Being the owner of a Shih Tzu is a huge responsibility. This breed of dog needs a great deal of care in the grooming department. Failure to maintain a Shih Tzu’s hair results in matted hair and an unhappy dog. Fortunately, with a little guidance, grooming your new pooch is something you can do from the comfort of your own home. Keep reading to learn how to groom your Shih Tzu with clippers as well as everything else you need to know about the grooming process from start to finish.
Should You Groom Your Dog at Home?
Now, you could bypass this entire guide and just take your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer. But, the hair of a Shih Tzu grows quickly and your dog will need regular trips to the groomer if you decide to take this route. Alternatively, there are a wealth of benefits to grooming your dog at home instead.
– Unfamiliar environments – such as at a professional groomer – can make your dog uncomfortable.
– Professional grooming gets expensive with how often your dog needs care.
– Grooming at home offers a unique opportunity to bond with your dog while performing this task.
– You get complete control of how you style your dog’s hair, which is a great deal of fun!
Getting Started by Doing a Rough-In
“Rough in” is the process of clipping off a bulk of the dog’s hair before bathing and drying the dog to finish the grooming process. You decide which blade to use by looking at the length of the dog’s hair. The longer your dog’s hair is, the smaller the blade number should be. A #5 blade, for example, is a nice choice when you want the dog’s hair to be short enough to enjoy the summer without leaving the dog completely hairless.
It is during the rough in process, that you want to clean your dog’s ears out and clip their nails. When clipping the nails, try to get as close as you can to the quick without hitting it. A Dremel tool is an effective way to get closer to the quick without hurting your pet.
Now, attach the blade to the clippers and clip the legs and body of your dog. During the rough-in process, you do not need to worry too much about how well the cut job looks. Roughing in is just to remove the bulk of the hair. Once you finish the rough in process and give your pooch a nice bath, you can start the real work of styling what’s left. One of the most important things to remember as you learn how to groom a Shih Tzu with clippers is to clip with the grain of the dog’s hair and not against it.
Giving Your Dog a Bath
While you want to give your dog a good bath, it is important to make sure you only use pet-safe products. Make sure to pay attention to your dog’s feet, especially between the pads. Also, give the ears a good washing as a lot of grime builds up there over time. Take care to rinse off all the soap and then spend an extra minute or two rinsing after you believe you rinsed out all the soap, just to be sure. The Waterpik PPR-252 Pet Wand Pro Dog Shower Attachment for indoor-outdoor use makes short work of this task.
Use a thick and fluffy towel as well as a blow dryer on a low setting to dry your dog off. Never use a high setting on a blow dryer because it can burn your pet’s skin. Another important factor to remember as you learn how to groom your Shih Tzu with clippers is never to use the clippers while the dog’s hair is still wet. This will ruin the blades. You should also brush and comb out the dog’s hair to make sure there are no tangles before you continue with the grooming process.
Cutting and Trimming
Now, you want to go back over your pooch’s legs and body with the same blade you used before the bath. If you think the coat looks uneven, brush it out once more and run the clippers with the grain once more. A cordless set of clippers works best for clipping the sanitary areas of your dog as you do not want to run the clippers over these areas too many times. Next, you can use a scooping motion to clip the fur around your dog’s large pad. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can run the clipper around your dogs’ eyes as well. Just take care not to run the clippers on the bridge of the dog’s nose.
When you move to run the clippers on the armpit of your dog, it is Shih Tzu, it is important to go slow. The skin on your pet’s armpit is extremely thin, which makes it very easy to slice.
Anyone who has ever shaved knows what razor burn is all too well. If you don’t, you should consider yourself very lucky. Clipper burn is razor burn for dogs. If you notice red bumps forming on your dog’s skin, it means the clippers have gone over the skin too many times. Gold Medal Pets is highly recommended for making dogs with clipper burn more comfortable.
The Head and Face
Even if you were comfortable clipping around your dog’s eyes, you still need to tend to the rest of your dog’s head and face. To do this properly, you want a blade that is two or three sizes larger than the blade you used the trim the body hair. For example, if you used a #5 on the body, you should use a #3 on the face and head. Starting with your dog’s eyes, work your way back over your dog’s head down to where the bone sticks out at the base of your pet’s skull. While you should clip the cheeks and the chin with clippers, you should leave the mustache trimming for scissors.
Ideally, you need both scissors and thinning shears to cut your Shih Tzu’s mustache properly. Use the scissors first to cut the mustache into a “U” shape. Then, you can use the thinning shears to thin out the hair. While the thinning shears are not necessary to finish the groom job, it will make the mustache a little less thick which means it will lift a little weight off your dog’s face. What you do with the hair around your pet’s ears is a decision only you can make. Everyone likes to style the hair on their Shih Tzu’s ears differently. Again, just consider using the thinning shears to thin the hair out after you finish styling it.
The Paws and Tail
Because the paws and tail on your Shih Tzu are so sensitive, it is in your dog’s best interest for you to use scissors instead of clippers on these areas. Use the scissors to trim up the hair on the paws until it looks nice. Then, grab the hair at the end of your dog’s tail and pull it together. Measure out one to two inches away from the heel and then cut the hair off. You can, however, just do a “blunt cut” – which is simply chopping the hair off – or you can style the hair if you prefer. Again, this is a matter of personal preference based on how you want the dog to look and how comfortable you are cutting the fur. The blunt cut is easier for someone who has never groomed their pooch before.
If this is your first time grooming your dog’s fur, it is important for you to remain calm and confident. If your dog senses you are nervous and afraid to do something wrong, it will make your dog nervous and afraid too. Your dog isn’t going to feel safe and comfortable during the grooming process if you do not give off cool, calm, and collected vibes.
In becoming the owner of a Shih Tzu, you owe it to yourself to learn how to care for your pooch properly. By learning things such as how to groom your Shih Tzu with clippers, you won’t have to worry about hefty professional grooming bills, and you can rest easy knowing your dog is always comfortable in hair that is non-matted and tangles free.