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Author Topic: Hi! my name is Craig  (Read 7357 times)
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southjerseycraig
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« on: October 27, 2015, 05:43:47 PM »

fluffnewhere My name is Craig and I live in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (not far from Philadelphia) in the United States. I do not have a bichon frise. I am seriously considering acquiring one when I retire in a few years. (I work full-time now and live alone, so it wouldn't be fair to have a bichon now.) I am attracted to the breed because bichons at their best have wonderful personalities and make great companions.

I have been hanging around this board for some weeks, and have learned a lot. I'd like to learn more before I commit myself to be a fluff's life partner.

I have never owned a dog before, and so I think I would be overwhelmed by a puppy, as wonderful as a puppy is. So I'm inclined to look for an adult to adopt. There is a bichon rescue group not far from me, and it almost always has interesting bichons. In almost all cases, it seems, the dog is being given up because the owner(s) can no longer take care of the dog, not because of anything wrong with the dog.

My biggest concern is about  grooming. I see the beautifully-coiffed fluffs in the photos in the signatures. I doubt that I could produce or maintain that look. So I am interested in what maintenance would be required for a fluff with a puppy cut (sometimes called a lamb cut), and how to keep that look nice.

If you don't mind, I will have many further questions to ask. It's great being here!

Craig
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2015, 09:03:52 PM »

Hello Craig,  fluffwelcome

So you have been lurking, huh?   Laughing  Glad you finally posted.

I'm Sandie.  I live in Mass. 

When you say you see all the beautifully coiffed bichons in the siggies, well, you can't mean mine!  Mine are short short, with a short face, no beard, no mustache, lol.

All my bichons stay in the pet cut.  I do not do any brushing.  I may have to do a touch up with a damp paper towel when someone rolls in something nice and stinky, but that is going to happen no matter which cut the fluff is in.  I groom them myself, bought all the professional equipment.  I groom them about once every 4 to 5 weeks.  Every other one is a complete trim; the in between one is just a touch ups, eye, face, paw pads as needed, sanitary.  So they get a bath (shampoo and conditioner), blow dry and trim or touch up.  I'm not sure how that works when taking the pup to a groomer, but I can tell you it will be the same fee both times.  Around here, it is $65 per bichon. 
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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
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southjerseycraig
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 09:13:34 PM »

Thanks, Sandie! Yes, I had noticed your fluffs and saw that their hair was short.  Thanks for letting me know how you do it. I do not think I could groom the dogs the way you do, but I am willing to pay the groomer to do it although I think prices around here are higher than the ones you mention. In fact, the groomer will make a lot of money off me -- I'm not even sure that my manual dexterity is up to trimming nails without hurting the dog. Having to pay doesn't bother me because it's just part of the price for having a dog and for having unspectacular dexterity. I'd rather pay than hurt the dog out of clumsiness.

Thanks again. I have read a fair number of your posts and have found them very helpful -- and found some, like the one about Frankie, to be very funny!
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darwinsmom (Chris)
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2015, 11:15:14 PM »

Hi, Craig. I consider Darwin's grooming to be a compromise. I really love the round head, but keep the rest of his body and legs short. That way, I only have to comb his head a few times a week and brush his tail. I haven't seen it be mentioned in this thread, but I think most of us bathe our bichons every 1-2 weeks. And, they really should be dried after with a blow dryer. I cut Darwin's hair myself. The groomer in our area charged $50, but couldn't do the round head, so I taught myself with the help of the wonderful people on this board. It took about a year to get it consistently how I like it, but it's worth it to me to be able to do it myself and have him look how I prefer. That's a very individual thing, though. I still have family that wish I would leave his ears long and cut his face short! To each his own.

Good luck whatever you decide!
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susie l
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 01:10:21 AM »

Hi Craig.....I'm in the suburbs of Philly and yes even a Petco will be closer to $100....and more likely than not your Bichon would probably wind up with a Poodle face like mine did...lol   I now home groom Olivia similar to Chris.... round head and short body... ..bout every 5 to 6 weeks but, her grooming table and accompanying paraphernalia seem to permanently live in my living room......

Even though I groom Olivia myself, I take her to the Vet,  for nail clipping by the techs.... Its about $15 and a lot less traumatic for both of us.  Pet Smart/Petco will also do just nails/and/ or sanitary trim about the same price.

 Olivia is good about grooming and trimming----all except the dryer.... I use a metro dryer and I still haven't figured out how to dry her head without her freaking out.......otherwise it goes pretty smoothly......

Nice to know you are responsibly doing your homework before making this decision.......



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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 09:13:18 AM »

I also pay for nails, about once a month.  Nope, not going to do that myself.  Not with these rescues!

Susie, hold the dryer at least 15 inches from the head, and only from the back (work your way up from the back so she knows it is coming).  Smear some peanut butter on the groomer's arm for her to lick at.  If she keeps licking, you know you have the dryer far enough back.  If she stops, back it off some more.  Nice thing about this is, you don't have to have extendable arms yourself!  USE the tools you have, make THEM work ha haaa.
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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
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southjerseycraig
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2015, 09:28:40 AM »

Thanks to all of you for your advice! I hope others will comment as well. Chris, I've always admired the way Darwin looks. I don't think I can do the round head, and I guess I'd have to shop pretty extensively among groomers to find one who will actually make the bichon's face  look like a bichon.  It's interesting to know that there are people beside me who are leery of doing the nails (and Sandie, I understand your point about rescues, who may not have been trained to accept grooming.)

Susie, is your bichon a rescue or did you get him/her as a puppy? Is there a responsible breeder in the  Philadelphia area? I don't think I'd go the puppy route, but it would be interesting to talk to a breeder.

Again, I hope others will comment as well.
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Chesters Mom
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2015, 11:59:59 AM »

I don't use a groomer.  I trim Chester myself.  Does he look like a show dog?  No.  Does he care?  No.  He does kinda look like a stuffed animal. We live on a busy street and people have rolled down their car windows to tell me how cute he is, so I guess I do OK with trimming.  I use a round tipped scissors and just trim whatever area needs it.  I can trim him by myself for the most part.  He doesn't like me to touch his feet.  And it takes two people to trim around his eyes.  I do let the vet trim his nails. 

I took him to the groomer twice.  The first time he had nasty razor burn and then the groomer scolded me because I waited too long to bring him to her.  She told me he would be fearful now because I waited so long.  She never thought he would be scared because she hurt him.  So then I tried a different groomer.  She wanted to shave his ears because he had a knot on one of them.  I picked him up without being groomed, trimmed out the knot with a scissors and wondered why the groomer didn't have any scissors to use.

Chester gets a bath about every 1-2 weeks.  I check for knots before the bath and also trim if needed.  His fur does seem to grow fast.  So, if you make a mistake you won't even notice in a couple weeks.
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southjerseycraig
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2015, 12:06:40 PM »

Thanks, Chester's Mom! Frolm lurking on the site, I gather that finding a good groomer is hard. No doubt the groomer wants to get finished as quickly as possible,  and will not take the time to do, for instance, extensive scissoring.  I do feel capable of at least trying to bathe a small dog, but I'm sure that there's no guarantee that a rescue will be cooperative. I get the sense from lurking that even dogs who have been with the owner since puppyhood may not be cooperative.  This is an issue I'd need to think about.
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Chesters Mom
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2015, 04:32:17 PM »

Chester is such a gentle little thing that giving him a bath really isn't a problem.  He doesn't really like it and he does try to hide when he knows it's bath time,  but I don't have any problems once he is in the bathtub.  Hates having his face washed, though.  After the final rinse he puts his front feet on the side of the tub and waits for me to dry his face and front feet with a towel.  Then I just pick him up, let him drip for a few seconds, and then dry the rest of him with a towel.  The whole bath probably takes less then 15 minutes.
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southjerseycraig
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2015, 04:55:43 PM »

Thanks, Chester's Mom! Is the towel drying enough to dry Chester sufficiently so that he doesn't try to rub  himself dry on your furniture and rugs? I've assumed from lurking that a power dryer is necessary to get a bichon dry. And do you have any theory as to why he dislikes having his face cleaned? I would think that washing the face is necessary, and that  "no-tears" cleaners are available. And I assume you have to brush and de-tangle before the bath -- how long does that take you? Thanks again!
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Freedom (Sandie)
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2015, 05:26:05 PM »

Thanks, Chester's Mom! Is the towel drying enough to dry Chester sufficiently so that he doesn't try to rub  himself dry on your furniture and rugs? I've assumed from lurking that a power dryer is necessary to get a bichon dry. And do you have any theory as to why he dislikes having his face cleaned? I would think that washing the face is necessary, and that  "no-tears" cleaners are available. And I assume you have to brush and de-tangle before the bath -- how long does that take you? Thanks again!

1.  Not all dogs rub on the furniture and rugs to dry.  Some do, some don't.  I'm not sure how you can learn this in advance.   My Riley would LOVE to, but since I use the dryer, she can't, lol.

2.  The 'power dryer' comment - important to note, these are high velocity dryers WITH NO HEATING ELEMENT.  Forced air dryers, NOT forced hot air dryers.

3.  Towel drying is going to give the curly coat.  If you want the straight coat, you have to use a dryer.

4.  I keep mine short and I do not have to brush / detangle before a bath.  My first step is: In the Sink You Go!  If I do see a mat I will cut it off, that happens any day not just bath day.  But I don't see them, because the dogs are in short coats.  ( The one exception was Frankie under his belly band, I let his puppy coat grow.  Even then, I didn't deal with it first, as I knew I was going to have to shave them off.)

Mine are in and out of the sink in 7 minutes of less.  That includes: get the dog wet, apply the shampoo, rinse, apply the conditioner, let it sit a bit and rinse thoroughly. 

The time under the dryer is the longest part, then the trimming.  I can easily have one of mine under the dryer for 30 to 45 minutes.  And I will postpone spa day if it is a high humidity day.  (NOT in summer as the a/c keeps the house humidity low).
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Bichons Frise': Tasha, Willy, Riley, Belle, Frankie
Cats: Crystal, Ebony, Bobby, Tommy, Tuppence, Mandy, Emma
southjerseycraig
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2015, 05:32:27 PM »

Thanks, Sandie! Since you have so many critters, I'm sure  you've had to learn lots of ways of doing things efficiently! And I'm sure the fluffs appreciate getting out of the the sink quickly. I'll remember that drying takes a significant amount of time.
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pam
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2015, 06:34:52 PM »

Hi Craig and welcome.  I confess that my bichon frises go to the groomers every 6 weeks and love going. Our groomers are absolutely super doing what is required and charging accordingly.  If they are knotted I pay more - I am in the UK and there are vastly differing standards and costs.  Ours is a sort of middling one if you know what I mean.  Our Bolognese goes every 3 weeks gulp - and we just don't think about the cost.  I have never cut them but can manage a bath and dry if it is necessary.  Mind they are all getting on now and don't exactly frolic in the mud.  The boys love the fuss of brushing etc but Poppy!  A nightmare.

Lots to think about and loads of helpful advice on the forum. Enjoy
Pam
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southjerseycraig
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2015, 06:41:36 PM »

Judging from the pictures, Pam, your fluffs are very well-groomed. I'm glad you found someone good. I would think I could do the same somewhere in the metropolitan area.

I have heard that "four to six weeks" is a good rule of thumb for bichons that are cut short. But the heads of yours look more flowing than that, so it's good to know that as much as six weeks can work.

Yes, the forum contains much helpful advice, and I am glad I found it. I have benefited from some of the older threads -- for instance, on potty training. Bichons have a negative reputation that way, so I've been trying to find out all I can about it.
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