In his puppy phase, the bichon frise's bright white coat and dark black eyes and nose push the envelope on how much cuteness one can tolerate. These puppies don't take as long to groom as their adult versions, as the coarser topcoat doesn't grow in until he approaches his first birthday.
Brush your pup regularly. His short, soft coat doesn't mat or tangle as easily as it will once his adult coat grows in, but regular brushing will get him used to the routine while he's still young. Lay your pup on his side and use a slicker brush to smooth out his coat. Get all the way to the skin, but be careful not to scratch him as you brush. Work in small sections until his entire side is finished, including his legs, belly and chest. Flip him over and repeat on his other side. Brush his head and ears last, being careful not to poke him in the eye as you do so. Add a pin brush to your routine as his hair grows.
Keep your bichon puppy sparkling white with regular baths. Anything white will show dirt quickly, and your puppy is no different. Use a shampoo specially formulated for white dogs and bathe him as often as needed to keep him clean. Wet him thoroughly and massage the shampoo into his coat, being careful to avoid his eyes. Rinse well, and keep rinsing until you're sure all the shampoo residue is gone. (Any shampoo left may irritate his skin once it dries.) Towel-dry him, then let him air-dry or use a hair dryer on a low-heat setting.
Wipe away eye discharge daily to prevent tear stains; white dogs tend to develop rust-colored stains along their cheeks thanks to the bacteria in their tears. Use a damp cotton ball daily to wipe away any eye goop. Introduce this routine early to get your pup used to the handling. Wipe away stains with a washcloth or cotton ball using a very mild shampoo, such as tear-free kids' shampoo, or a commercial tear removal product found in pet stores.
Visit a professional groomer to prepare your pup for future grooming. As your bichon's adult coat grows in, he'll need professional grooming to keep him trimmed and looking neat. Get your pup familiar with the groomers to teach him what to expect and prevent future fear. Have the groomer clip your pup's nails, trim the hair around his eyes and pluck the unwanted hair from his ears, as these are important grooming tasks that are best left to professionals.
- Keep treats on hand for rewarding and encouraging your pup during his early grooming sessions.
- Place cotton balls in your puppy's ears to prevent water from dripping inside.
- Brush your bichon's teeth every day to prevent tooth decay and bad breath.
- As your bichon puppy's adult coat starts to grow in, his hair will mat and tangle much more easily than it used to. Brush him more often during this transitional phase to keep mats at bay, and use a detangling spray as you brush to help keep the hair smooth and tangle-free.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.