How To Groom a Little Bichon Named Doo

by Chloe Jeffreys · 37 comments

in The Doo

If Only It Were This Easy

WARNING:  The images you are about to see are graphic.  If you are the owner of a Bichon Frise then you might want to click away now. 

The owner of this Bichon is neither professionally trained nor a studied amateur bichon groomer.  In fact, she has no idea what she’s doing. Driven to desperation, this owner watched a 10-minute video on youtube once, bought a pair of clippers, and had at it. Some of her previous grooming efforts have been so gruesome that no photos can ever be shown.  

Luckily, bichon hair grows. And grows. And grows. Giving this owner lots of opportunities to practice over and over again.

If you are a bichon owner and nonprofessional bichon grooming offends your tender sensibilities then please seek help immediately, because you need it. IT’S JUST A BICHON, PEOPLE. It’s not like I’m grooming Justin Beiber or something.



Grooming Day for The Doo.

Hi, my name is Chloe, and I own a Bichon.  Bichons are very popular. Don’t believe me? Check out this Other Chloe. Notice that this Other Chloe has 531 FRIENDS, well, 532, after she approves my friend request. This means that a freaking Bichon has roughly 300 more friends than I have.

What people don’t know about me (and you were wondering if there was anything left) is that I’ve subscribed to a bichon weblist for about nine years. That’s right. NINE YEARS! Nine years of All Bichon, All The Time.

For nine years I’ve received daily emails from other bichon owners around the world. Bichons are so darn amazing and wonderful that owners of them need their own email list so that we can talk about them all day and not bore other people to death.

What do we bichon owners talk about, you wonder?

Eye stains.

Eye stains are a big problem for bichons and their owners. There are a lot of reasons for this and bichon owners talk about the problem and the treatments for it incessantly. Except those bichon owners who swear that their little perfect bichons DON’T get eye stains like other bichons. I don’t believe them.

Bichon owners also spend a lot of time on the Internet arranging meet-ups with one another at events called “Bichon Bashes” where they watch their Bichons do this thing called “Blitzing” (that’s where bichons run around a lot).

I’ve never attended one. But I might someday. Don’t judge me.

Bichon owners also talk about bichon diet–the basic rule of thumb is the more expensive and time-consuming to prepare, the better; bichon health–they are the healthiest dogs in the world; bichon health problems–except when they are not; horrible bichon puppy mills (Boo. Hiss.)Bichon Frise housebreaking–an oxymoron if ever there was one. Trust me. No bichon is actually ever truly housebroken.  If you tell me yours is, I won’t believe you.

If you are interested in joining this list, here’s the contact page; the address is at the bottom of the link.  But you won’t find any posts by me. I just read the emails. The last time I posted was five or six years ago about something to do with my dog’s water dish. If you think homeschool moms get testy then you haven’t met any bichon owners. Apparently, I wasn’t keeping the water dish the right way and several people let me know in no uncertain terms that I am a big, fat loser and deserve to die a horrible death. Now I just lurk.

Far and away though, the biggest issue that bichon owners discuss is grooming. Grooming a bichon is not optional.  Bichons do not have fur; they have hair.  Hair, like I said, that grows without limit. Snowy white, dense curly hair that grows and mats and becomes a huge, filthy tangled mess if not groomed regularly.  And regularly means all. the. damn. time.

I promised Doo’s breeder that I would feed him ostrich and groom him regularly. What the breeder didn’t tell me is that I’d need to get a second job to pay for the first promise, but then I’d have to quit both my jobs in order to keep the second.

I used to pay a groomer to groom Jean-Luc and considered it money well-spent.  I know. There are children starving and I was paying someone to wash my dog every month.  But look at it this way. Dog groomers need money too.  If we sent all our money to starving children then we’d have starving dog groomers laying on the streets, starving.  Okay.  That was lame.  Sorry.  I have no excuse.  I used to pay someone to groom my dog.  Don’t judge me.

But then I had to stop.

I stopped paying professional groomers because I live in a teeny town and my three available options are no good.  The best groomers I used to take him to did a great job, but for some reason Doo developed a total panic disorder going to them.  He started shaking so hard on the way there that I thought he was going to keel over and die. They seemed very nice, but something wasn’t right.

Then my mom had Doo groomed behind my back by the mobile groomer who mysteriously clipped him to look exactly like my mother’s dead poodle, Betsy.  THAT was terrible.  And took months to grow out.  Then I tried the only other groomer in town, but she also cut him like a poodle.  A Bichon is not a poodle and them’s fightin’ words.  I’m certainly not paying somebody to badly groom my dog and make him look like a poodle.  I can do that myself for free, thank you very much.  So now I home groom.

I haven’t officially groomed The Doo since his attack on May 27th.  He was just too messed up.  But the day finally came when he and I had to bite the bullet and get down to serious grooming.

Serious grooming of Doo is an all-day affair and includes a brush-out, scissor trim, clippers, more scissoring, bath, blow dry, finishing scissoring.  Partly because I’m not any good at it and partly because I try to make it not so tortureful for Doo, it usually takes me about 4-5 hours to completely groom him.

Here are pictures of the process from start to finish.

1. Brush Out the Head
2. Then the Tail
3. Scissor Trimming
“Am I even?”
4. Clippers
“Is This Over Yet?”
Once the pre-cut is done, it is time for the bath. This is Doo’s least favorite part and he looks particularly pitiful while it is happening.
“Is this really necessary??
Help?
Gentle Cotton Balls for the eyes

After the bath, it is all down hill.  Doo loves the the dryer and the final brush out.

“I love being clean!”
I’m a handsome fellow, aren’t I?
Bichon Manicure
Oops.  Cut a little too much.
What’s left of the scars from the attack
More Better
Happy Now
“Let’s not do that again, Okay?”
A Little Bichon Named Doo

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandy Linkenhoker February 17, 2017 at 2:36 pm

❤️️❤️️❤️️ Just came upon this blog. Fantastic as I groom my moms little Bichon, Sam.

I own a Miniature Schnauzer that also needs high maintenance grooming, and I trim her myself. She definitely doesn’t look professional but you can tell her breed. :).

Thanks for this!!

Reply

Christine November 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

I’ve tried my hardest to clip my bishon but for some reason the clippers won’t cut his coat I’ve bought a few pairs now .Could you please let me know what ones I should be using .Thanks

Reply

gramma B February 24, 2015 at 8:31 am

Shame on U. To show those scissor cuts when even a novice knows you put something between the skin & scissors whenever possible! I trim my bichon & have never cut her & I’m an old coot! I do use clippers & only scissor cut the feet & around the face. My Gracie is the joy of my life & the best companion & never talks back!

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys February 25, 2015 at 1:22 am

Well, he’s dead now. Probably because I’m such a shitty groomer.

Reply

Vanessa January 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm

hahahah this is great.

Reply

gramma February 24, 2015 at 8:24 am

Shame on U. To show those scissor cuts when even a novice knows you put something between the skin & scissors! I trim my bichon & have never cut her & I’m an old coot!

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys February 25, 2015 at 1:23 am

By the way, I watched SEVERAL videos on Youtube purportedly made my professional groomers before I tried this myself.

Reply

Aud July 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm

What a handsome boy! My bichon, Mequa, suffered from 2 separate attacks in two years; one from a coyote, and another from a mountain lion (saw it happen, no lie). She sustained similar injuries across the neck and shoulders, but now, 4 years later, she has little-to-no scarring. Hopefully Jean-Luc’s hair will grow in over the scars eventually as well. In the meantime, keep up the good work with the grooming! I always attempt to do a nice cut on Mequa, but inevitably end up shaving her completely because I botched it so bad. Thank goodness my old gal has a modicum of patience!

Reply

Becky February 12, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hi Chloe, Poor Doo, hope he get over his bad experience. Just enjoyed Doo’s grooming adventure LOL. My Suzy is taking the same trip, without the high!!! Didn’t like paying a fortune to have bad cuts either so figured how bad could I do? Answer, really awful. Hide dog quick. Only took 3 days to get it done, based solely on my nerves. Suzy did great except for the toenails. She drew blood, on me, several times. Doo and Suzy look like boy and girl twins, real cuties aren’t they? I have had many breeds of dogs but with this one I know what is meant with, “I love to be owned by a Bichon”.

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys February 12, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Oh me too! Jean-Luc survived his ordeal. My grooming? Not so much.

Reply

Surati Ivey February 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Chloe,
Enjoyed your Bichon grooming story. I got some good laughs out of it ! Thanks ! I just groomed Confetti ( my little bichon) for the first time. The breeder told me she’s hard to bathe-so I kept putting it off . I used baby shampoo and gave her some rescue remedy drops and then talked to her real sweet and took my time, she did pretty darn good, it wasn’t too hard. But she wasn’t crazy about the blow dryer, which I had on low. I trimmed her hair around the eyes, mouth, snout and head, but the rest of her was okay. Her head looks very Bichon, but I still don’t know what I am doing. I would love to take her to the groomer, b ut live in a rural area and would have to drive 1 hour plus. The cost is a bit of an issue s well as the driving back and forth. I did not trim her paws or nails. Going to take her in for that. She does give me a pretty hard time when I touch her front paws.
The whole thing took about 40 minutes.
Used hydrogyn peroxide dabbed on a cotton ball for the staining. ( do you think that’s ok ? )

Reply

Jo October 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I FOUND IT! It was worth all the searching until it finally popped up on the bottom of your new blog from today about the yard libraries.

I also do a lot of home grooming of my Bichon and it is so stressful for my little girl of 12 years, that I put it off until she is just wreck. Then we gently get ‘er done. She is good through everything except having her feet done, no hair trimming and no nail clipping, please. Since neither of those is an option, I have to wear leather gloves and go for it. She bites me; she growls at me; she looks pitifully into my eyes and eventually gives in. I hate the whole process.
I have just recently begun to do the monthly trips to the groomer again.
It’s so worth it to have her glare at someone else and run to me for comfort. I hate being the bad guy.
Loved reading your experience isn’t all that different, minus your baby not trying to kill you.

Reply

Sonya September 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

That is one of the funniest things I have read because its all true. It’s 4am my 6 month bichon is sleeping next to me I’m googling how to clean her eye stains because whatever I’m doing is not working and why she won’t potty train and keeps peeing in the pool. This is my third bichon think i would have it all worked all this out by now, but nah. I am laughing so hard totally relate.

Reply

Andre May 10, 2013 at 6:39 am

Poor puppy. That’s a horrible cut. I groom my babies once a week. it easier to maintain than cutting their fur once a month. They are definitely high maintenance. They are very playful and lovable. My boy loves to be carried like a baby and it’s always asking me to carry me

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 10, 2013 at 11:07 am

I am beyond a shadow of a doubt a terrible bichon groomer.

Reply

Richell Tice July 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Hi Chloe I enjoyed reading through your blog and the pics of Doo getting his “doo”. I am a pet groomer from Dallas and love it when owners take on grooming and maintaining their own dogs coat. Definitely not a job for everyone. It’s a lot of hard work. We get a lot of dogs that come in traumatized from previous grooming shops (mainly the big name national shops) and it’s my job to reassure them that grooming doesn’t have to be a hurtful, scary experience. It takes a lot of patience and dedication to work them back into happy clients. No judgment on grooming skills, the “bichon look” is difficult for some of the most season groomers. And as time goes go by you will get more comfortable with the nails and so on. Angel eyes works great for tear staining and because it does have a little tobramycin in it, will probably help with the rawness I noticed under his eyes. Good call not to keep taking your dog back to the original groomer. Though some dogs are more nervous than others, you know your dog better than anyone. It was good you picked up on his clues of being uncomfortable and decided to be proactive about it. Keep up the good work. Also what may help (I groom friend’s dogs at their houses) is putting him on a table or washer with a rubber bath mat beneath him will help you see the nails better and save a little on your back. Happy grooming!

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys July 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Thanks Richell! I really miss being able to take him to the groomer I had in San Diego. He always came home so happy and beautiful. I don’t do a very good job, but he started freaking out so badly that I knew something just wasn’t right. He’s in his summer cut, which is way too poodly, but what can I say? I’m not a groomer. I wish you lived nearby. I know a trained, compassionate groomer could restore him to his previous great attitude about it.

Reply

Peaches March 30, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Your dog is beautiful even with the scars. I’m glad the dog is okay
Peaches recently posted..Ear Infections in DogsMy Profile

Reply

Julie Lesko February 15, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Hi, Chloe, I love your site and your blog. You are too funny.
I’m so sorry about Doo’s attack. How horrible!
He looks like part poodle,even though I know he is bichon. You can tell by the length of his snout. Also, you give him poodle ears and that doesn’t help his bichon self image.
I admire you for doing your own grooming. I have three bichons and it keeps me busy with all the upkeep. Some of their pictures are on my Facebook page. You gave me an idea though, to give my crew their own Facebook page.
Anyway, I will keep reading your blog. How cute. Take care.
Julie

Reply

Carrie July 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Doo looks good!

Reply

Kristy Plata July 14, 2011 at 3:24 am

I give all my dogs "bad hair day" haircuts! He's a cute little thing, but I can't believe you backed down to the nasty Bichon water bowl person. I mean, you handled LLL on Sonlight, so I'd think you could stand up to ANYTHING!! I posted once in LLL, fangs came out, and I lurked thereafter! And back to the dog…you groomed him IN your house??…with the clippers…with all that fine hair flying around…??? Wow!

Reply

fungirlRobin July 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Inside. We're softies who think dousing with cold water is cruel.

Reply

Chloe July 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I love Sissy Spacek's accent in that movie and I especially love that line. I definitely think every woman needs a little dog named Doo in her life.

Reply

Becky July 13, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Oh, this post was both informative and hilarious! (That bit about starving groomers- lol!) Makes me kind of glad we just have chickens, who never need baths. But Doo sure is adorable!!
BTW, whenever I read "Doo", I hear it in Sissy Spacek's voice a la Coal Miner's Daughter (which I am obsessed with).
"What'd you git me a dadgum guitar fer, Doo? Ah caint play at ol' guitar!"
"Stop at growlin', Doo! You sound like a big ol' bar!"

If I ever get a dog, I want to name him Doolittle so I can call him Doo too! 🙂

Reply

Chloe July 13, 2011 at 3:24 am

Yeah, our lab is easy-peasy compared to Doo.

And thanks for noticing my new header. I made it myself!

Reply

Chloe July 13, 2011 at 3:24 am

Yeah, I'm pretty upset with whatever happened. He LOVED his groomer in San Diego and I never had a problem. But it kept getting worse and worse, the shaking and trembling, that I finally just gave up and started grooming him myself. These people seemed very nice and were always nice to him in front of me and nice to the other dogs, but something wasn't working.

I don't know if I'll ever get another bichon because of how much work the grooming is. And black sounds heavenly!

Reply

Chloe July 13, 2011 at 3:22 am

It's finally warm enough, huh? Do you bathe your dog inside or out?

Reply

Chloe July 13, 2011 at 3:21 am

hehe. Don't tempt me.

Reply

fungirlRobin July 12, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Hey. Lando got a bath today, too!

That's all I have to add.

Reply

Kristi R. (Bibliowyrm) July 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Your grooming day looks a little longer than mine. I just deal with a cockapoo who mats when you look at her cross-eyed. My least favorite part is the hair in the ears and doing the potty area. All the rest of the grooming, she sits still for the whole thing. She also hated the groomers. I don't know what they did but the last time I went to take her, she started shaking & peed on me when I picked her up to put her on the counter. We left.

Eyestains – my little dog is black, so I don't deal with those and am eternally grateful.

Reply

the reader July 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I am so glad I own a golden retriever, not a bichon.

And, the new blog header looks AMAZING. Good job on that!

Reply

Anne July 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I just put my dog in the dishwasher and let 'er rip.

Reply

Chloe July 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Owning a bichon is not for anyone who has anything else going on in their lives whatsoever. It really is All Bichon, All the Time.

Reply

Chloe July 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

By the time we get to the nails I think he's just resigned to his fate.

Reply

Jmmom July 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I would pay lots of money to get my dog to sit still like that when getting his nails clipped. He's fine in the bath (apart from the looks of "I can't believe you did this to me!") but he completely freaks over the nail cutting. Sigh.

Reply

Susan in the Boonies July 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Oh, dear God in heaven.

I've never considered owning a Bichon. I now understand with greater clarity my own sheer brilliance.

He's very cute, and I'm sure you did very, very well. Well, except for the little toenail nip, but we do that, too, so, no judgment here.

The BFM t-shirt works nicely as a dog grooming shirt, I must say. Except for white dog hair on dark clothes. But I bet you change it pretty quickly when you're done.

Give your poor puppy a kiss from Auntie Sooze.

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: