The Bichon Frise requires regular attention to keep him or her looking their best. The everyday brushing and combing is extremely important because this will keep the coat tangle free, and make the job of bathing and scissoring so much easier and less traumatic for the dog.
It is best to establish a routine with your dog. Every day, every second day or whatever suits best, but make it regular.
I find it is easy if you teach your dog to lie down while being groomed. This is relaxing for the dog, and makes it easy to work on the underside of the body and get between the legs where tangles can occur.
Teach you pup to lie down from an early age. Hold both legs on the opposite side of the dog and gently lie him on his side. Be firm but gentle in ensuring that the dog stays lying down. Holding the front leg nearest the table is the best way to keep the dog lying down. Reassure your pup that everything is alright and it will not take long before your pup becomes happy with lying down.
You will need a slicker brush, and a comb to carry out the regular grooming.
Commence grooming the coat by first brushing with a slicker brush, then comb through the coat. work from the belly up to the top of the back making sure you cover the area from the rear of the dog to the shoulder.
When the first side is finished, turn the dog over and repeat the procedure on the opposite side. (You can turn the dog over by rolling him over, or by standing the dog up first, facing him in the opposite direction and lying him down as before).
Be certain to pay particular attention around the inside of the legs up near the body. These are the places the dog can get tangles, and it is important to remove all tangles when grooming.
When both sides are completed, stand the dog up and commence the same procedure along the top of the back. Behind the ears is another place where tangles can occur and you must be certain to brush and comb well there. Then complete the rear and the front of the dog and, hey presto, one groomed Bichon.
It is very important to groom your dog through BEFORE bathing. If you bath the dog without grooming first, any tangles will just tighten up in the bath and it will be doubly hard to remove them after.
HOW TO BATH YOUR DOG
Like grooming, bathing should commence at an early age. It should be an enjoyable time for the dog, not traumatic.
Use a laundry sink (as generally these are at an ideal height to avoid breaking your back), and if you attach a shower hose this will make it easy to rinse thoroughly.
Make sure the water is not too hot or cold. Test it by running it on your wrists and if the temperature is Ok then you can start bathing the dog. Wet the dog completely taking particular care not to allow water into the ears or eyes. Once the dog is wet, then apply the shampoo. Work on a small section at a time and lather the dog well. Wash the coat well, rubbing the coat between your fingers and then move onto the next section. Be careful not to get shampoo in the dogs eyes or ears.
Once you have finished washing the dog, rinse well with warm water. At this point you may want to put some conditioner on the dogs coat.
If you use conditioner then after rubbing it well in, rinse off again and now the dog is ready for drying.
Take a towel and rub the dog all over to remove excess water. Now it is time to dry the dog. This can be done with a hot air drier (eg domestic hair dryer) or if you want to speed up the process you can purchase a drier designed specifically for dogs. Professional groomers generally use two types. Firstly a high velocity drier (blaster drier) which blasts the water out of the coat, followed by a hot air drier which finishes them off.
If you choose a domestic drier it will give a very good finish, but just take a little longer.
Hot Air Drier
Aim the drier at the coat and at the same time brush the coat. This helps both to dry the coat and straighten it out as you dry, giving a lovely powder puff finish to the coat. Be careful around the head and avoid blowing hot air in the dogs face.
Blaster and Hot Air Drier
If you use a blaster drier first, use this until most of the water is removed and then finish the dog off with the hot air drier as above.
Once you have dried the coat thoroughly, then groom the dog through as you did before bathing. Dry the ears - and there you have it. About an hours work or so and you have one beautiful Bichon.
Oh, and don't forget to remove any hair from inside the ears and cut the dogs nails as well. It is a good idea to do both these jobs every time you bath the dog and that way you will not forget to do it.
HOW TO SCISSOR YOUR DOG
Now it is time to scissor the dog. If you are showing the dog there is a very good book on the subject called THE BICHON FRISE - A PRACTICAL APPROACH which guides you through each step of scissoring a Bichon Frise for the Show ring.
If, however, you are scissoring your pet for around the home, here are some guidelines to use. Firstly you will need a good pair of scissors. HINT - Don't buy a cheap pair of scissors. A good quality pair of scissors is worth the investment as they will last you for years and will cut the coat efficiently - just don't let anyone use them for anything else.
Start along the back of the dog and scissor the coat to about 1.25cm in length. Work down the side of the dog keeping the coat at about the same length as the first cut. Keep the underline quite short, say, 0.75 cm in length. Then scissor the rear of the dog to about the same length as the underline.
Blend the back leg into the side and rear of the dog, keeping the coat to a similar length as the body.
Next scissor the front of the dog to the same length as the rear, and blend the front leg into the side and front of the dog.
Repeat the process for the other side.
Then stand the dog facing to you, and scissor his head and ears into a circle. Note:- do not cut the facial hair from in front of the ears any shorter than the circle you have just cut around the head. Blend the top and sides of the neck into the head and shoulders previously cut. Refer to the illustrations below for the correct shape. You can leave more or less coat as you wish.