As many of you may know,
my dogs, Jimmy Stewart and Greta Garbo are a very big part of my life. They are both purebred Havanese; Greta is 4 and Jimmy is 2 1/2. This particular breed requires a great deal of grooming. I thought I would share with you how you can groom your dog yourself and save lots of money.
The Havanese breed is a fun-loving little dog
that make great companions and are often called clowns and Velcro dogs. Clowns because they’re so silly and Velcro because they stick to their owners…like Velcro. 🙂
Another obvious trait about the Havanese
is their long beautiful coat, which I adore. Many Havanese owners keep them in a very short coat to keep maintenance to a minimum. I don’t blame them at all for doing that and would prefer to see a dog kept short when the owner knows they won’t be able to keep up with daily brushing. Matts and tangles are very painful for dogs and happen quickly without frequent/daily brushing. Every dog owner should do what’s best for them and their dog.
I have always wanted a long-coated dog
and when I got Greta …….I was determined to learn all I could about this gorgeous breed and how to maintain a full coat.
Greta came into our family at 14 weeks
old and I made a couple of decisions right then and there.
- I would let her coat grow into the long coat that Havanese are known for, and
- I would learn how to groom her myself.
I watched grooming videos
on youtube and learned all about daily brushing, ponytails, and all the equipment necessary to keep my Havanese in her full coat without having the expense of regularly visiting a groomer. I quickly realized that the first thing I needed was a designated place for all the daily brushing that I had just signed up for. Dogs adapt very quickly to structure and when they are groomed in the same place it helps them to adjust to this as part of life.
The first investment I made
for dog grooming was a good grooming table and I can’t imagine not having one now! My dogs each weigh about 15 pounds but I am so glad I got a large table. I have plenty of room for them to lie down (that’s how they do best for brushing so we allow it). 🙂 I also keep my Surface tablet on the table for all of my Hulu and Netflix watching while I brush! (hey, it’s good to multi-task) This table is strong and sturdy and doesn’t even budge with our daughter’s full-grown Golden Doodle wiggling all over it.
Because my dogs prefer to lie down while being brushed I keep a pad on it for the comfy factor. It’s actually a bath mat that I picked up at Costco when Greta was a baby. But you can get one like it here! When we travel with the dogs, I don’t take the table, but I do take the mat and it’s helpful for them to know that it’s grooming time when the mat comes out.
The first order of business
for any dog, whether you do your own grooming or not, is brushing. Brushing is important not only to keep your dog’s coat in shape and tangle-free but it’s also very good for their skin. Whether your dog is long or short-haired, brushing is very important! For the long-coated dogs it needs to be done much more often, but the short coat dogs benefit from brushing as well because it’s good for their skin and coat. It helps them to remember that you’re in charge, and it’s also a great bonding time
I don’t use a slicker brush
on my dogs because, well, because I don’t like them. I think they’re hard on the coat and I know they’re rough on the skin. I actually use a wet/dry brush. For my long-haired dogs, this brush works the very best and I don’t feel like it damages their coats at all, but the best part is it doesn’t pull their hair. I use one for my own hair and I know it feels great! I also use a pin brush and prefer the Chris Christensen brand.
A very important part of brushing
a long-haired dog is a comb! You need to make sure you’re getting your dog’s coat brushed out all the way to the skin and a comb is the only way to do that. I use this comb all over the body and legs and this comb for the face. I’ve tried other combs but once I found the Chris Christensen combs I knew I’d found the best and will NOT use anything else. I left one at my daughter’s house when Greta and I visited her and she used it on her dog, long story short…I bought myself a new one. LOL!!! They’re called Buttercombs for a reason; they go through the coat like butter. I always brush first and then go through the entire coat with the comb to make sure I haven’t missed anything!
Brushing should be a good experience
for you and your furry little one. Take your time and brush gently and thoroughly while reassuring your dog that he/she’s a good boy/girl. Even an older dog can learn to tolerate brushing but you may need to start very slowly and be extremely patient. Offer a treat when they’re being still and quiet and always, when the session is complete, give a big treat and lots of praise.
I use a brushing spray
which is helpful to give the coat strength and keep it from becoming static. It also helps to loosen tangles, add shine, and make your baby smell fabulous. Tangles can be removed very carefully by using the corner of the comb and starting at the end of the tangle away from the skin. I love this Ultra-Vitalizing mist from Best Shot, it’s designed for dog’s coats and helps keep them in great shape without causing dirt and grime to build up on the coat!
Whether you’re brushing a long coat
or a short coat, take your time and enjoy the time spent with your dog. I tend to watch something on my Surface tablet while I’m brushing but I also Marco Polo with my friends and daughters. It makes the time go quickly and helps me to be relaxed, and I think the dogs like it too.
I hope you’ve gained some confidence
from this how-to and I highly encourage you to start brushing your dog. Whether it be a puppy or a full-grown adult dog, just know that it takes time and patience and eventually your dog will enjoy his/her special time with you.
The clips that I now use
in both Greta and Jimmy’s hair (Jimmy wears his bows loud and proud) are from www.cotonsalon.com and are called the Large Butterfly Clip. They don’t break the hair and stay in very well! If the dogs have been playing a lot the clips may slip sideways but they are super easy to quickly straighten up and seldom ever fall out!
Greta and Jimmy and I will be back next week
with a full tutorial on bathing and blow-drying your dog and the equipment that I use and highly recommend.
Happy Brushing my friends!