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Felted Hair of the Dog Coat

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Every winter we have a dilemma with our indoor Cocker Spaniel: if we leave him hairy, he's too hot for indoor life and walks around panting and drinking water incessantly. If we shave him, he's too cold when he goes outside. 
This winter I solved the dilemma: I shaved the hair off his back and belly and part of his legs, then used his own hair to make a coat for him. His hair was needle-felted into a tailored wool coat that he can wear outdoors and be toasty warm, then take off when he comes back inside. Problem solved!

How to felt a dog hair coat.

You will need:

Water and soap
Grooming shears
A piece of wool or craft felting fabric
Hook and loop fastening tape
Scissors
Straight pins
Needle and thread
A felting brush
A felting needle (preferably a multi-needle gadget)

 
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Step 1: Get Some Hair of the Dog

Almost any animal fur is good for felting. Using your own dog's hair to make a felted coat for him is ideal. You can't get a better color match!
However, getting your dogs hair can be tricky. Dog's don't naturally take to being groomed. My main tips for DIY dog grooming are:
  • Wash your dog with soap or shampoo before grooming and dry him completely.
  • Let your dog get used to the grooming shears over a couple days. Show him the shears, turn them on, and give him a treat. Repeat this until he allows you "access" to his fur. 
  • Always shave in the direction of hair growth
  • Hold your dog with one arm if necessary while shaving with the other
I found the best felting hair was from my dog's legs and belly. It was silkier and finer than anywhere else. Focus on those parts.
Put the hair in a bag and save for later.

i_luvcanada2 years ago
What a wonderful idea. Where do you buy the felting gadget? How long did it take to acquire enough fur to do this coat? Thank you.
Did you get a response for the felting needle? If not, you can buy them on eBay :
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5713.m570.l1311&_nkw=felting+tool&_sacat=0&_from=R40

They are like $7.00 USD and up.
flyingpuppy (author)  mrlunna131 year ago
Thanks for answering that, Lunna. I found my needle at a fabric store (though not all fabric stores carry them). As for the fur, I used less than one shaving's worth for this coat. Probably should have let the fur grow some more. It's easier to work with longer fur.
Good luck!
mrlunna131 year ago
Awsome idea! Thank you for sharing it with us. You gave me an idea for a beannie.
jrichell2 years ago
Well then, it would be good to have quality dog clippers for shearing, so you can get amazingly beautiful fur from specified parts.
Hippymike962 years ago
Brilliantly embarrassing
Brilliant because who else would have thought of this
Embarrassing for the dog because think about how he/she feels if fort of his/hers doggy friends
flyingpuppy (author)  Hippymike962 years ago
Ha ha. If this dog isn't embarrassed sniffing other dogs' butts, he won't be embarrassed about his extra layer of skin. : )
People! It's just yarn!

I have a year-round shedder and have been brushing and saving my pup's fur for many years but never knew what to do with it. I have thought of spinning and making into a hat/scarf for me, needlework for the wall, or a crocheted likeness of him. The canine coat was one of my ideas, but with the same problem of a hot long-haired dog. However, I do like the idea of a coat for the other dog -- a short-haired lab mix.

I wish others would share their creative thoughts on this fun and abundant freebie!
Kiteman2 years ago
Oh, my goodness.

That is both creepy* and awesome.


* Shades of that guy from the Hannibal Lecter stories. The one that skinned his victims and turned them into a suit...
LOL - I was just about to comment "It puts the lotion on its skin" when I spotted you had beat me to it! It really does remind me of that movie!

I thought the same....

brilliant, but a little creepy. lol
flyingpuppy (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
And if he sits any closer to the wood stove while napping, I may have to eat a hot dog.
susanrm2 years ago
*snort* Too much.

Should I be thankful that my dog has hair that's too short for something like this? And somehow manages to stay quite warm in the winter without a coat?

Nice job, anyway.
MsJaxFla2 years ago
Oh my this is fantastic. I have been putting my babies fur in the yard in a special bird place for them to get what they need for nesting..... there is enough to do both with my three fur pups and hey I might incorporate my kitty kats in this too.
flyingpuppy (author)  MsJaxFla2 years ago
I love the idea! In fact, I think I'll add some of the dog hair to the birds' nests I'm knitting and felting. 
Great project; but I don't think I'll do it. ;) My dog takes long enough to find the right blade of grass to water... I don't want him any warmer and more comfortable while he makes up his mind.

flyingpuppy (author)  NatureGeek242 years ago
Actually, the original idea in grooming our dog smack in the middle of winter was to entice him to stay home and not run off like he does. Didn't work. So now it's a leash and a coat.
marcward862 years ago
Nice, I finally know how to make this happen: I have a long haired orangish colored dog and a short haired black dog. The black dog gets cold in the winter and orange dog sheds more than I thought possible. So I thought...why not make a coat for one dog out of the other dog's fur?

Alas, my wife said NOOOOOO thats gross and weird. I didn't think it weird at all, keeping in mind the other bizarre things that dogs do.

Now I know how to make it happen on my own!!!
flyingpuppy (author)  marcward862 years ago
You all are too funny! Seems we all thought this was a weird idea to start with, but once you see a dog hair dog coat, it seems logical.
I'm surprised by my dog's reaction to this coat. I thought he'd go into his usual "rejection mode" when I put it on--you know, freezing in place and shaking like a leaf. But once I got it on him, he scampered about like he was in his own skin. Probably because he was in his own skin. : )
rafari2 years ago
Congratulations on such a good job and great idea. The dog looks very stylish!
danorama7232 years ago
Fabulous and funny. Great job!
MyMenagerie2 years ago
What a great idea! It is a lot cheeper than t-shirts and more natural looking! My border collie is elderly and would love such a coat! Thanks for the instructions!
That is brilliant! Such a humane idea for our 4 legged family members!
Now I know what to do with all those pellets of cat hair felt I brush out of the kittehs. Anyone want to buy a cat-hair felt vest?
I have seen a woman who knits with cat hair and makes purses for people out of their old .. deceased... cats. People can get weird.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSOh34982Vo
flyingpuppy (author)  mezcraft2 years ago
Well, I've heard of people who pay to get their ex-pets taxidermied. Very weird indeed.
It sounds odd until you are overcome with grief at losing a friend who has been with you for 15+ years. I can understand it.
I actually considered having a cat freeze-dried, but it was WAY over my budget. In hindsight (now that the grief has mellowed), I'm glad I was forced to go with the more traditional pictures and flower patch. I was 1 cat over the legal limit at the time so I couldn't go out and adopt another which made it harder to move on.

There is a new show on TV - American Stuffers - that features a family of taxidermists that specialize in pet taxidermy. I feel for the clients, but I think in the long run a new pet to love is healthier and equally respectful of the bond they shared with their deceased pet.

Sorry for hhijacking the "pet coat" thread into a "pet grief" thread.
Okaaaay.... I guess anything that helps them move through their grief and deal with the loss is good. I settled for a backyard pet funeral and leaving Bertie's pictures up on the fridge as a rememberance.
wilgubeast2 years ago
Dressing up one's pets always seems a little, well, unseemly. Not so when you're using the animal's own hair. Excellent work.

Kiteman is right, it does have a certain canine Buffalo Bill creepiness to it. But a cocker spaniel is the breed least likely to serially murder anyone. It was on an unaired episode of Dogs 101. The most likely breed? Bloodhound, obviously.
I love this so much. Such a fantastic solution. :D
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