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Good grooming habits begin at an early age as puppy care. When puppy arrives to your home, he/she will have already been started on grooming habits. Daily, they will have been handled and inspected with special attention paid to their entire body parts mentioned below.
All puppies are wiggly, but should be taught to sit, stand or lie still to have their bodies inspected for rashes, fleas, sores, cuts, ticks, bumps, hitchhikers in their hair or dirt in their ears. During this exam, ensure a safe place so that your puppy will not fall from a great height injuring themselves. The floor is a good place to start training a wiggly puppy, or having someone to help you hold the puppy. Eventually, once they learn to hold still, you can place them up on a table or counter top. During the exam, you should inspect and touch the teeth, gums, pads of the feet, toenails, tail, earlobes and the insides of the ears. If they fuss, or growl, or try to bite, correct the behavior with a correction noise and words, and continue. If they learn as a young puppy that you will stop if they growl, they will continue and you will have lost the battle.
Ear hair from inside should be minimal. Because your Havanese sheds very little, the ear hairs will not fall out as in a shedding breed. Too much ear hair can lead to frequent ear infections. To reduce the chance of infections, pull the hairs deep inside the ear. You can use a pair of blunt tweezers, hemostats or your finger tips. Take the deep hairs in a clump, twist them around a couple times in one direction and then gently pull them out. Don't pull the hairs on the outer rim of the ear, this will hurt. Also, examine the eyes for excessive tears and debris. You can wash the hair around the eyes with a warm wet washcloth daily to keep crusties and debris to a minimum. If debris builds up, it can promote yeast infections around the eyes.
Taking 10-20 minutes each day should be a very pleasurable bonding time for you and your puppy. In the wild, wolves and other canines groom each other as part of their social interaction with the pack. The incisors (their front teeth) are very effective combs. The little nibbles that they make on their pack-mate's bodies stimulates their skin and has a calming effect.
Brushing helps keep their coats tangle free, requiring less bathing and time consuming grooming. You'll only need to bath your puppy about every 2-3 weeks or if he/she becomes dirty or smelly. Bathing too often can cause dry skin, which could lead to unwanted scratching and skin sores. When needed, use a proper dog shampoo, lukewarm water and a gentle scrubbing motion from head to tail, taking care not to get soap or water into the eyes or ears. Rinse thoroughly towel dry and then dry with a hairdryer. Remember, when using a hairdryer, not too hot and ensure safety with holding help the first few times because the noises can be scary. Wash and dry as quickly as possible so that puppy does not get chilled. Clip nails and trim the hair between the pads of the paw regularly about every 4-6 weeks. If you are unsure how to do any of the grooming techniques described above, consult your vet or a professional pet groomer for assistance. Don't just trust any groomer, you need to get references that they are gentle with training puppies how to be groomed. Not all groomers are gentle nor patient. Not only is grooming a good bonding experience, but and effective way to notice subtle changes in your puppy's health and hygiene.
Around 9 months of age to about 15 months, the havanese begins to have coat changes. This can be a very frustrating time. This is the time where puppy will be loosing his/her puppy coat, which will be replaced by the adult coat. It will seem that as soon as you bath and brush, there are mats the next minute. It's best to make sure you are brushing the hair while it has been spritzed with some kind of conditioner, detangler, water, or spray. Products I have used with success are human Pantene detangler, cowboy magic detangler, Isle of Dog Detangler, or Isle of Dog conditioning spray.
Bangs.... Method of Trimming:
I brush all the head hair forward from the ear flap forward, covering the eyes. I then cut the hair covering the eyes to make a window so that I can see their eyes.
Piggy Tails, Top Knots or Alla Natural....?
Full Show Coat:
natural rounded foot, hygiene clip to hinny and pee pee area. No other clipping or scissoring allowed for show.
Coat about 2-3" long:
Clipped to about 3/4th" to 1"
Shear clip or trim: Naked to 1/2" ( blade #4)
Usually leaving the tail and ears/eyebrows long.
Eyebrow hair protects the eyes from sun damage.
There are several choices for your havanese when choosing the appearance you like. There is no right or wrong look when you have a pet. Some will choose to keep a short cut, or more puppy like appearance, some with cords or in full coat. Whatever is the easiest for you to manage and maintain is the best choice for you. Some will choose bangs, shorter top hairs, others with topknots and bows, others pigtails while others, nothing but the long flowing hair. Whatever you choose is fine. For show prospects, No trimming or cutting is allowed other than making a natural rounded foot, and hygiene clips around the anus and pee pee area.
Grooming Your Havanese