Long, Silky and Very Glamorous – The American Cocker Spaniel.
The lovely American Cocker Spaniel with its flowing feathers and flashy movement is indeed a site to behold in the show ring. A merry little dog and the smallest of all the gundog breeds the American Cocker is truly one of the die-hard groomer’s passions. To prepare and American Cocker you use almost all the grooming techniques available; clippering, scissoring, hand stripping, bathing, and blow-drying and Plush Puppy has the perfect range of products to have your yankie in its most superb condition.
I won’t go into all the pre bathing preparation here, ie trimming, stripping etc but what I will let you know you is how to prepare the coat for the show and what to do to keep the coat in peak condition between shows. The American Cocker standard declares that the texture of the coat is most important. The coat should be silky, flat or slightly wavy and of a texture, which permits easy care. No cottony, frizzy coats – silky is the go! For the coat that is a little on the dry side or is fluffy or frizzy use the Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose. This shampoo contains Evening Primrose Oil and will help moisturise and settle the coat. For a coat that is in good condition and does not need any extra help use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna.
This shampoo will not alter the texture but will add lots of shine. Always shampoo your coat at least twice. Dilute the shampoo through your hydrobath if you have one about 10:1 ie ten parts water to one part shampoo and give it time to do its job on the coat. Personally I use the shampoo directly onto the coat and work in well but gently with my hands. You will find the second shampoo will really lather up well and will rinse out nicely also. You can dilute your shampoo up to 10:1. Use undiluted for the really dirty areas such as the ears, under the tail area and under-carriage. The Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo is wonderful for cleaning very heavily soiled areas of the coat – Ideal for the oil build up you get on the ears and it is a wonderful clarifier for the coat used once a month to remove any product build up. Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo with Wheatgerm is great to use on areas of the coat that you want to appear fuller.
Great for the feet and also for thinly coated areas. For your conditioning rinse use the Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner. I do mine through the hydrobath and I use about a quarter of a cup. Use more on a dryish or damaged coat. If you don’t have a hydrobath then apply the conditioner with your hands doing one area at a time ie the chest then front legs then undercarriage etc, working it through the coat gently. You can rinse the conditioner out or leave it in depending on your specific coat requiments. You will need to do some experimenting to find just the right balance of conditioner to use. The Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioneris a light conditioner so does not weigh the coat down. It has natural active ingredients to help soften and rehydrate the coat.If you are doing a maintenance bath then leave the conditioner in. I never use conditioner on the saddle area. If you have groomed your saddle area well it will be shiny and in great condition.
Conditioner will just increase the likelihood of dandruff and can dull the saddle area. Plush Puppy Swishy Coat helps the hair to fall gracefully back into place after moving just like Ginger Roger’s dress. It is designed to reduce the wave and frizz in the coat. It will straighten and smooth the hair without softening it and will make blow-drying easier. Mix a tablespoon of Swishy Coat to a small Plush Puppy Spray Bottle, add an inch of warm water and really shake well till the mixture goes a whitish, then you can top up the rest of the bottle. Spray this lightly through the coat, including the under layers after towel drying and before blow drying. You are not trying to saturate, just distribute.
When you blow dry use a Plush Puppy Pin Brush or Plush Puppy Metro Anti Static Brush (I use both, the pin where there are knots and the metro when there are no knots) and really stretch and smooth the coat out as you go. Always dry in the direction that you want the hair to lay. I put my dryer on the opposite side of the table to do my dog. She lies down and I do all of her outer coat with the dryer blowing towards me so the coat is blowing in its natural lying position, show side first. This method really makes a big difference. You can then bring the dryer around and do the under carriage areas and the feet.
The hair must be bone dry – no moisture at all. When you go to do the other side make sure you have a dry table so as not to undo all your hard work. Even blow dry the table for a moment so that is is dry and warm.Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream softens and flattens and will add weight to tame a boofy or unruly coat. Mix and apply just as per the Swishy Coat. If you have a coat that needs straightening and de-boofing you can mix Swishy Coat and Blow Dry Cream in the same bottle and mix with water if you like. Use a tablespoon of Swishy Coat and a teaspoon of Blow Dry Cream. Increase the Blow Dry Cream ratio if required. The Puffy Dog Firm Hold Stying Mousse is fantastic for the hocks to give them a great full look and help them stand out creating that lovely flow of coat from under the tail right through to off the hock. I put this on after towel drying by getting about a golf ball size dollop in my palm and scrunching it through the hocks.
This is the only area of the coat where I use a soft slicker brush and brush against the natural lay of the coat, so brush the hock up, still paying careful attention to get the coat really straight and really dry. Plush Puppy Volumising Cream is a superb grooming to tool to use on a coat that is thin. Mix it in the same manner as the Swishy coat, ie one tablespoon to a small Plush Puppy Spray Bottle. You can apply it when the coat is damp or when the coat is dry. It will coat each individual hair and give the appearance of more coat. You can use it all over the coat or just in a specific area. When you are trying to volumise the coat you can blow dry the coat in a fluffing up kind of manner to help increas the volume.
Volumising Cream cannot be felt in the coat. With Swishy Coat, Blow Dry Cream and Volumising Cream it is not recommended to try to use these products undiluted on the coat as it is too difficult to distribute them evenly. Please do use the dilution method with the spray bottle. The mixed up products will keep inthe bottle, just shake them well each time you use them. For maintenance baths I use the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil. It contains natural extracts that promote hair growth, repair of damaged hair and are very good skin conditioners. It also dramatically reduces matting and knots. Dirt does not stick to the coat as it is one of the finest oils made and it easily washes out with any of our shampoos. I do always shampoo at least twice as I said earlier. Seabreeze Oil can be applied directly from the bottle undiluted as per a traditional Oil.
It can also be used in your conditioning rinse. Just put one tablespoon along with a quarter cup of Silk Protein Conditioner into approximately a half gallon or 4 litres of water. Rinse this well through the coat and leave it all in. Blow dry as you normally would for a maintenance bath. Plush Puppy Reviva Coat is fantastic for in between baths and can be used at any time that moisture is required. You do not have to blow dry it if you don’t want to. Just apply it by squirting a dollop into your hand and scrunching into the coat as required and just leave it to dry on its own. It contains UV filters as well. You can’t overdose on this product. It is very handy to help when you have to brush out a knot as it makes the job much easier and you will loose less coat. It is superb as a maintenance conditioner (in between shows).
I scrunch it in all over the coat quite liberally and then blow dry leaving the coat not ready for the ring but simply brimming with moisture and hydration. Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm is my favourite show ring product. It helps with static, flyaways and drying out. The best attribute of this product is that it will not undo all your blow drying hard work. The worst thing you can do to your coat at a show is spray it with a water based spray. Humidity is the enemy of a silky straight coat. Make every effort that you can to keep your dog out of moist or humid situations at shows. Keep your crate covered up if you have to. Protein Coat Balm is the perfect finishing cream. Just squirt a few pumps into your palm, smear your hands together, then smooth your hands over the coat.
The very best grooming spray is Plush Puppy OMG. Used at a rate of 1 part OMG to 30 parts water. This is the greatest and will leave the coat looking and feeling amazing!
Then comb the coat into place. Do this just before you go into the ring. There is no point doing it an hour before hand. You can use Protein Coat Balm multiple times throughout the day without altering the texture or look of the coat. It’s great stuff! Plush Puppy Pixie Dust will give the coat a stunning shimmer in the sunlight and can be used on any colour coat. The trick is to apply a little dust to a bristle brush then wave the brush in the air a bit. Then brush over the coat to give a light dusting of shimmer. The effect in the sunlight is super!Plush Puppy Shine and Comb is just super used lightly on the back coat. Mist it down over the coat just before you go into the ring to give a classic natural shine. So there you have it! All ready to flash around the ring and take everyone’s breath away with your glamorous American Cocker Spaniel with it lustrous, silky feathers and long luxurious ears flying in the wind.
Must Haves – Should Haves
Don’t forget to check out these great products that relate to this breed in our online shop!
- Blow Dry Cream
- Blue Pin Brush Regular
- Deep Cleansing Shampoo
- Natural All Purpose Shampoo with Henna
- Natural Body Building Shampoo with Wheatgerm
- Natural Conditioning Shampoo with Evening Primrose
- Natural Silk Protein Conditioner
- OMG Concentrate
- Pixie Dust
- Protein Coat Balm
- Puffy Dog
- Reviva Coat
- Seabreeze Oil
- Shine and Comb
- Spray Bottle
- Swishy Coat
- Volumising Cream