Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Grooming and Beautifying Your Shih Tzu

Grooming and Beautifying Your Shih Tzu

Although the day-to-day care of the show dog exceeds the grooming required for a pet dog, the groomer has a responsibility to perform a work of art in both cases.

Training and experience helps a groomer to look at a photograph of any Shih Tzu and to know instantly which bits of hair are clipped or scissor.

Expert brushing is an art. You might be shocked to find out your carefully brushed Shih Tzu still has tangles when a more experienced person gets a bin full of hair when complete brushing takes place. There is more to brushing your Shih Tzu than you probably realize.

Brushing Steps:

Put the Shih Tzu on the table.
Start on the bottom of the fore left leg. Lift the hair above the section you are working on, and brush the section below.
Comb through the coat. Use a grooming spray if necessary. Continue up the leg.
Continue the brushing and combing across the Shih Tzu’s quarters, along the back and neck. Pay special attention to behind the ears and underneath the legs. Matting is often more likely to occur in these areas.
Brush the head, ears and whiskers. Use a small comb on the Shih Tzu’s whiskers. The hair at the base of the Shih Tzu’s ears will need to be combed to remove tangles.
Lay the Shih Tzu on its side. Pay particular attention to the armpits where hair often mats.
Brush the hair on the hindquarters where the coat often grows thick and mats.
Brush the tail.

Mat breaking:

A mat-breaker or slicing the mat with scissors may be required.
Splitting the hair with your fingers will also help to break apart the tangles.
Always hold the Shih Tzu’s skin or the base of the mat when pulling; otherwise, you will pull at the Shih Tzu’s skin and cause great pain.

The finished result is called turning out a dog or in our case, turning out a Shih Tzu.

A professional groomer will have to know before the groom whether they are working on a show Shih Tzu or a pet Shih Tzu. There are many aids and coat-enhancing properties that are great for a pet Shih Tzu, but may be illegal substances in the show ring. In North America, Shih Tzu and other breeds are prepared for the show ring by clipping and coat aids like hair spray. This same technique may be seen as breaking the rules according to the British Kennel Club. Most handlers prepare the show Shih Tzu themselves. They do not often fall into the hands of the average groomer. But, do ask the owner if the dog is likely to be shown. Better to be safe than sorry.

Author: Connie Limon. I raise Shih Tzu puppies. Purchase puppies and sign up for our FREE newsletter at: http://www.stainglassshihtzus.com

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