Basic Care for the Long Coated Breed

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After purchasing your first longhaired dog breed, be it Poodle, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso or other varieties, there are some simple procedures for keeping him/her in top condition. If you made your purchase from a registered breeder, you may already be aware of the care a longhaired breed needs, if not then please read on.

For the Poodle, at 8 weeks of age your puppy should already have its feet, face and base of tail clipped. This should be done every 4 weeks until the pup is 6 months old, this enables the pup to become accustomed to the feel and noise of the clippers, for other breeds they should have regular trims around the eyes, feet and anus so that the pup gets used to being handled. Ears should be plucked at this time and also the nails should be trimmed. Check ears weekly and clean them with a good ear cleaner.

As an adult, low maintenance trims should be done every 6-8 weeks. If you prefer your breed to be kept longer, they will need to be professionally trimmed or groomed out more frequently.  Brushing with a slicker brush every day while the pup is young will get him into a routine and will keep him knot free. Run a steel comb through the coat after brushing just to be sure no knots were missed. As an adult, thorough grooming three times a week is sufficient.

Grooming and removal of knots is essential BEFORE bathing.

When brushing, part the coat and brush from the roots out. Poodles DO MOULT, but they do not drop their hair, when they moult they need to be brushed more regularly; otherwise the dead hair stays in the coat and will become matted. Mild, medicated pet shampoos are recommended, most products will contain a moisturizing agent, and conditioning is not usually needed. Always ensure ALL shampoo is rinsed, otherwise dandruff will occur and may make the dog itch.

Try not to be tempted to bath your dog too often as this can cause dry skin, it is more important to brush regularly to remove dirt and dust. Once a month is sufficient unless of course he rolls in some manure!

If your puppy objects to brushing, you must persist and be consistent (just as for toilet training). Place your puppy on a table with a mat so he does not slip (a towel or mat on the washing machine is an ideal height) and spend a few minutes brushing every day and don’t stop because he’s trying to bite or yelps, as this is his way of teaching YOU! He will soon learn that the job gets done quicker when there is no fuss.

Always remember to praise when he has been good. Do not play with the pup while he is on the table, otherwise he will not understand the difference between playtime and groomtime.

A common thought amongst pet owners is that some breeds should be kept long during the winter because “he will get cold”.

This is OK if you are prepared to do the work to keep his coat knot free. If you leave your dog to be a long matted mess because it is too cold, your groomer will have no alternative but to strip your dog bald. If you prefer a short, maintenance free cut for your dog, it is best to be short all year round as the body will climatise and cope better. It is no problem if the dog is inside all day and night, and if he is an outside dog, a weatherproof kennel will keep him warm. Doggy jumpers come in handy for your shorthaired pet when you are out in the weather, but can cause the longer coat to matt twice as fast.

Groomtime is just as important as Playtime and helps the bonding process between owner and pup.

Information contained on this page is (c) copyright koolandra 2002