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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have decided to take the plunge and let my yorkie/shih tzu mix grow out his coat.
Before this dog, I had a Lhasa Apso, so am well-acquainted with long-coated dogs, although I have never let the coat grow out completely to the ground. I would like to try it, and am looking for advice, support, opinions, whatever - as you can probably tell, I'm somewhat nervous about it.

In terms of his current grooming regimen, he gets bathed once a week, and brushed down daily (which he LOVES!), so I think he will take well to the extra grooming, if any, that will be required.

I am somewhat concerned because he has a lot of yorkie-type hair tufts very near his eyes, and I am constantly trying to keep it from touching the eyeball.

So any input from you long-coat dog owners/groomers out there will be greatly appreciated...
 

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I wish you the best of luck on your quest, it's alot of work keeping a longhaired dog in coat but it's well worth it. It sounds like you're off to a good start with the weekly bathing, however I wouldn't brush him daily. Brushing a dry or dirty coat can damage the hair and cause it to break before it's even gotten much of a chance to grow. If you'd like to keep bruching him daily then I would spritz him with some water or very diluted conditioner before brushing.

What type of shampoos/condtioners are you using?
What types of brushes/combs are you using?
 

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Sorry, I'll disagree, and say you should be brushing/combing daily as long as your doing it correctly, you'll not be damaging the coat. However I wouldn't bathe as frequently as once a week, the daily brushing/combing would keep him clean. The weekly baths could lead to dry skin, as your stripping the natural oils out and unless he's extremely dirty, every 4 - 6 weeks for a bath is sufficient.
You can use a spray in conditioner/detangler lightly, to help keep the coat conditioned and easy the tangles out. There's many brands out their available, such as Best Shot's Vitalizing Mist ( just the one I currently have and could name. but there's many others )
 

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Sorry, I'll disagree, and say you should be brushing/combing daily as long as your doing it correctly, you'll not be damaging the coat. However I wouldn't bathe as frequently as once a week, the daily brushing/combing would keep him clean. The weekly baths could lead to dry skin, as your stripping the natural oils out and unless he's extremely dirty, every 4 - 6 weeks for a bath is sufficient.
You can use a spray in conditioner/detangler lightly, to help keep the coat conditioned and easy the tangles out. There's many brands out their available, such as Best Shot's Vitalizing Mist ( just the one I currently have and could name. but there's many others )
Weekly baths IME depend on the dog, the dogs's coat, what products are being used, if the owner is drying the dog and HOW the owner is drying the dog, etc :) A weekly bath for my GSD would probably dry him out, even with conditioner. If he gets a bath more than every 3 weeks or so he starts getting dry. My oldest papillon looks gross after 2 weeks...greasy, dirty, etc. (He gets brushed about two times a week and is on a raw diet...he's always been a "greasy" dog!) My other papillon can swing either way...if I don't bathe him for a month, he looks fine. If I bathe him weekly, he looks fine and his skin is no drier than if I hadn't bathed him at all. A lot of it IME is trial and error--if you bathe a dog weekly and their skin starts drying out, do something different. If not, you're OK. :)
My biggest concern with a yorkie shih-tzu mix is what type of coat does he have (more yorkie, more shih-tzu?), and if and how the owner plans to dry the dog after being bathed. Air dry, towel dry, HVD, or hair dryer, or a combination of these? Some dogs can clump up into a solid mat if left to air dry, and some mat up at the skin or in friction areas (collar, armpits, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good replies, all...I am using the same bathing protocol I used for our Lhasa Apso (RIP Nighty), given to me by the breeder (and Lhasa shower) we bought him from - that is, once-weekly shampooing with a mild puppy shampoo, followed by a creme rinse/detangler and half air dry/half blow dry. It worked well for our Lhasa for the 12+ years we had him, but as I said, we never let the hair grow completely out, either.

Ziggy has very soft, silky hair on his body, and the greasy-looking (to me, anyway), tufted yorkshire hair on his head and face. Much different from the coarser double-coat of our Lhasa.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What I really want to know is, how do the owners of the hair-to-the-floor dogs deal with the in-between stage as far as the hair getting into the eyes?? I have NEVER been able to get past that part, and it has caused me to give up & call the groomer before I am even halfway there :-(
 

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Hi MariJoy,

The best groomers I've seen have this amazing ability to be calm and assertive when grooming squirmy dogs. So I think it's a combination of desensitization, and being confident and assertive when handling your dog. Try to get your dog used to have their face touched and handled. I wouldn't introduce the shears until you are able to touch her close to the eye no problem, and then eventually pretend to snip without her moving. I've also seen groomers hold my dog's chin hair, so the head stays still, and they use longer shears so there's no possibility of it poking their eye *ouch*!

Dogs can read your energy. If you're nervous/anxious about cutting her hair, you're giving her reason to be nervous and anxious when you approach her with giant shears hahah

Also, keep all your grooming supplies and especially shears near her often (with supervision of course, don't leave her alone with those!). So she gets used to seeing them and won't freak out when you take them out. Hold them in your hand randomly, let her sniff them, touch them, pick them up and put hem somewhere else. Just have her used to seeing them. Dogs often freak out about nail clippers and things because when they're taken out it means they're getting their nails clipped - but what if they were out all the time?? Would become a normal, boring, day to day thing, it would!

Don't let her get away with squirming, hold her chin hair, and pretend to cut, then treat her! Keep doing this until she associates the hair cutting with a positive experience. It's not going to come easy, but I think it's worth it to save the grooming costs :)
 

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With my Afghan hound I do once weekly bath and brushout and let her air dry for maintenace grooms. If her hair is extra wavy after ar drying then I'll spritz her with diluted conditioner bruch it through the coat. I only blow dry when we're getting ready for a show to straiten the hair. Blow drying dry's out the coat allowing it to break easier and can cause tangles.

Thankfully Afghans have smooth faces so I don't have to deal with her hair poking her directly in the eyes, but I do band up her top knot so it doesn't constanly fall into her face when she plays. If you boy's hair is long enough you could try doing a small series of bands up his face until you're able to get it all up into a top knot. Here's some photos from today of my girl's topknot in bands.

 

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with bathing weekly. Show dogs are bathed at least weekly. Its all about technique and products. Weekly baths also grows coat faster. Brush daily to every other day, using a good brushout spray WITHOUT silicone. Crown Royale #2, or EZ Groom Ruff Out are my favorites. Use a soft slicker like Chris Christensens, and a greyhound comb. The hair above the eyes can be clipped up with toddler barrettes, like the ones that open and close with a snapping motion, until its long enough for a band. The hair in the inside corners of the eyes is difficult to grow out as it can take a year to be long enough to lay down, and on a pet isnt worth all the eye poking. You can shave the tiny inside corners of the eyes and leave the bridge of the nose to grow. Same look, no one would notice the eye corners trimmed. The softer and wavier and lighter the coat, the less the long look works. It has to be heavy enough at long lengths to lay down rather than poof out, and if there are no heavy guard hairs its likely to not happen. Coat Handler makes an awesome conditioner, and if diluted down more works great as a leave in conditioner.
 

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Awesome. Wow, what a dog you have there :) I am always amazed by people who get their dogs to look like that...
Aw, thanks. Its not fair though, I am a professional groomer...I live in dog hair..lol Experience and training is everything, and something a pet owner simply cannot duplicate at home. You will do great though, just keep at it. :)
 
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