8 – 16 weeks A puppies coat won’t need a
tremendous amount of grooming, but the whole process of putting it
up on the table or on your lap and brushing should be done nightly
or every second night to get the puppy use to being brushed. It need
only be for a couple of minutes and It should be a enjoyable
experience. The Plush Puppy Porcupine brush which is bristle /nylon
mix is suited to this and ideal when you come blow drying your puppy
and great for blowing drying the adult dogs coat. You should never
ever brush a coat dry and a spray bottle with just water with a
little conditioner (whatever brand you use) mixed in or Summerwinds
Stat – A – Way, which is great as a Grooming Spray. Do not Saturate
the coat, but a light misting and brush gently. Plush puppy do three
sizes of spray bottles which give a light misting spray.
When the puppy gets to about four months and
depending on the hair on top of his head whether he needs a top knot
or not, all depends on the coat of the individual dog. A comb with
rotating teeth is also great at this stage, especially for grooming
out the topknot area and the whiskers. Also take note of the bands
you are using, the light weight bands are great for a puppy coat,
don’t use the heavier bands, like the ones you would use to put up a
If your puppy tends to have staining around the
eyes Dogs Stuff Kleen Face is wonderful, but again you must use it
every day and it’s not a case of hit and miss. If the staining is
very bad, put some Kleen Face on cotton wool and wipe from the inner
eye down the whiskers. Do this three times a day for 10 days and
then once a day thereafter. DO NOT PUT IT INTO THE EYE.
Coats all grow at varying rates and nothing
really can make it grow any faster, basically a dog is born with a
coat or not. The job “YOU” have is to protect and preserve what coat
is there. The most important aspect of protecting the coat is
shampooing and conditioning and doing this regularly. Brushing in
between is fine, but if they coat is generally tangle free, just a
daily check up and changing bands is all that is required. If you
are trying to keep the coat in show condition, it is not a case of
waiting until the coat is dirty to wait and wash the dog. It is a
case of monitoring the coat and once it starts to feel grubby or
grimy and looks as if it is about to start to have knots in places
well that is the time to bath.
If the coat gets to the stage of knotting or
tangling then you spend hours trying to brush the tangles out, and
you lose more coat this way.
There are plenty of Shampoos and Conditioners on
the market, which one to use is the big question. Some people, find
products that works on all their dogs coats and they stick to it,
some keep chopping and changing and looking for that magical product
that will grow, protect and groom the dog all in one!!!! How we
would all love that.
SO WHICH PRODUCTS!!!
Firstly, any of the products mentioned are
suitable for all Shih Tzu be they clipped down or in Full coat.
Obviously clipped down dogs won’t require the same high level of
maintenance as a dog in full coat.
Secondly, if you are going to show your dog no
product maybe left in the coat or be found in the coat. It is a KC
ruling. Nothing other than water maybe be found if your dog is
Thirdly, THE PRODUCTS!!!!
Plush Puppy is very popular and their Conditioner
Shampoo with Evening Primrose is very good, and it does exactly what
it says on the label, CONDITION. Remember with the regular blow
drying that the show dogs get the coat needs to be constantly fed
(what is meant by that is conditioned). Unless the dog is terribly
terribly dirty, only wash the dog once and this would apply with any
shampoo being used. Remember, a lot of the shampoos on the market
are concentrates, so dilute down according to the manufacturers
recommendations. Summerwinds also do a Shampoo called Shine Onn
which is very gentle and can be used neat on areas that maybe
slightly stained or diluted down for general washing. It is easily
rinsed out and although not a conditioning shampoo, is in no way
harsh on the coat.
The most important part of the washing process is
the use of Conditioners. Make up a litre bottle of conditioner (read
label for recommended dilutions) and again the Plush Puppy Silk
Protein Conditioner or the Summerwinds Fine L Shine seem very suited
to the Shih Tzu coats. Be generous with the conditioner, it is one
of the most important elements of the grooming process. Being mean
and cost effective on conditoner, may lead you to spending a lot of
money on product to try and help repair what damage may occur to no
conditioning. Leave it in for a couple of minutes and then shower
off. Remember if you are washing for Show days, do not condition
top knot area as it makes it soft and harder to get the topknot put
up right. However when you get home or after you are finished in
the ring, the Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm is excellent to put in
before banding up to go home as it conditions that area.
After rinsing out the conditioner from your dogs
coat. Take out the excess water and wrap your dog in a towel and
place in a cage or on a chair or bed in a warm place. No draughts.
Do not dry the dog immediately, wait about twenty minutes and then
start working on the coat. What you need is a pin brush, again Plush
Puppy do a good pin brush, the Plush Puppy porcupine brush, and comb
with rotating teeth. When blow drying work with the coat, not
against it. Its like sanding a table down, don’t go against the
grain. With the dryer over the area you are drying work with your
pin brush or porcupine brush, and also if you come across a knot
work it out with your fingers. Take your index fingers and thumbs
and pull gentle apart and then using the brush and keep working like
this until the knots are apart.
If you have a particularly difficult coat that
as soon as it hits the water the knots/tangles start to appear,
well get some Pet Silk Liquid Silk and put a small amounts into your
hand and work through the coat and it will help to separate the
knots. Remember though that if the dog is going to a show not to use
this as it will remain in the coat and nothing should be found in
the coat according to UK regulations.
When your dog is totally dry, go through the
coat, layer by layer with a comb with rotating teeth and check
thoroughly that there are no little knots or pin heads.
If you are not going to a show and you want to
condition your dogs head furnishing or the ends of the coat Plush
Puppy do as mentioned above Protein Coat Balm and also Coat Rescue.
Should your dogs coat start to change and it is
endless days of knots and tangles and loss of coat, the following
products are a wonderful asset. But again each coat is different and
constant monitoring of the coat is required. Summerwinds do a
Product called Protect A Coat which is a conditioner and oil all
mixed into one. The Beauty of this product is that it is easily
diluted and also easily washed out of the coat. You should not use
this on a coat that has any tangles or knots in it. The coat must be
Tangle Free. It is recommended that you mix the Protect A Coat with
the Summerwinds Fine L Shine, but some people prefer to use the
Protect A Coat alone and it all depends on the individual coat. Mix
the 2 tablespoons of protect A Coat with a Tablespoon of Fine L
Shine and mix in a litre bottle of Water. These measurements are
only as a starting point as you may find it is not a strong enough
concentration for the coat and you may need to add an additional
tablespoon or reduce a tablespoon. If the dog has been bathed in
the last day or so and is tangle free just wet the dog thoroughly
and then pour on the mixture of Protect A Coat and Fine L Shine.
Ideally wash the dog, condition it and blow dry and then immediately
after wet the coat use the Protect A Coat. Make sure you have
covered every area of the dog and then wrap the dog in a towel and
leave for about twenty minutes to allow it to soak in. (This product
is particularly good for dry coats). Then on a low heat, gently dry
the dog using the pin brush and comb with rotating teeth. At first
you may think areas of the dog are not drying but this is more than
likely the oil on the coat. Once the dog is totally dry, band up as
normal. You will find that the bands the following morning will
break easily; this is due to them absorbing the oil which the coat
is doing also. Check the coat daily and make sure there is no
clumping together of hairs. If this occurs, just get your spray
bottle and spray the offending clumped area and separate and comb
through. Monitor the coat to see how it is going and if looks as if
it is going to start tangling again, wash the coat in Shine Onn
Shampoo and do the whole process again. It is good that after two
sessions of using Protect A Coat that you wash your dog and use
normal conditioner and give the coat time out from the Protect a
Coat and also give you a chance to see how it is progressing. This
is all trial and error in what dilutions you can use, all coats are
different so some you may need to use more Protect A Coat, other
less. Remember dedication is required for all of the above.
Plush Puppy also have Seabreeze oil, which some
people use neat, or dilute it down and pour over the dog, but a
teaspoon mixed in with the Plush Puppy Silk Conditioner seems to
work well also, this is especially good if the coat is going through
a changing time from Puppy to Adult, it is also good if there is a
coat being a bit tired or a bitch who after whelping you want to
help get back into the ring. Remember though, all these products
must be not in the coat on Show Day.
We have all had emergencies, where a dog has
soiled his coat or gets dirty. Some products to have to hand in your
box, although rarely used, absolutely invaluable when the accident
occurs. Plush Puppy Powder Puff Regular. This is great for soiled
areas and once you have cleaned it up, put the Powder Puff in the
Coat and leave in for a while and then brush out. It masks the
offending smell and cleans at the same time. Also Plush Puppy and
Pet Silk both do a No Rinse Shampoo.
TO HELP GET ALL THINGS WHITE
Staining can be a problem especially if your dog
lives a normal life running the garden (which it should do). These
products help, Summerwinds Shine Onn Shampoo, which can be used neat
on stained areas, Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo and Plush
Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo. The Deep Cleansing is particular good
for removing residue build up and helps with removing difficult
staining, but this product should only be used every four washs, not
There is no EXCUSE in this day and Age and the products available to in
anyway inhibit the freedom of any dog, there are those that constantly
confine dogs in puppy pens/rack pens in order to keep a coat!!!!! A Dog
should be allowed to run and explore the garden and go for walks. One
you are dedicated to the coat it should look good and let the sacrifices
for a good coat be your time, not your dogs confinement.
Yvonne Cannon breeds and exhibits the Cloughlea Shih Tzus in Ireland
where she also runs the grooming supplies company, Classic Coat Care.
For further details of how to purchase the products mentioned contact