Some Tips on Coat Care
by Dorothy Kendall, Orlane Lhasa Apsos

I’ve included an article on grooming on this homepage, and I recommend you read that before you look at these tips. Nothing takes the place of regular, disciplined grooming - but having said that, all the grooming in the world won’t help if you’re using the wrong products and the dog isn’t healthy and free of internal and external parasites.

Too much brushing is as bad as not enough … urine will damage coat, or stain it … so just rinsing with warm water, patting dry and shaking in a little cornstarch will clean it easily. You can also use the Absolutely Natural Groomaid … just spray on urine on hair, and wipe off with soft absorbent paper towel; it will neutralize the urine completely.

But the less brushing between baths, the better. Lhasas don’t do well wrapped, their harsher coat texture tends to cause breakage where the coat is folded over … rubber banding is better. If you’re going to band the hair back, be sure to change the bands every day - otherwise banding will cut the hair like little scissors! For the Yorkshires, I make up a rinse of Absolutely Natural Conditioner (2 tbsp.), Nutragena Bath and Body Oil (2 tbsp.) in a 16 oz. bottle, and fill it up with distilled water. After a bath and rinse, I shake the mixture well, put about 2 oz. in a large bowl of warm water, and pour over the dog. I then brush this through the coat well with a large pin brush before I start drying.

A word about dryers. I know “fast” is good most of the time, but I would be hesitant to use a blower with a lot of force, it tends to whip the ends about, and can result in split ends. Hot is not good, unless you keep the nozzle well away from the dog, and dry him quickly. Place your hand on the dog where the blower is blowing, and if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s WAY to hot for the dog! So, medium speed and heat, dry the tummy and show side first, then the other side.

Ironing is great to press down the hair cuticle, but too hot of an iron will destroy the cuticle and seriously damage the coat. Section the coat horizontally when you iron, don’t take great bunches of hair at a time, and I fold white newsprint around the hair before I iron a section. This protects the hair from direct heat, and gives a smoother finish. If you need to, you can dampen the paper with a fine mist of distilled water before you iron, this will take a little longer, but the finish is spectacular. Remember how carefully you iron a silk blouse? Same principle!

For anti-static, I use Absolutely Natural Glossifier … works like a charm! Now about those sticky gels, gummy ointments so many of you use on parts, and to keep hair out of eyes … if this junk isn’t washed completely out after every show, you will get a buildup that makes the hair brittle and subject to breakage. If you’re showing outside, and it’s windy … may I suggest that every other dog in the ring will be in the same condition? Some Lhasas have wonderful hard, straight coats that the wind won’t budge, but if you have a flyaway coat, just add a little more conditioner, and use the Glossifier heavily … don’t resort to hair spray, please. If you really feel you must, however, use the Groomaid and spray those areas you’ve put junk on after showing - at least it will neutralize the effect of the other chemicals!

For topknots, a slippery, slidy clean coat is hard to work with … try the Absolutely Natural Coat Texturizer brushed into the head hair, and let dry … you’ll find it so much easier to “blouse” the hair, and it will stay where you put it when the rubber bands go on.

If you’re showing a Toy Dog with lots of hair, don’t leave the show grounds without re-wrapping or re-banding … those few extra minutes mean better coat condition over the months ahead. A bath when you get home, or the next morning will pay off more than you can imagine - your competition is doing it, you can be sure!

I remember Peggy Hogg showing Maya Dancer in the Midwest years ago … first thing in the breed ring, he was freshly bathed and sparkling. Another bath before the Group, and if he won the Group, and BIS wasn’t for a while, a third bath brought him into the BIS ring as fresh and clean as he could possibly be! Lot of work? You bet! Was it worth it? Just take a look at his record!