As beautiful as the Shih Tzu coat can be, it can be a pain for the dog's owner to manage. And for the Shih Tzu, a long flowing coat can be stifling in warm weather. Therefore, if your Shih Tzu is not competing in dog shows, you might consider the puppy cut. In the dog grooming world, a puppy cut is a grooming style that mimics the look of a puppy before his hair grows. The length can vary to taste, but as a rule it's about an inch long all around.
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Take your Shih Tzu to a quiet, clean workspace that is well lit and has a level surface. A table or a desk is fine, but you can use the floor in a pinch. Consider asking a friend to help you hold your Shih Tzu as you groom your dog.
Start on your Shih Tzu's back and move around his trunk. Place him in a lying position, and start cutting the fur on his back. The key to a puppy cut is that the fur is about an inch or less long and all the same length. Once you have the Shih Tzu's back the length you want, use this as a guide for how short to cut the rest of the fur.
Move on to the hindquarters. Don't cut the tail because without the plume, your dog will look pretty sad. Just be sure to lift the tail up to trim near the anal area. Clip the legs and paws next. Have your Shih Tzu get in the standing position, and hold the leg you're working on firmly yet gently. Trim the legs so that they look like straight-legged trousers. In order words, you shouldn't be able to tell where the legs are thicker or skinnier. At the paw, a puppy cut dictates that the Shih Tzu paw be rounded off just short enough so that you don't see the nails.
Cut down the hair on the Shih Tzu's belly. Most dogs don't like to be on their back with their belly exposed, so you can do this with the Shih Tzu in a standing position if necessary. Cut the belly fur as far down as you can, especially in the summer because it will keep him cooler. Be careful around the nipples and genitals. You want to cut close but not injure these areas. Work slowly and carefully.
Use scissors to trim the head of a Shih Tzu because you probably will have more control with scissors. Hold the Shih Tzu by the neck to avoid unnecessary movement, and use the other hand do the trimming. The fur on the head doesn't have to be that short, but it does have to be rounded and short enough that the Shih Tzu can see without obstruction. You also should also trim the hair between the eyes and nose.
Tips and warnings
- Although clippers are quite handy for grooming your dog, some people are more successful with a pair of scissors. Even if you prefer clippers, if your Shih Tzu has very long hair, you can remove a good bit of it using the scissors and then finish it with the clippers.
- A Shih Tzu should be accustomed to being groomed often and trained to tolerate the process. However, if grooming your dog is difficult because your Shih Tzu doesn't want to have it done, consider taking him to a professional groomer for his puppy cut. A professional groomer will have the tools and training to deal with a Shih Tzu who acts out as he's being groomed.
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