Grooming the Alsatian
Alsatians are companion dogs and are mostly indoors. 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, more hugs means less fear, and less fear means more tail wagging.
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. Don't forget that grooming your dog is part of training your dog.
The Alsatian Coat
A young Alsatian around the age of eight weeks to about five months old has what is called a puppy coat. Your puppy will look fluffy and light colored at this time. This is the undercoat that sheds and grows back in with the seasons. Depending on what time of the year your puppy was born, adult guard hairs will begin to grow up and out of this fluffy undercoat. If your puppy was born early in the year its puppy coat will not shed like an adult dog's undercoat would. The first time the undercoat will shed out will be next year around April. If your puppy was born later in the year, your puppy will have had time to grow out his adult coat and will shed all its undercoat when the weather gets warmer.
Adult guard hairs are long single strands of hair that are harsh to the touch. These hairs will pop up through your puppy's coat at the spine and 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 (slicker brush) will keep your puppy's coat looking good.
How the Alsatian Sheds
Knowing how the Alsatian sheds will help you to understand the grooming process. During your puppy's 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!
After the shedding starts in the hips and thigh areas, the rib cage and under belly start to come loose. Then, the shoulders and front leg undercoat will come out in your brush. Finally, the neck starts to shed out and then the tail. Because the dog's entire body doesn't come out all at once, only comb out the parts of the dog that are shedding easily with a wide tooth steel comb and brush out the rest of the dog as you normally would with your slicker brush. It will usually take about six weeks to brush out all the undercoat at this time.
Most Alsatians shed entirely. They will end up with a single coat during the summer. The undercoat will come back in around September/October.