Every once in a while, it's good to change up your look. A new purse, a different jacket or a new hairstyle can really be a confidence booster. It can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Apparently, the same is true for our canine friends.
Last week, Toby, our flat-coated retriever, had a complete head-to-toe makeover and I love it. His normally long shaggy locks were clipped and trimmed down to just about an inch long. He looks really different but seems to like his cool new 'do. He struts around with his head held a little higher and the 10-year-old dog is acting like he's a puppy again.
We haven't done too much in recent years with Toby when it comes to grooming. Usually he gets a couple of trims throughout the year but nothing quite so drastic as this recent adventure. But I think his sleeker fur - which when short is really, really soft - is a good look and definitely in order for the dog days of summer we've been having. He's much easier to comb with his short little brush cut. And the best part of all, the near-constant tufts of dog hair all over my carpet, furniture and car interior seem to have disappeared. I didn't think that would ever happen unless we actually got rid of the pooch.
The only real sign of his former silhouette is a little feathering on his ever-wagging tail. He looks more like black lab now.
One thing we have noticed is that he has very short ears. That fact was kind of camouflaged by his long locks, but now that they are gone, he kind of looks like he has a page-boy haircut. And it's really quite funny when he tips his head to one side as he tries to understand something you've said to him. I envision him flipping those ears back and forth and saying, "Whatever" with a valley girl-kind of cadence.
Of course, the men in my house were horrified when I suggested such a silly concept. They pointed out the obvious masculine stance and deep woof as proof of Toby's alpha dog status.
The whole salon treatment was prompted by an upcoming performance at the Hamilton County Fair. Daniel and Toby are entered in the 4-H dog obedience class. We wanted the old boy to look his very best for the event. Since that time, Daniel's been brushing him daily, brushing his teeth and washing his ears. Darned if that old dog doesn't clean up nicely.
He's taken to the obedience classes like a champ. I?had an opportunity to watch the class the other night and Toby was executing several things that I never dreamed possible. I think both he and Daniel have learned a lot from the training. Hopefully they are starting to work more like a team.
At the other end of the spectrum is Buster the Lhasa Apso. We try to keep him in a puppy cut because when his hair gets too long, he looks downright disreputable. He's getting to that stage now. His long, shaggy fur hangs over his eyes and the heavy coat makes him look like he's about five pounds heavier and his bushy mustache that brings to mind a little old man.
It's interesting because when he's shaggy, Buster seems to get into trouble much more often. When he's clipped short, he's much cuddlier, much more polite and less likely to go trash can diving. OK, he's got some training issues that we're working on.
Perhaps, after a good grooming, next year, Buster and Daniel can tackle obedience classes. Maybe he can learn some good habits from his pack mate, Toby.