Training Your Lhasa Apso Puppy For Grooming

  • 22/11/2010
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Regular grooming is a necessity if you plan to keep your Lhasa Apso's coat free of mats and tangles. Therefore, it is necessary to teach your Lhasa puppy--when he is young and before he really requires a lot of brushing--to accept grooming as part of his routine. Whether you will be doing the routine grooming yourself or taking your dog to a professional groomer, this early training will pay off.

Even if you later decide to keep your Lhasa's coat trimmed or clipped down entirely, early grooming lessons are valuable and will eventually save you time and perhaps even some money if you take your dog to a professional groomer.

Begin your grooming training as soon as you get your puppy. Hold him on his back on your lap and gently rub his tummy until he relaxes. You should reward him with treats and praise when he stops struggling. Your Lhasa needs to lie on his side or back while he is being brushed because so many of the trouble spots for mats, such as the insides of the legs, the chest, the "arm"pits, and the stomach, are difficult to reach unless the Lhasa is in that position.

It is best to do this early training during the puppy's quiet time and not when he is full of boundless energy and wants to play. Keep the training sessions brief and gradually lengthen the time on back or side. Right now the point is to accustom him to that position and to reward his cooperation.

Even though the puppy has little coat to brush when he is young, accustom him to the feel of the brush by using a small pin brush to groom his legs, feet, chest and stomach. Then allow him to lie on his stomach, sit, or stand while you brush his sides, neck, head, and face. Use a small face comb on his face. Constantly reassure him and praise/reward him when he is still and cooperative. Be sure to tell him how gorgeous he looks when the grooming is done. Reward him with a treat.

Of course, not all puppies tolerate lying on their backs or sides and cooperating with you. At times you will be amazed at how stubborn and strong a puppy can be when he is determined not to lie on his back! Be persistent and patient. Do not strike the puppy. You are training him for future grooming sessions that both you and he should come to enjoy. Do not spoil the future by letting your temper flare when the puppy gets uncooperative.

Once the puppy accepts lying on his back or side, move him from your lap to a grooming table or whatever flat surface you will use for grooming him. The transition may cause some regression in the puppy's behavior since he may feel less secure on a table than he felt on your lap. Again, be persistent and firm. Be firm but not abusive. Insist on the behavior you want and reward with praise or a treat when you get it.

From the age of six months on, your Lhasa puppy will need grooming on a regular basis. That's when your early training sessions begin to pay off. Depending on your puppy's coat texture and stage of development, mats and tangles will begin to develop behind the ears and on his underside. You are in for a terrible ordeal if you have not taught your puppy what grooming is all about. Sometimes it hurts when mats are taken out. Sometimes you need to use both hands to loosen the mat and remove, and if you have to hold the puppy down, try to reach one of those hard-to-get-at mats, and remove the mat all at the same time, you are in for an unpleasant grooming session. Neither you nor your puppy will enjoy it. And, for the puppy at least, the unpleasant experience will be remembered the next time and the struggle will begin again.

Both you and your Lhasa will enjoy the grooming sessions which will be so much a part of your lives if you take time now to teach the puppy what is expected of him when it comes time for grooming. The younger you start, the more accepting the puppy will be. The old sayings about an "ounce of prevention" and a "stitch in time" may be trite but they are certainly true in this situation.

Joyce Johanson has owned, bred, and shown AKC registered Lhasa Apsos since 1973. The Joyslyn's Lhasa Apso web site contains many resources about the breed. Please visit http://www.joyslynslhasaapsos.com to read more grooming tips, to find links to valuable resources, to see pictures of lovely Lhasas, and to link to Joyce's blog.

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