Life with the Shih Tzu Part 1
If you want that perfect show dog look in your Shih Tzu you might as well relax to the fact that it involved brushing, brushing, brushing, and daily brushing. A thorough head-to-tail groom is often needed at least every other day if not “daily.”
However, Shih Tzu coat textures are very different. You might get by with once weekly brushing if the Shih Tzu’s coat is the type of texture that does not mat and tangle easily. If you have only one Shih Tzu, grooming should not be a problem. It can be quite pleasurable for you and your Shih Tzu. It can be an excellent time to bond with each other, and have nice close little chats with each other.
Where do you start?
A good place to start grooming your Shih Tzu is on the tummy, the chest and inside the legs…….perhaps……there are other opinions of course, but in this article I will direct you to start with the tummy, the chest and inside the legs.
You will need to have your Shih Tzu lie on his side on the table (be sure you have a nice, sturdy table to groom your Shih Tzu). There is nothing worse than a grooming table that wobbles around, except of course a grooming area that is not organized. You also need to have all your equipment organized and ready to use.
So now that you have your Shih Tzu lying on its side on the table, with his legs towards you (this can be an accomplishment in itself that may take several short training sessions to get done). If the Shih Tzu just will not cooperate with you, you can start trying to train him by having him lay tummy upwards in your lap with his head facing your chest. Do this exercise first for a few days if he absolutely refuses to lie this way on the grooming table.
If the above fails, you might try to groom the chest and tummy while the Shih Tzu sits on the table facing you, holding him up into a begging position by the front paws; this is not easy, since both hands are needed for some parts of the grooming, but you might have to try this as a last resort. If your Shih Tzu mats the tummy will be a prime target for matting.
The tummy side of a Shih Tzu is sensitive also, so be gentle in this area. Check where the legs meet the body, this is a prime target area for severe matting as well. Something you don’t want to deal with is severe mats in these areas. These are extra sensitive areas on your Shih Tzu. The best rule to follow is pay close attention to these areas on a daily basis and never allows the mats to occur. The hair around the male penis can also be a very sensitive trouble spot. It is best to keep this area clean and shaved off. Your male Shih Tzu will give you a sigh of relief when you remove the hair in this area.
How do you remove knots and mats?
If you come across a mat or knot first try to tease it apart with your fingers. Then take a comb and use the end with coarse teeth to tease out the tangle slowly, working from the outside inwards and holding the hair between the knot and the body between your fingers so that you don’t pull too hard and hurt the Shih Tzu. If all else fails, a knot may have to be cut out. Cut into the knotted hair away from the dog several times before gently using the comb to clear away the knot. Never cut across the coat. This will leave an obvious hole. If you will cut down through the length of the coat you will cause much less damage. Note: The hair on the legs is more likely to tangle than anywhere else. So…..pay particular attention to these areas as well to avoid those awful and painful mats.
This article continues in Part II of “Life with the Shih Tzu.”