The Shih Tzu is known for its long, luxurious double coat. And while that famous coat is beautiful, maintaining it can feel like a full-time job. You need to brush your dog's coat regularly to prevent the tangles and mats that can make your Shih Tzu uncomfortable. And that's a regimen you must dedicate yourself to during your dog's lifespan. If you don't have the time or patience to keep your dog in full coat, you may want to opt for a shorter cut.
Deciding to clip
Shih Tzus usually get their first trim at three or four months of age, and then about every four to six weeks for the rest of their lives. You can choose to take your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer or learn to clip him yourself.
Clipping your Shih Tzu is easier than you might think, as long as you know how the dog should look. The standard cut is simply a one-length puppy look, easily accomplished with clippers and scissors.
Tips for do-it-yourself Shih Tzu grooming
- Watch a DVD on dog grooming or a professional groomer first to see how to achieve a Shih Tzu puppy cut. Put up pictures of the finished Shih Tzu puppy cut as a reference.
- Use a number four blade and hold the clippers like a pencil, as lightly and firmly as you can. Sweep the dog's coat with the clippers in this position. Leave really sensitive areas like the anal region and face for scissors.
- Use positive reinforcement, verbal praise, and treats during every Shih Tzu grooming session.
- Remember that practice makes perfect. If you make a mistake at first, don't sweat it. In a few weeks, your dog's hair will grow back.
Doing your own grooming can save you money and may be less stressful for your dog. Over time, it can also become an activity you'll truly enjoy together.