Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shaving Our Dog

Dakota lately has been panting a lot. She breathes very hard and fast, and when she does that usually we assume that she needs to go outside to use the bathroom. However, we've had an unusually warm winter this year. Several times over the last couple of weeks I have been able to wear shorts and t-shirts outside.

So, the thought occurred to me that maybe the reason that Dakota seemed so stressed lately is because she was too hot. So, Friday night, I decided to clip her fur.

I do the hair-cutting at our house. A friend asked me what I wanted for my wedding, and I told her I wanted hair clippers. She gave them to me, and it has been one of the best presents that I received. I cut Grig, Havelock, and Kevin's hair with them. When I was in high school, I also bought a pair of dog hair trimmers so that I could clip my dog's hair as well. When we moved here, my dog clipper blades were very dull, but we found a man just out of town that sharpens clipper blades for a really good price. He did a great job on them, and I've clipped the dog 3 or 4 times since she came to live with us.

I was clipping her fur to an inch long. For winter, this seemed logical. I wanted her to have some protection from the cold when she went outside. Lately though, it's been getting warmer in our upstairs apartment; much too warm for a long-haired dog.
Before picture
So, this time I clipped her fur to 1/2 an inch long. She's always been really good while I clipped her, and she was pretty patient as she and I sat in the bathroom and took off most of her hair. You can see from the picture below how much really came off of her.
During the process
I decided to leave the fur long on her tail and ears, though I did trim the top of her tail so that it would be more uniform with her fur. Here are the after images:
These pictures were taken right after her bath, so she's a little wet still.

Back view

Side view
It's taken a little bit of getting used to, but I really like the way she looks now. On Saturday, when we were going on a walk, a lady stopped us and had to tell us how beautiful our dog was! She asked us if she was part husky, and we told her that she was a border collie/Australian shepherd cross. She really liked her fur color. 

Dakota has been much happier since we trimmed her. She's more relaxed and doesn't pant nearly as often. It's been nice to know that she likes her new haircut.

There's been another advantage to trimming her fur, and that is that Kevin doesn't have as many hand-holds to grab. It is harder for him to pull her fur now, and she seems to like that much better. 

She's a very good dog. She and Kevin are little co-conspirators. He sneaks her food off his plate and she's happy to let him. They're pretty good friends now, even though he is a little rough occasionally. She tolerates his mistakes and moves away when he gets to be too much for her. Sometimes I have to intervene, but usually he is very sweet to her. He likes to pat her back and give her hugs. She is an amazing kid-dog, and I'm so grateful that we don't have to worry about her hurting him. 
This is important, because if it came to a choice between the two of them, we'd always pick Kevin. 

We're just grateful we don't have to make that choice.

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