Ahh, July! We tend to think of it only as a month to celebrate Independence Day, but did you know International Joke Day, Chocolate Day (I say YES! to that one), National Majito Day, National Junk Food Day, and Paperback Book Day are among the July "celebrations"?
Coat Change in Lhasa Apso Puppies
by Joyce Johanson
Each Lhasa Apso puppy should come with a warning label, "Attention: This puppy will undergo a coat change. Be prepared!" The alternative, of course, is for Lhasa breeders to inform their puppies' new owners about the grooming required to see a puppy through his coat change without having to resort to clipping him down.
The owner of a Lhasa puppy should be prepared for the puppy's coat change anywhere between the ages of 9 to 14 months. Since individuals differ, the time frame may also vary somewhat: some Lhasas may begin as early as 6 months, while others may hold off until 16 months. One thing you can be sure of, unless your Lhasa puppy has a really sparse coat, the coat change WILL happen.
What's so scary and all important about watching for the coat change? It has to do with matting and grooming.
Remember, a Lhasa's coat does not shed as most other breeds' coats do. What happens during the coat change is that the softer puppy coat is being replaced by the harsher-textured adult coat. As the adult coat comes in, the puppy coat "dies" and needs to be brushed out or it will tangle and mat terribly. At this time, your puppy may need daily grooming to remove the soft, "dead" puppy coat. You will be surprised at how much loose coat can be brushed out during coat change time. You may remark that the pile of hair on the floor by the grooming table would easily fully coat another dog! And you may wonder if your little Lhasa will have any coat left by the time you've finished brushing him! Don't worry, if all you are getting out is dead, loose hair, there's no problem.
While grooming difficulties may vary, depending on the amount and texture of your Lhasa puppy's coat, keep in mind that the coat change is a natural part of a Lhasa's development, and when it is over, your Lhasa's softer puppy coat should have given way to the harder-textured adult coat, which is usually a lot easier to take care of. Now that's something to look forward to!
Knowing what's going to happen is only part of "being prepared." The other part of the preparation lies in training. Since getting through the coat change requires that the Lhasa be groomed, start your preparations by teaching the puppy to accept grooming as part of his routine and to lie quietly on his back or sides while you comb and brush him. Prepare yourself also by learning how to groom your Lhasa properly. Refer to any of the books (by Herbel, Helf, Brearly, Nicholas) written about the Lhasa. Most contain excellent grooming suggestions or entire chapters devoted to grooming.
When the coat change does begin, don't get discouraged. It usually lasts less than a month. Set aside time each day to groom your Lhasa. If you don't have time to brush him completely each day, then at least do some spot grooming in the troublesome areas (neck, insides of legs, behind the ears) on a daily basis. Don't go longer than two days without a complete brushing, though. Those darn mats surprise you -- a puppy may not look matted, but his undercoat may be a real mess.
My best advice is to be aware of what will happen, be prepared to do some heavy-duty grooming for about 3 weeks, train your puppy early to accept being groomed, watch for and take care of tangles and mats as they appear, and do not put off grooming thinking the mats will disappear by themselves (they don't!). Finally, don't be discouraged; just hang in there until it's over -- the coat change period really does end!
Here are a two photos of Emmy (Joyslyn's Embrace the Wind) after today's grooming.
Our weekend was busy since it was "leave for new homes" weekend for the Winter and Archie puppies. It was great to finally meet the puppies' new owners with whom I had been communicating for weeks. All the puppies will have wonderful new homes with these owners who have owned Lhasas previously.
In case you are wondering, no, it is not hard to let the puppies leave, especially when we meet the families who are buying them and know they are going to great homes where they will be loved and cared for.
So now we will have a few weeks respite before the next litter is born. Onyx's puppies are due at the end of the month.
Because we were busy preparing for the puppies' leaving, we did not take time to get photos of them. However, here is the last set of pictures we took a couple weeks ago.
In order of appearance: Harper, Jaxon, Sparkles, Honey, Jempa, Rascal, and San.
Puppy Fear Periods
Many people who buy puppies are unaware that puppies go through two "Fear Periods," 8-11 weeks and 6-14 months. 8-11 weeks is the time when most go to their new homes. For those of us who show, the 6-14 months is also critical because at age 6 months is when puppies can begin showing.
Among the materials I gave the new owners was information about puppy fear periods. If you are interested, check out this link or just google "fear periods in puppies."
Here are two links that explain the why of the fear periods and what you can do to help your puppy through them.
Ultimate Guide to Dog Training