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Washing a Shih-tzu

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A shih-tzu is a breed of dog originating in China - its name derives from the Chinese shizi meaning 'lion'. They are small dogs with exceptionally long hair and teeny-weeny legs. This is what a shih-tzu looks like1. Many owners decide to keep their shih-tzu's hair at a manageable length and discard the bow.

The reason that shih-tzus are so difficult to clean is that they are so easily dirtied. They don't have snouts; their noses are incredibly close to their faces, so if they are fed wet food, goop ends up all over their faces, ears, nose, eyes and any surface around their bowl. Add to this mess the fact that their stomachs are very close to the ground, meaning they pick up all kinds of dirt and mess when they go out for a walk, and a shih-tzu is a mucky dog indeed. In all, a shih-tzu will need a good face wash every day and a bath at least once a month. Otherwise they will pong; really pong. Below is a step-by-step method on how to get the little darling clean.

It's Bath Time

  1. You'll need to get a good dog shampoo that doesn't remove the essential oils from a dog's fur. You'll also need the indispensable towel (a large one as you'll soon realise that the dog is mostly hair and a little flesh), and some kitchen roll.

  2. Brush the dog now before he gets wet and it will be easier brushing him afterwards.

  3. Next, get the water running at a warm temperature. You don't want it too hot or you'll scald the animal or too cold or they end up looking up at you with bewildered, pleading eyes. You'll need to remove the collar at this point and put the dog in the bath.

  4. This is when you'll have to have a heart of stone as this is the stage where the dog knows what is coming his way. Ignore it - it may be painful but now is the time to wet the dog.

  5. Once the pooch is soaked, quickly run a generous portion of the shampoo down his spine and massage the shampoo into a froth and massage around his entire body and end up on the undercarriage. Don't forget to massage the chest, too.

  6. Rinse the dog.

  7. Repeat, but this time include the tail.

  8. The head is the tricky part. It's best to start with the ears - take a small amount of shampoo and gently massage the ear - you will feel encrusted muck which you can apply a little pressure on to remove. Repeat for the other ear and rinse.

  9. For the face, wet the kitchen roll and apply a little shampoo. Start with the eye area and remove any goop - this may take some time. Then lather up the rest of your dog's face in circular actions; this will remove any dirt that is closer to the skin.

  10. Rinse the entire dog again, ensuring that all the soap is removed.

  11. Towel-dry your pooch, let him have a good shake and then finish off with a hair dryer. Only brush the shih-tzu after he is fully dried.

  12. Play with the dog until it is exhausted, as a reward for being such a good boy/girl.

1This Researcher would like to point out that his shih-tzu does not have long hair or a bow - his dog may be small, but he's a dog, not a doll.

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