Properly tended to, a bichon frise's coat is white, fluffy and soft—without brushing, though, the fur becomes matted and tangled. While most bichons should undergo regular professional grooming, daily brushing in between appointments helps keep the coat beautiful, the skin healthy and the dog happy.
Lay your dog down on her side. This prevents squirming and gives you easy access to areas like the legs where matting occurs the most. If your dog resists, enlist a helper to distract her while you brush.
Brush through the dog's fur with a metal pin brush. With a bichon frise, the best way to detangle any knots or matting is to brush away from the skin, or the "wrong" way. On the dog's sides, work your brush up from the stomach and toward the middle of the back. On the face and head, brush toward the face, taking care not to scratch your dog's eyes or face with the bristles.
Work your way through the knots slowly. When you encounter a knot or matted section, brush it out starting at the tip of the hair, working your way down to the root. Pinch the knotted section between your fingers near the root while you brush with your other hand—this helps you avoid yanking on your dog's skin.
Brush your dog the opposite direction, or the "right" way, with a slicker brush—only after the knots are removed, though. If you are bathing your dog during this brushing session, do so between using the pin brush and using the slicker brush—bathing your dog before the mats are removed can actually make them more difficult to work through.
- For more difficult tangles, use a spray conditioner or spray detangler on the matted section while brushing with the pin brush. Following the instructions on the product, simply spray down the area, allow the chemicals to soak into the hair, and continue brushing out the tangles.
- While your bichon should be brushed daily, don't brush for more than 30 minutes at a time. Sessions longer than this can become stressful for the dog, so even if you haven't finished removing a tangle, wait until the next day to finish.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.