Grooming Your Shih Tzu Puppy
Coat: Get the puppy to lie on his back on your lap at first whilst grooming - this makes them relaxed - there is nothing worse than a struggling puppy whilst trying to groom. One the first things to make your job easier, and in fact possible at all, is to train your puppy to lay on its side to be brushed. Brushing and combing out tangles and mats is much less a chore for you and the dog if you are able to get underneath the legs to the belly without a battle. Take hold of his front and rear legs and cradle his torso against your arm as you lay him down on his side. He might balk or try to get up at first, but keep your arm along his ribs, and, if necessary, hold his head down, too. Some might even protest with dramatic whimpers and cries, but don't be fooled , he is not being hurt, just restrained against his will. Talk softly and reassure him, and soon he will come to realize it's quite relaxing and enjoyable to be petted in this new way. Brush with a good quality, soft cushion pin brush without knobs. You will also need a good widetoothed comb. Do groom regularly so that the puppy gets used to it. Use your fingers to pull apart tangled hair prior to brushing through with your pin brush.A clean coat is much easier to groom than a dirty coat. Bath weekly and, if you want to show your puppy, don't do too much brushing and combing in between. Do his face every day and check his bottom. Apart from that only remove obvious knots. If you get a big mat don't panic and don't get the scissors out. Gently tease it apart with your fingers and just brush and tease. If you want to show your puppy be especially careful with his topknot and whiskers, you want to preserve every hair. If he rubs his head or you are getting knots in his top-knot smother it with Vitapointe. It looks horrid but really helps.
If he gets a dirty bottom shower it off. If you try to comb it out you will loose too much coat.Do inspect under the tail every day and make sure this area is kept clean.
Teeth: Do gently explore the puppy's mouth daily with your forefinger - a prelude to teeth cleaning.
Whiskers: These need sponging off after meals or they will stain and smell. Use the no-rinse shampoo daily and it will help to keep his whiskers white.
Ears: Inspect whilst grooming. The Shih Tzu grows hair in its ears and these need plucking out a few at a time. Start this along with your combing and brushing and there will be no objections.
Feet: The Shih Tzu grows hair between the pads. If this is not trimmed it mats up and causes great discomfort. Trim the hair around the feet just so they look tidy, you don't want him to look "trimmed" just neat. Check to see if there are mats between the toes and remove the mats with scissors, as this is a common spot to have trouble arises. Trim off the hair that grows between the pads.
Nails: Do check dew claws - those on the little toes up the leg. If these are not cut short they will curl round and grow into the dog's feet.
Baths: Weekly with a dog shampoo + dog conditioner. Use a mat in the bath so that the puppy feels secure. Thoroughly wet the dog and apply shampoo. Don't rub the coat; rather, gently squeeze the shampoo through to the ends. Boots Infacare is very good for doing faces, it doesn't sting the eyes or use a tearless shampoo. I use a baby sponge for faces. Be sure to completely rinse the suds away. If he is very grubby he will need two shampoos.A crème rinse/conditioner can be used as a further aid to prevent mats and tangle from forming again soon or to aid in removing tangles missed.
Wrap in a big towel but don't rub,it will cause knots. Just blot the excess water out. Then blow dry using your pin brush and brushing in the direction the hair grows. If you get a lot of static electricity spray with Ice On Ice or an anti static spray. Brushing with static in the coat breaks the hair.Drying the coat thoroughly is very important. A wet coat left to dry on its own will tighten and become near impossible to detangle. Brush or comb a wet coat ONLY while using a blow dry and only on the spot being dried. Brushing or combing a wet coat will break the hair and be very uncomfortable for the dog.
Put a little cornflour on his whiskers to whiten and dry them.
Do also remember to wash the dogs bedding at least weekly - I use Vetbed, which takes the damp away from the dog's body. If you place newspaper underneath and change it daily this will take up the damp in bad weather..
Sue Thatcher Copyright © 1998,99,2000,01,02 Bakalo. All rights reserved. Revised: 20/04/07