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Discussion Starter #1
This might seem like a silly question, but I've never personally owned a dog that has long, time consuming fur and I couldn't find any answers online.

So over three days of volunteering at the shelter (finally found time to get back into it :D ) I have spent 5 hours (no joke) trying to brush this sweet little Shih Tzu. Her hair is so so matted around all four legs (it's not tight so it's not affecting her circulation yet), her back, and under her ears. In those five hours I've managed to untangle half of the mat on her back.
The thing though is that the hair that I've been able to untangle is thick and fluffy and doesn't match the silky texture of the rest of her fur. Will this get better once she's bathed?

I know shaving would probably be the best thing, but I don't have permission and honestly the shelter doesn't have the best system in the world. It's your typical case of the bottom employees care more than the upper employees. Also she's been incredibly sweet and patient and just lays down most of the time I'm brushing her. Not even a whimper when I'm working on a particularly hard knot. Because of her temperament I think that brushing the matts out is possible, but will her fur ever go back to the silky, Shih Tzu type fur?
 

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You're right, shaving would be best. The thing about hair damage is that it's cumulative. So while you if you stay *ON TOP* of her coat care and her hair stays washed and conditioned, it will eventually be shinier and healthier...but the damage has already been done.

Poor thing...they probably want to keep her hair long to make her cuter and more adoptable...but long matted hair is no good. Thank you for trying to help this baby
 

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Iirc shih tzus are double coated so the matting and fur being removed is likely just the undercoat. She likely just needs regular grooming to maintain her fur.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was afraid of that. Those in charge at the shelter don't really seem to care. I mean this in the nicest way possible because they're really busy during this time and incredibly understaffed. Most of the dogs haven't even had personality checks and can't even be taken outside by volunteers. That includes this dog, who I just call Daisy since she doesn't even have a name yet and I hate calling her dog or girl. They just haven't gotten around to her yet because the pit bulls, hounds, puppies, and shepherds get the immediate attention because they'll be adopted faster, opening up some of the kennels. I like the staff that's there, and I understand their actions even if I don't always agree with them. This is why I volunteer; to make up for the lack of staff.

Since I've been going there almost every day that they're open I'm hoping that I can ask for a pair of scissors and trim some around the face once the matting is gone. It's so long and I'm amazed that she doesn't have an eye infection from it.

My next question is how would I go about bathing/grooming a dog with this coat type? Resources are limited, but is there a type of shampoo that I should look for when I can finally bathe her? Conditioner? How should I go about trimming around her face? She needs it around her eyes, forehead, ears, and mouth.
 

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I was afraid of that. Those in charge at the shelter don't really seem to care. I mean this in the nicest way possible because they're really busy during this time and incredibly understaffed. Most of the dogs haven't even had personality checks and can't even be taken outside by volunteers. That includes this dog, who I just call Daisy since she doesn't even have a name yet and I hate calling her dog or girl. They just haven't gotten around to her yet because the pit bulls, hounds, puppies, and shepherds get the immediate attention because they'll be adopted faster, opening up some of the kennels. I like the staff that's there, and I understand their actions even if I don't always agree with them. This is why I volunteer; to make up for the lack of staff.

Since I've been going there almost every day that they're open I'm hoping that I can ask for a pair of scissors and trim some around the face once the matting is gone. It's so long and I'm amazed that she doesn't have an eye infection from it.

My next question is how would I go about bathing/grooming a dog with this coat type? Resources are limited, but is there a type of shampoo that I should look for when I can finally bathe her? Conditioner? How should I go about trimming around her face? She needs it around her eyes, forehead, ears, and mouth.
Hi, I have a female shih tzu x and here is some tips


  • get some curved round tipped face scissors. You need some small round tip scissors for the face. .first of all i get in between the eye brows with fingers then snip it away this really helps i find
  • Then you want to do around the eyes. Trick here is you need to hold her in a comfy position and her head still with one hand and gently around the corners snip at the hair going everywhere.

    if she has tear stains that are hard feel it and hold it then cut and do this for any hard hair on the face to trim off.
  • Does the shelter have a de matting comb? you sound as if you really need one and they are fantastic for loose ones especially and if used right wont hurt the dog.
  • far as bathing goes i brush and comb Jessie not extensivily as i brush her daily most the time and make sure its not hot water but nice warm water wet her thoroughly before shampoo.
  • When shampoo her make sure you massage it in before washing it out. repeat shampoo if you feel its needed. Now you need lots of conditioner if she has that many matts especially. id give her generous amount of conditioner and let it sit for up to five mins before rinising off. if needed repeat but with less.
  • When drying her wrap her in towel dont rub up and down but set her on all fours and gently squeeze out the water to prevent any further matting.
  • Then brush and comb her hair till nice nad smooth (if possible) then if she ok with blow dryer put it on lowest heat setting with medium fan and hold it a distance away waving it up and down that body while stroking her hair/or combing it at same time. Remember to use the cool button if need to.
  • Blow drying takes a long time on long haired shih tzus you have to make sure everywhere is dry as possible. after quick brush and good comb she should feel better right away! they have beautiful coats!
When wash face use a cloth for it. i like to pour shampoo in the water to make bubbles :)


is there over there a specific shampoo to help her kind of coat that tangles easily? if so id use that personally. I use a natural shampoo bar on mine because she doesnt handle anySLS, sulphates, parabens, fragrances very well has to be all natural eg essential oils one so its been a year since ive looked at shampoos properly sorry.

Please let me know if i can be of anymore help. Im happy to upload current pic of my shih tzu x when she was long haired(to show you how beautiful shih tzu coat can get) vs full groom. Jessie is x with australian terrier so her hair isnt probably as long as the shih tzus when long as it gets.
 

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Also the end of the eye brows can be cut off to help and does the shelter own thinning scissors? if so you can use them to thin the eyebrows and is amazing difference even with cutting in between eyebrows because can see those beautiful eyes!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@crazy

Thank you SOOOOO much! They don't have many grooming tools to choose from. I've been using a large tooth comb to pick at it since the other brushes are soft-wire and the super soft type brushes. I haven't even been able to find any scissors and was going to borrow some office scissors, but now I'm going to go buy some round tipped ones and sneak them in. I'm also not sure about what shampoos they have, but I'll definitely look for what you've described.
I've never dealt with a long haired dog before, so this has been such a great experience. I'd love seeing the pictures! That way I'd have something to visualize while I'm trimming around her face.
This girl is really changing my view of Shih Tzus. In the past I've only come across spoiled, aggressive ones where the owner was more concerned with my dog than theirs. Daisy has really showed me the great side of these dogs and she's probably the first dog that weighs less than 50 lbs that I've fallen in love with. :D
 

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I know shaving would probably be the best thing, but I don't have permission and honestly the shelter doesn't have the best system in the world. It's your typical case of the bottom employees care more than the upper employees. Also she's been incredibly sweet and patient and just lays down most of the time I'm brushing her. Not even a whimper when I'm working on a particularly hard knot. Because of her temperament I think that brushing the matts out is possible, but will her fur ever go back to the silky, Shih Tzu type fur?
Maybe you could try to help them understand that the mats are painful. As a groomer I used to explain to clients by having the grab and pull the short hairs at the back of their own necks. That is what these dogs feel like all the time it is very painful. Plus they look so cute clipped, maybe more adoptable.
 

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Before groom when long haired this year

Can always find the photo of her long haired when 11 months old for you! phone pics sorry so they never show straight
 

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Beautiful pup! Thank you so much! When I went in today it looked like someone had trimmed some of the eyebrows and forehead, but did nothing for the matting. :/
It's coming along a little bit faster and I was able to work on her front right leg a little. I bought the scissors you mentioned afterwards so hopefully tomorrow we can make much quicker progress and finally get the poor girl a bath. I'll definitely read that thread as well since I think the hair around her eyes is still a little much. I'd take her home with me in a heartbeat but she's way too calm for my active pup. He'd drive her crazy haha.
 

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Beautiful pup! Thank you so much! When I went in today it looked like someone had trimmed some of the eyebrows and forehead, but did nothing for the matting. :/
It's coming along a little bit faster and I was able to work on her front right leg a little. I bought the scissors you mentioned afterwards so hopefully tomorrow we can make much quicker progress and finally get the poor girl a bath. I'll definitely read that thread as well since I think the hair around her eyes is still a little much. I'd take her home with me in a heartbeat but she's way too calm for my active pup. He'd drive her crazy haha.
Thanks she is 3 years soon! to me always a baby though well my baby! you can see esp in the how did i do thread how getting in between the eyebrows and cutting it out really opens those eyes up. Feel free to hold her head still and where the eyebrows overgrow to trim them back a bit as well as thin them and get the long bit at the side trimmed to see those eyes alot better!

Yes forehead can need doing/trimming if you dont do top knot but you need special hair band for that so doesnt hurt her hair. If any thinning scissors you will want to thin her all the way down her neck, back etc. Also when i was on holiday in the UK this year i came across the most matted shih tzu/dog in my life! had to cut some out they were so so tight it was hurting him. otherwise here is another tip to help brush matt out put hand on half the matt and use a slicker brush gently but firmly to help brush it out, that is what i found that worked with that shih tzu. However he was so dirty he had to have a bath first and the water was black!

Got it matt free 90% but boy that was few hour work and i did enjoy it and i enjoy grooming dogs but the poor dog.

p.s you can get dog tangle free sprays to help you out!
 

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Another thing that might be worth getting is detangling spray, it might help get the mats out easier. And I think they also make a detangling shampoo for dogs which might also help once you can bath her.

Maybe you could talk with some one in the shelter and offer to groom her for free in the sense of shaving her down to get rid of the mats and trimming her properly.

Good luck with her :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everyone for all the helpful advice. Unfortunately (and fortunately) when I went in today (after buying the scissors) she was with a prospective adopter so I didn't get to see her. However I was told that the guy looking at her said that the first thing he'd do is take her to a groomer. It was kind of odd because grooming her has been the only thing I've been doing at the shelter for the past couple of visits, so I had to get back in the groove of playing/grooming other dogs. Hopefully she'll be adopted and I'll get to see her one last time tomorrow. :D
 
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