Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

No Puppy Bath For TWO WEEKS Now…..

Now that the worry has passed about Daisy’s spaying, I have to say that the next worst thing is the fact that we haven’t been allowed to bathe her for two weeks – until her stitches come out on Saturday.

How humiliating! I HATE baths!

Guess what’s happening Saturday afternoon?? LOL

We’ll have that sweet-smelling doggy shampoo ready and waiting when we get home from the vet! We’re SO looking forward to seeing her hair all fluffy and clean again. I just hope he gives us the “all clear” to bathe her right away. If not, you can bet that our Countdown to Bathtime will continue and she’ll be bathed the first minute of the first day it’s allowed!!

The strange thing is that she still feels silky-soft and, unless you put your nose right up against her, she doesn’t have that “doggy smell”. I guess it’s the cooler weather that’s helping – during the summer, we always knew when bath day was approaching because we could smell HER approaching! LOL

Daisy probably thinks she’s really getting away with something since she hasn’t had to tolerate a bath for so long. Boy, is she in for a rude awakening soon! 🙂

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Brush Your Dog’s Coat Regularly!!

We were picking up dog food at Petco this weekend when we saw a startling site – in the grooming room was a dog with half its fur hanging off it in sheets. Yes, that’s right – SHEETS.

 

I can't believe I used to be so fluffy! There's 3x more hair than dog here!

 

This dog looked like a sheep being sheared. And even with chilly weather setting in, the groomer was giving the dog a buzz cut, right down to its skin.

Clearly, all this dog was going to be for Halloween was — naked.

I told the cashier that I’d never seen fur hanging off a dog in long sheets and, looking at me over her glasses, she said quietly, “That’s not normal – it’s because that dog has never been brushed. NEVER.”  This was a full-sized dog, not a puppy. The groomer was in the process of calling for help because the dog was freaking out over the “shearing”. It was awful.

I keep Daisy’s hair cut relatively short because it tends to mat when it’s allowed to grow. When we first got her, her hair was a few inches long and she looked like a little puff ball. We were told that she had to be brushed a couple times a day to keep the hair mat-free and neat. It was adorable looking, but the very first time I tried to brush her, I found thick mats had already formed in the deep under-layers, and she was only 2.6 months old. I worked at it twice a day for a week, with no improvements. That was it – I gave her a major haircut, right down to her tight little curls. Cutting through some of the thicker mats was like sawing through tight wads of cotton with a scissor!

Now we have no problems with matting – as long as we keep her hair relatively short and brushed, it’s fine.

Not all dogs enjoy being brushed, and Daisy was no exception. At first she became agitated, biting at the brush and trying to spin her body around so I couldn’t reach it, but I tried different techniques and found that if I made brushing part of our cuddle time and let her sniff and nip the brush first, she was far more accepting and actually seemed to enjoy it. Or at the very least, she tolerated it well. Now it’s part of our bonding time.

After seeing that poor dog being “sheared”, I decided to look into the importance of brushing dog’s coats, whether they have fur or actual hair. Besides making the dog more aesthetically pleasing and having nice human-canine hands-on bonding time, there are health reasons for brushing as well. Here’s what I found out:

  • Brushing helps prevent skin problems. When dogs shed fur, they also shed dead skin cells. If all of this discarded material isn’t brushed off, it can accumulate and cause bacteria to grow. You’ll know this is happening if your dog smells particularly bad. Yuck.
  • Brushing brings out and evenly distributes the skin’s natural oils. Think of those natural oils like hair conditioner – their hair or fur needs conditioning as much as our hair does. Long hair in particular benefits from brushing because those oils can’t coat all that long hair without brushing.
  • Brushing helps control shedding, which means less clean-up around the house for you!
  • Brushing keeps you familiar with your dog’s skin and helps you discover any skin issues, lumps, or insects that may be hiding beneath those lovely locks.

As common sense would dictate, never brush a dog’s hair backward – against the direction it’s naturally growing. It’s very irritating to the dog and can cause knotting in long-haired dogs.

Go about it the right way and grooming can be a wonderful human-canine bonding experience.

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Pink Fuzzy Slippers RULE….A Girly Puppy Tale

You know you’ve got a “girly puppy” when shoes are more important to her than food, toys, playtime, air….


There's nothing like new pink fuzzy slippers for tired paws!

Yes,we have a “girly puppy”. BIG time. Daisy gets more excited over new shoes than new toys.

See this picture? This was a brand new pair of DD’s pink fuzzy slippers that attracted Daisy like a magnet to a giant hunk of steel – and she was just as hard to pull off. The second those slippers came out of the box, Daisy was on them….or should I say, IN them.

I should mention that the whole reason DD had to get a new pair of slippers in the first place was because Daisy had licked the old pair to the point where DD was not going to put her feet into them again…EVER. We couldn’t wash that particular pair, but the memory of seeing those slobber-soaked slippers would have deterred DD from wearing them again even if Silkwood-strength cleaning agents had been used.

When the new slippers made their first appearance last week, Daisy excitedly pounced on them, sticking her entire face INTO one of the slippers. I mean, that little face was buried in there.  And her little paws were holding the slipper in place while she savored the softness.

She sniffed and, unfortunately, started licking the inside; when we told her “no”, she just froze and left her face buried in the slipper. When she finally surfaced, she looked like the happiest little thing in the world. DD had originally considered giving Daisy her old slippers, but after the romance of licking had passed, Daisy started chewing them, and we knew where all that pink fuzz was going to end up….and how it would make its exit. Not a pretty picture.

Anyway, DD took the new slippers away from Daisy, but every time DD wears them, Daisy is all over them. Every step DD takes has to be slow, shuffly, and coupled with “NO” to get Daisy off her feet. It’s really pretty funny (probably because it’s not me who’s getting tripped up!).

Remember the post where I said that Daisy studies us, then tries to copy us? Well, the last time DD took her new slippers off in the family room, Daisy laid down behind them and slid her two front legs into them – that’s what you see in the picture above. She just laid there for the longest time, wearing those slippers like a person would, eventually dozing off with her head resting on top of the slippers.

You’ve never seen such a contented puppy.

 

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Hairy Situations – Canine Ear Hair Hazards

This whole ear hair episode with Daisy got me thinking about how few of us dog owners are prepared for these types of situations. We were never told that Daisy was descended from breeds that typically require plucking, nor did we ever know such issues existed. So I decided to look into it a little more to hopefully save other dog owners from what happened to that poor puppy at the vet’s office, which I mentioned in a previous post.

I'm so much more comfortable after my plucking!

From what I’ve read, almost any dog breed that needs regular hair cuts will need to have their ears plucked. Some dogs are lucky and don’t have to have this done, even though they fit the category.

It’s important to have this procedure done because not only are dogs with this issue so uncomfortable that they continually scratch and scratch inside their ears, which can cause problems, but the ear hair blocks the ear canal and causes it to become moist and prone to infections….and they hurt.

Also, the groomer told us about one dog whose owners waited far too long to bring their dog in for plucking. The ear hair had grown to a length of 5-6 inches long, stretching deep into the ear canal. It became entangled and clotted with ear wax, which had formed a block and impaired the dog’s hearing. The groomer had a very difficult time cleaning all this out, and I’m sure it wasn’t too comfortable for the dog, either.

In a normal case of ear hair plucking, groomers apply a type of powder to the inner ear that makes the hair easier to pluck. Some groomers say it also takes the edge off any pain the dog may feel, others say it doesn’t. Every dog reacts differently – some yipe at first and others just take it in stride. But even those that initially yipe get used to it over time, and the ear also “toughens up” enough to lessen any pain.

There are websites that explain how owners can pluck their own dog’s ear hair, but personally, I think that’s a job best left to a professional. But in order to fully understand what’s going on, here’s a good website:

Grooming Basics 101 Article: http://www.petgroomer.com/grooming101/articles/ear_cleaning-revised.htm.

As proven by the owners who let their dog’s ear hair get so out of control, it’s best to do what’s necessary for a dog’s grooming and health, which many times go hand-in-hand, even if it seems distasteful to us.

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Hair Plucking Outcome

I'm back from the groomer!

Well, this certainly was a happy surprise – Daisy actually liked the experience of having her ear hairs plucked! “What a little weirdo!” I thought!

But it seems that the thick cluster of ear hairs that had grown inside her ears was bothering her so much, it was actually a relief to have them plucked. The groomer said that we might hear some “screams” with the first couple of plucks (dear God!), but she assured us that everything would be okay and that Daisy would get used to it quickly. In fact, she offered to let us stay in the room if we wanted. We didn’t.

We waited and waited and…no screams, no shrieks, not even a yip – nothing! It was all over in 5 minutes, and when the groomer came out with a happy Daisy in her arms, she said that Daisy was only the second dog she’s had who took to the plucking immediately. As she plucked, Daisy made a kind of purring sound (that contented sound that dogs make when they’re sleepily scratching just the right spot) and her back leg made gentle scratching motions like dogs do when we pet them in their “itch zones”.

The groomer said her ears would be a little red on the inside for a bit and she’d be scratching a lot at first, but not to worry. That’s exactly what happened – she was constantly scratching and shaking her head around for the first 5-10 minutes she was home, then everything settled down and there was no more scratching or shaking.

We’d noticed that the ear hair had begun bothering Daisy immensely over the past week. She was constantly scratching the inside of her ears and complaining with high-pitched whines that were like small, pitiful cries, which were just pathetic to hear. Even though I really didn’t want to subject Daisy to what I thought would be a torturous procedure, it was clear that we had no choice. She was suffering as it was, and 5 minutes of potential plucking pain was minimal compared to daily discomfort and the pain of an eventual infection.

That’s what the vet said would happen if we didn’t have her ear hair plucked soon – ear infections. In fact, on our last vet visit, the person after us was there for just that reason – an ear infection his dog caused by scratching earfuls of unplucked hair. The groomer told us of the worst case she’d ever seen – a dog with huge hair mats in the ear canal, and the hair had grown down into the canal to a length of about 5-6 inches long; ear wax had become lodged in the hair, causing not only ear pain, but also a loss of hearing. A brief session of hair plucking is nothing compared to all that!

Our visit to the groomer turned into a real social time for Daisy. Not only had she made friends with everyone who worked there (they’d never seen a Havachon before and made such a fuss over her!), but she made friends with a Chorkie – a Chihuahua-Yorkie mix – who was 2 years old but the same size as Daisy is at 6 months. They romped and played and sniffed and chased toys and had a wonderful time together.

The whole thing ended up being a very positive experience in every way!

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Hair Plucking….Yuck….

Little Daisy is sweet, petite, and adorable in so many ways….but she has the ears of an old man. A very old man.  Inside, not out.

There’s a mass of long gray hairs growing inside her ears that would win a world cup competition. They itch her and annoy her, but we figured that was just nature’s way of protecting her ears from foreign objects making their way in.


I don't know if I want to do this "plucking" thing....

Wrong.

The vet told us that we have to have her ear hairs plucked.

That’s right, plucked.

Women know the pain of plucking eyebrows well enough, and to think of all these masses of hairs being plucked from inside a puppy’s ears is enough to make a grown, pluck-hardened woman cringe. I asked the vet if this hurts, and he said it’s “uncomfortable”. Now, I know what it means when doctors say understated things like that – like a shot is just a little “pinch”, but it actually feels like a metal spike being jammed into your arm – so I’m figuring that this has the potential to be brutal. And considering the amount of hair we’re talking about, it’s not just one pluck, it has to happen over and over again….several times a year.

I talked to the groomer about it today, and she tells me that dogs actually “come to enjoy it”. Uh-huh. Like we come to enjoy root canals after we’ve had a few??

I guess this hairy-ear gene must run through the Havanese and/or Bichon lines. I’ll report the results on Monday – D-day is Saturday at 9 AM!

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The Well-Adorned Pup

We’re just dying to add a little girly touch to Daisy, like a little pink bow on her head.

Can I have a pretty pink bow to match my blanket?

We can’t really let her hair grow long because it gets, well, kind of messy looking (the waves get sloppy looking even if I brush her 3x a day!), and we can’t tie a ribbon or use an elastic around it the length it is. So we’ve been snooping around for clips or barrettes online and found:

Pretty Smith Designs: http://www.pretty-smith.com/index.html. Talk about adding sparkle to your pup!

Trixie and Peanut: http://www.trixieandpeanut.com/category-38684-Hair-Bows-+-Barrettes. Cuteness for every occasion!

A Pet’s World: http://www.apetsworld.com/dog-hair-accessories.aspx. An enormous amount of dog stuff for show dogs and pets alike!

We haven’t ordered from any of these places yet, but there are tons of resources out there; just Google “dog hair accessories”, sit back, and have fun browsing!

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Bathtime Challenges

No, Daisy doesn’t mind baths themselves so much….anymore. And I get such a laugh every time out of how this furry puppy turns into a stick figure when she’s wet! I also love holding her afterward, all snuggled up in a towel and oh so warm and toasty. She gets very relaxed and a couple of times, she almost fell asleep in those few minutes. It’s my favorite part of bath time and one of those truly tender life moments.

What she really hates is being blow-dried afterward. I hold her on my lap and DD blow dries her on a low, warm setting. She’s okay with that, but we can only dry her head, back, and one side because she’s so tightly curled up like a furry curly-fry (not a tasty image, I know…).

The one funny thing she does is when we aim the dryer at her head, she snaps at the moving air as if trying to catch it! That part is cute.

After we dry as much as we can that way, we stand her on the counter (while I hold her) with a towel under her to dry her legs and underside, but she tries to run away and starts whining and yapping and it’s impossible to manage. Now that it’s so hot out, we can take her outside for a little while and she dries pretty fast, but what do we do during the cooler seasons?

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

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