Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gimme a sign!

Week three since being bred and Holly has decided she won't eat her food without a little sumthin-sumthin on top - ground beef or chicken.

The picky eating phase of pregnancy maybe??

Stay tuned!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

My grooming 101

When people ask me how to keep a Shih Tzu in full coat, my answers are simple. Start with a well bred coat, brush daily and find products you like that enhance the coat texture and make your job easier.

I never lie about what I use and nothing I use is a secret. The fact of the matter is that anyone can keep a Shih Tzu in full coat - you just have to brush it. The products you use are a matter of personal preference. Put 10 Shih Tzu exhibitors in a room and I will bet you that you will get 10 different answers about what they use. Some of them will tell you the truth. :) What I have found though is that some products make life a lot easier than others. There are things to use for bathing, for staining, for damage repair, etc. Today I'm going to focus on bathing. Why? Because I just groomed out my two girls - Samantha and Sabrina - and they look FABULOUS. Too fabulous not to share.

The well-bred coat part of the formula is probably the most difficult part. I am lucky right now because I have some fabulous black & white coats to work with. They are strong, silky and forgiving. Staining is minimal and texture is to die for. These things make my job a LOT easier!

Here are my "secrets" that aren't really secrets. Ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you these are my tools of choice.

My favorite shampoo:

Best Shot Ultra Wash. Of course I follow with:

Best Shot Ultra Plenish Conditioner and:

Best Shot Ultra Vitalizing Mist.

And YES - all of these products have silicone in them! OH.MY.GOD. How can anyone use a silicone product?? It breaks coat! It dries coat!

Forget what you have read about silicone on Shih Tzu coat. Silicone today is engineered to be friendly to coat. This stuff ROCKS in my opinion. It leaves a finish that you just don't get with anything else. And believe me, in the past 12 years I have tried A LOT of product. I have used this stuff exclusively for the last 6 years. Judges lift up the coat on my dogs, feel it and several comment about the luxurious texture. The coats drop nicely from the body and the undercoat is extremely manageable. The coats stay cleaner, longer. The coats do not break. My dogs run the house, on tile, but their yard is crushed rock over hard packed AZ dirt. To say AZ is dusty is an understatement. And DRY. This climate is killer on everything. And this stuff is amazing.

I never strip the coats, I just do the same thing with each washing session. And I rinse COMPLETELY until the rinse water runs clear between both shampoo and conditioning.

After bathing I wrap the dog in a couple of towels and sit with them for a few minutes to soak up some of the water. Then I put them under the dryer. I use a tourmaline, ceramic, ionic blow dryer, 1800 watt on low heat and low speed. It is a model by Revlon which I bought at Wal-Mart. Yes it's for humans. I have a dryer holder I bought several years ago called a Hair Maid. That way both of my hands are free to work on the dog.

My brushes:

I call this my Mason Pierson knock off. I once spent the big bucks for a Mason Pierson brush. Loved it! LOST IT at a dog show. Or someone ripped it off. Whatever - it disappeared. So I sought out a knock off. You can buy this brush at Ulta. It is a pocket sized brush and costs about $17. I LOVE this brush. It works well on separating the spider webbing in undercoat without damaging it.

If I find some matting I will break it apart and work this brush thru it. If it is a stubborn mat, I will spray with the Ultra Vitalizing Mist and work it in then leave the mat to soak. I'll make my way back to the mat in question after a few minutes.

After I have worked thru any matting, I then go to:

My trusty Chris Christensen Fusion Brush. The handle is a dried ash and it is light as a feather. The bristles are brass plated with finished ends. This means two things - the brass plating eliminates static electricity. The finished ends are smooth and round. These two things eliminate coat breakage. I personally work with pocket sized brushes. I hate full size brushes in general. I find the smaller brush allows you to concentrate on getting a good blow out - nice and straight. And it forces you to get into all the nooks and crannies - to get out those mats that love to hide under arms and in back of ears.

I follow with a teflon coated Greyhound comb and then use a small slicker to ease out any pin mats that remain.

I work thru the entire coat, starting with the head first. I stop when the headpiece is dry and I band it. I have a couple of combs I use - mostly the full sized Greyhound mentioned above, but on the face I use an orange rat tail comb I found at Sally Beauty Supply. It's called a "bone" comb. Someone tried to tell me it was made of real bone, but it isn't - it's just orange plastic. But its gentle around the face and I find the rat tail easy enough to use to separate the topknot sections and the facial furnishings. If I want to get fine detail around the face, I use my small 5" greyhound, also teflon coated, that has one side that has teeth almost as close as a flea comb. It works well to get around the eyes and making sure there is no "gunk" left around the delicate eye area. I use lubricating eye drops on a cheesecloth type towel to go around the eyes if they need detail cleaning. And follow with the small Greyhound comb.

For more detail work, I have another rat tail comb with a metal tail. I use this for parts down the back mostly and not around the face.

Once thru with the head, I start on the body. I work from the front show-side paw and work from the bottom up, move to the back paw the same way and then the side coat on the show-side. Then I work the tail area and back skirt. Then move from back non-show-side paw to front non-show-side paw. Finally the chest area. Then I go back thru the whole coat and spot dry whatever wasn't completely dry from the first go around.

My philosophy is that if you take the time to do a good blow out - you will spend less time ironing on show day. And on non show weeks, taking the time to do a good blow dry means less matting I believe.

Anyway - those are my wash day "secrets." Take them for what you feel they are worth, but don't say I don't share any of my trade secrets! ;)

Here are Samantha and Sabrina.

NOTE: I did not receive any gain, financial or otherwise, from endorsing any of the products mentioned above.

The things people search for

I'm not the most technically savvy individual, but I know enough to be dangerous. :) One of my most recent finds has been to see where all of you lovely people come from that visit my humble blog.

I know some of you find me through Facebook links. Welcome to all the new visitors!

My personal friends find me because that's what friends do! ;) Thanks for keeping me on your radar!

Some of you find me because you are part of the WoTeH'sin family. Thank you for stopping by!

Some of you find me because you want to keep track of me for one reason or another. You know who you are . . . and now, so do I! :D

And some of you find me through the wonders of search engines. And search you do. For things I would never imagine would point to my blog!

You see, one of the things that my newest technical finds actually shows are the links from which people visit! And if it's from a search engine, many times - most actually, it shows what the individual was searching for when they found me. And trust me when I tell you that this information has been incredibly entertaining recently. LOL

To the person in the southeast that wants to find out how to paint on eyestripes - I have three comments:

1) You should breed for eyestripes - not paint them in.

2) If you must paint them in - ask your MENTOR the various practiced enhancement methods and try them in the privacy of your own home to see what works best, if at all, for your dog. Don't search for it on Google. There is not one SKILLED exhibitor/handler out there that would actually post this on the internet for God's sake! Do you really think that someone would publicly post a practice that specifically is cause for ring dismissal??

3) After a most recent FB exchange regarding RESPONSIBLE breeders educating the puppy buying public, you're lucky I have some discretion! :) Do you tell your puppy buyers you paint on eyestripes? Just curious . . .