Grooming and inspections are separate procedures however, they are discussed together because large parts of the inspection are performed at the same time as grooming. Next to feeding, grooming and inspection are the most vital events in the daily life of canines. They are essential to the canine's health and well-being. Additionally, physical closeness of this process helps to develop the bond between the canine and handler.
German Shepherds and some Belgian Malinois have a double coat of hair; an undercoat of soft, woolly hair, and an outer coat of stiff, water resistant hair. Daily grooming is essential to the proper care of the canine's coat and skin. There are 4 steps in the grooming process:
Using your fingers and starting from the rear of the dog, briskly groom against the grain of the coat. This will loosen and aid in the removal of dead hair and skin follicles. Closely observe in this step for any discomfort to the dog and watch for any abnormalities with the coat and or skin of the dog.
Using a slicker brush comb the dog against the grain of the coat removing loose dead hair. Clean the brush as needed and still take note in any abnormalities with the dog. This step may need to be repeated.
Using the slicker brush, groom the dog with the grain of the coat. This will remove any remaining loose hair and return the hair to its natural position.
Finally, hand-rub the coat with the grain. This distributes the oil and gives the coat a glossy appearance. Occasionally, a slicker brush or comb helps, but in winter it should be limited to avoid tearing out the undercoat and damaging the hair follicles.
An occasional bath may be necessary, but may remove oils that keep the skin soft, prevent drying, and make the coat water repellent. Rinsing after the bath removes soap that may become sticky, collect dirt, or cause skin irritation. After drying with a towel the canine may be gently exercised to complete the drying. Do not bath a canine in cold or wet weather unless it can dry in a warm place.