Use a whitening shampoo 3 times a week. A little wheaten tipped coloring in the topline is just fine, as long as the coat is harsh. Unless absolutely necessary, never bleach the coat, at the chemicals do great harm to their coat. The dog is to have a stocky appearance, but when they feel the dog, they want to feel firm, strong muscle, not flab. Feed the same amount of regular food and exercise at least 15 min in the morning and at night, preferably on a treadmill. This puts weight on them, but it is firm muscle, not fat. Don’t carry the dog everywhere, as this will spoil it and make it not want to walk for a show. Feed plain kibble. The fancy food makes the dog harder to train, because why would a big hunk of tender, juicy boiled chicken be anything he would obey the command for, when he knows he will get some for dinner, for just being hungry. Once a week, adding a little yogurt is fine, fed as a reward, and other than that, the only thing you should add to the food regularly is fish/salmon oil. If the dog needs more protein, feed satin balls, but again, only as a reward for commands.
:confused: Help!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I also think that the suggestions from the breeder are a little, um, harsh, but she insists that it does them no harm. I am apt to believe the pro handler/groomer, as he specializes in terriers and has been doing this for about 20 years. The groomer's suggestions don't seem half as bad to me, a little more excersise, a little fewer treats, don't spoil them, but don't keep them cold/wet 24/7. The breeder actually reccomends bathing them with dish detergent! (The kind used for handwashing.) But if he can win any prize in this show, he will be a Champion and we won't have to worry so much anymore. Once the coat is in, we just have to maintain it. The groomer does not want us to roast him, just make sure he is not cold.
 

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If you are hoping for a miracle to get his coat in shape by the weekend, or even a weeks time, its just not going to happen if the coat needs to grow more. Handstripped dogs need constant maintenance for show, and its not something you can fix in a week or two. Every person you ask will have their own idea of what does whatever best. So I will offer you my thoughts.

Dogs coats grow by the length of days..not cold or warm, so that is going to have no effect on the coat. The best way to grow a healthy, full coat is proper nutrition, and good grooming. Brushing (Pin brush) regularly will help stimulate the skin and help the coat to grow. Also, Halo Dream Coat works wonders on growing coat. Its a vitamin oil you add to an already good diet.

Read your breed standard. It will tell you exactly what a westie should look like, feel like, etc. Of course, every judge is still going to have their own "preferences" but they should be judging your dog against the BREED standard. Here is a link if you don't have a copy already.
http://www.akc.org/breeds/west_highland_white_terrier/

As far as bathing/shampoo, no harsh coated terrier should be washed too often, as it softens the coat. I would bath the dog at least week before the show, and touch up furnishings day of the show if necessary. I love All Systems Crisp Coat for harsh coats, and you can use a whitening shampoo if you wish, but yes, they are harsh and should not be used more than once a month IMO. Chalk is your friend. If you haven't already learned to chalk him, start learning. Chalk is a must on a westie head, and you can use it on the body as well to make him appear whiter. Play around with mixing the white chalk with grey chalk, etc. to get the color you are looking for. You want him to look natural, not stark white.

There is alot more to grooming a westie for show than the correct length of coat. The grooming is to accentuate the good in the dog, and hide/mask the faults or not so good things. Good grooming can make a straight shoulder look right, can hide a dip in the topline, etc etc. It is truly an art, and something that takes time to learn and master.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The show is in two months, I know I could not get his coat to come in completely in a week. He gets the best quality kibble we could find. I give him a good brushing every day with a pin brush. I know it is not just the length of coat that makes a Westie. He gets groomed to the point where all the time he is show-perfect. He just needs his coat to be a little longer. I also chalk him regularly. The groomer uses a special whitening shampoo that is made for harsh-coated dogs. Another question: the breeder says the chalk is for right before a show to help the color of the fur, then you have to bathe afterwards because the chalk is bad for their skin. I know the chalk can be used in place of bathing, but does anyone know if it is bad for their skin? I think I am going to trust the groomer/handler, as has shown Cairns in Westminster and won! Scout (my Westie) is going to stay with the groomer until the show so I have no control over what he does with him now, I was just wondering for the future shows.
 

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The show is in two months, I know I could not get his coat to come in completely in a week. He gets the best quality kibble we could find. I give him a good brushing every day with a pin brush. I know it is not just the length of coat that makes a Westie. He gets groomed to the point where all the time he is show-perfect. He just needs his coat to be a little longer. I also chalk him regularly. The groomer uses a special whitening shampoo that is made for harsh-coated dogs. Another question: the breeder says the chalk is for right before a show to help the color of the fur, then you have to bathe afterwards because the chalk is bad for their skin. I know the chalk can be used in place of bathing, but does anyone know if it is bad for their skin? I think I am going to trust the groomer/handler, as has shown Cairns in Westminster and won! Scout (my Westie) is going to stay with the groomer until the show so I have no control over what he does with him now, I was just wondering for the future shows.
Sorry I misunderstood. The OP said you were hoping he could finish this weekend if groomed right.
Yes, chalk is not something you should use when not in a show, and should be washed out after the show. It is very drying to the skin, and coat, causing breakage of the coat. Chalk is not to be used instead of bathing except for show. Chalk can be used to absorb oils in the coat if the dog is too oily,but needs to be washed out a few hours (or next day) after chalking. If the handler/groomer is taking care of the dog, he/she will have the coat in as good condition as possible in the time frame. If you like the way your dog is presented at the shows under this handler, then you can ask them questions. They may or may not tell you their "secrets."
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Another reason to beleive the groomer/handler. The breeder said that the reason not to keep the dog warm is that when they sweat, the fur comes out. Correct me if i'm wrong, but dogs don't sweat, exept on the bottoms of their feet. I'm very suprised that she said that. She has been breeding for 15 years!
 
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