By Scott Wasserman
No matter what you do, the clipper lines will not go away on that Cocker Spaniel sitting on your table. What do you do? Almost everyone blames the blade. That may be part of the problem, but most of the time it is because the dog has so much undercoat that the blade cannot cut smoothly.
The best way to solve this dilemma is to employ the technique of combing out an undercoat called "carding." Take a fine stripping knife and rake out the undercoat, which will make the clipper lines go away. You could also use a #30 blade with the cutting blade taken out. Sometimes you may have to go over the coat with the cutting blade again.
This techique can also be used on a clipped terrier like the Wire Fox and the Schnauzer. It will maintain a little of the hard coat texture and will also help retain some of the color. On the Wire Fox, you may want to consider pulling a little of the coat in the color spots to help make it come in darker.
Carding can come in handy with a many other coats, such as Collies or Shelties with heavy pantaloons that can be carded out with a coarse-stripping knife. This will help cut down on the matting. The soft undercoat is what mats around the hard longer coat. Using the same knife and quickly carding out some of the undercoat can also help thick Golden Retriever coats. This also promotes a healthier coat and skin by stimulating the oil glands at the base of the hair shaft.
Scott Wasserman has been a member of the grooming profession for over 12 years. He is a multiple Best in Show and Best All-around groomer winner as well as an internationally known speaker and judge. A Board member of NEPGP, he is currently active in various aspects of the grooming industry.