Bathing and Blow Drying
Actually, showering dogs is our preferred method. We use a shower head on an extension hose so it can reach down to the tub easily. First, completely wet down your LillyBit being mindful not to get water directly into their ear canal. Water in the ear canal can cause an ear infection. After wetting your dog down thoroughly, lather them up with shampoo. Begin at the head and work your way down the body. Always be careful not to get suds directly in the eyes. Use your fingers to scrub between the toes and pads of the feet, and really get them clean. Make sure to wash the bridge of the nose under the eye well. Take extra time washing their bum or 'sanitaries'. Puppies are so low to the ground that their belly often has the most dirt on it! Once your pup is all lathered up, rinse them completely using either the shower nozzle or a pitcher of water. Rinse them until the water is clear and they are free of soap. Again, be careful not to get water directly in their ear canal. We use our hands to squeegee excess water from their hair before removing them from the bath. Have a towel ready at your side. Your dogs natural reaction will be to shake excess water off. I block myself and the bathroom walls with the towel and let them shake two or three times before wrapping them up and towel drying them.
I like to blow dry my dogs, they look so fluffy and full when they are done. Especially with puppies, blow drying them prevents them from getting chilled. SAFETY TIP: When blow drying, always keep a hand on your dog between them and the blow dryer so you can gauge the temperature. If it is too hot for your hand it is too hot for them. Keep the blow dryer a safe distance to avoid burning their skin.
Brushing your puppy is an important part of your daily routine. It gives them great exposure to beginner grooming skills. You can use a comb or a slicker brush. I prefer a comb with puppies as the pointy ends of a slicker brush can be harsh on a puppy's tender skin. Anytime you are brushing or grooming your puppy you want to set the stage for a positive experience for you and them. You want your puppy relaxed and to submit calmly to being handled. Your puppy has a lifetime of grooming ahead of them, so use this time to practice laying your puppy on their back and rub their tummy, touch between their toes, around their eyes, look at their teeth, under the tail and in their ears. Going through these simple and quick steps with your puppy will teach them to relax and help them in the future at the groomer and the vet.
The best way to approach any grooming or handling of your puppy is with a matter of fact attitude. Use a normal tone and don't get into a struggle with them. If they start to struggle, calmly and firmly tell them to relax. When they do, reward them with "good relax" and a nice affectionate rub. Using baby talk or being nervous yourself is never helpful. Kevin and I are confident while handling the puppies and they sense our energy, it relaxes them. It never occurs to us that a puppy 'won't let us' brush them. So be confident and assertive but never aggressive. Your dog will learn to enjoy the affection and attention that comes with brushing.
For your adult dog, brushing is part of your responsibility to keep your best friend mat free between grooms. Depending on your dogs coat this could be anywhere from daily brushing to weekly brushing. If you bring your dog to the groomer with mats, they will most likely come back with a buzz cut :) Groomers will work with a few mats, but if there are too many then the most humane thing is to just clip them short. Dematting can take a lot of time and be uncomfortable for the dog.
If you have a puppy you will want to keep their nails nice and short. Puppy nails can be sharp and painful on your skin. Young children are especially sensitive to sharp puppy or dog nails. Trim your puppies nails, or at least check them once a week. I use human toenail clippers for puppies. We trim just above the curve of the nail, being careful not to go too short. SAFETY TIP: Do not use the product called Peticure on puppies, their nails are still too soft.
A dogs nail contains a quick which if cut too short will bleed. When trimming nails always keep styptic powder or Kwik Stop nearby just in case you cut the quick. On dogs with light colored nails you can see the quick easily, but the darker nails can be tricky. For and adult dog I use a plier style clipper made especially for dogs. On adults you can use the popular Peticure nail filer. You will have to slowly acquaint your dog to the Peticure one nail at a time before you can do all of the nails at once. Follow the directions that come with the Peticure.
The Mini Groom: Eyes, Ears, Bum and Paws
Even with professional grooming there are a few things that the owner should do in between grooms. The mini groom can extend the time you need before your next groom and is ideal for puppies prior to their first full groom.
Begin with trimming the hair directly in front of the eyes. This tends to get long and keeping it tidy will not only look nice but also help your LillyBit see clearly :)
On your adult dog their is hair that grows in the ear canal. Pet stores sell an ear powder and cleaner. Take a small amount of ear powder and sprinkle it on the ear hair. Then, gently using only your fingers, pull the hair that is growing out of the ear. Just pull what you can easily reach. Afterward take the ear cleaner and put a small amount in the ear canal massaging the back of the ear to distribute. Once you are finished, use a cotton ball to wipe down the outer ear. When wiping the outer ear wipe what you can see easily, nothing invasive into the ear canal. You will want to do the ear care before a bath. The powder is very dry and the ear cleaner can leave the fur a little oily. If you notice a foul smell, very dark, or excessive ear debris go to the vet. This could mean an ear infection.
Puppy hair should be nice and trim around the bum. They are so low to the ground that they can quickly become king or queen of the Dingleberries! Check your pups bottom at the end of each day to make sure they have nothing blocking their bum. Keeping the hair trimmed on the bum goes along way to prevent this.
Take a look at your dogs paws. If you can't see the pads then it is time to trim the hair away from the pads of the feet. This will give your dog better traction and they will track less into your house.
Here is a video I did on Puppy Grooming Basics. The puppies in the video were exceptionally good for their grooming. So much so, that I almost didn't use the video, they do make me look good :)
First, we make every effort to pick adults that have minimal to no tear staining but even with our best efforts tear staining can still be a cosmetic concern. Everything I know about tear staining I learned from this article. Sometimes, someone has done such a thorough job on a subject that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Find link to article below:
Angel Eyes works exceptionally well for clearing up tear staining. It is definitely worth having. You should know however the active ingredient Tylosin is an antibiotic so I don't subscribe to using it non stop. I would use it until any staining clears up - no less than ten days and then discontinue. Always, talk to your vet.
The Professional Groom
Most of our LillyBits families choose to have their dogs professionally groomed. You can groom your dog yourself as long as you have the right equipment and attitude. The attitude would be: Hair Grows. Remember, safety first, take your time and don't hurry. Accidents happen when people hurry. It is a good idea to get tips from an experienced groomer or videos if you plan to do your own full grooms.
Believe it or not, keeping your shichon in a longer coat will actually require more frequent grooms than a shorter clip. A dog with a longer coat should visit the groomer about every six weeks to keep things manageable. A comfort clip or summer cut will last longer, but initially they won't have tons of hair. If the groomer keeps a nice round head shape, full tail and rounded paw, the little shichon can pull off a summer clip and look adorable. We keep our dogs shorter because we are a wash & go family.
When your puppy will need their first groom can vary from 12 weeks to 16 weeks. Waiting until their vaccines are complete is wise. When adult coat comes in, the puppy coat may begin to look fuzzy. We usually will groom the puppy for the first time when this occurs. For a first groom the goal is not perfection. The goal is a good experience. Sometimes a groomer will have a puppy package, meaning the puppy goes for short but frequent visits so that they acclimate to the grooming experience. When I am grooming a puppy for the first time, I take the clippers without a blade and kind of massage the puppy with them so they get used to the vibration and tell them what a good puppy they are. Be sure to give them tons affection.