Meadow suffers a haircut

The name Wooly Malamute says it all. 

Meadow is a wooly.

Meadow's coat is so thick, and grows so long, that the only way to manage it is to give her regular clippings. Every three months or so. On Wednesday she had an appointment with the hairdresser: me. It's very much like shearing a lamb.

The before photo:

I "rake" her fur on a regular basis, to keep it from matting. The teeth of the rake pull out the shedding undercoat, which I'm sure doesn't feel very good to her but is the only way to manage it. Her undercoat is so much like lamb's wool that, without the raking, she'd be covered with knots and mats. Her overall coat is amazingly soft and gorgeous, and very high maintenance! Especially compared to Maia, who beyond a weekly light brushing, needs no maintenance. Neither Meadow nor I enjoy the process of haircuts, but it's a necessary evil.

Before the haircut, because it was such a nice day, I encouraged all three dogs to play in the yard, enjoy the sunshine.

Old girl Maia, supervising.
Meadow, trying to entice Maia to play.
Amping the enticement, with little success.
Meadow has always been the goofy one, the playful one, the one who knows how to make me laugh. She's the instigator of play and mischief.

Alas, it was time to trim the fur.

I use professional grade dog clippers, and trim down to about an inch in length (although if Meadow moves unexpectedly, sometimes it gets a bit closer). This removes most of the darker guard hairs, but her undercoat (the wooly part) is so dense that I never worry that she'll be cold. I use scissors to trim around her feet and lower legs. Her belly is the hardest; she squirms and moves and usually I just give up trying to trim there.

The after photo:

This is referred to as a "lion cut" because the head and tail are untouched, resulting it what appears to be a lion's mane on the head. Also known as a "puppy cut" because regardless of the dog's age, this haircut will make them look and feel like a puppy. Meadow always prances and plays immediately after a haircut. She's probably a few pounds lighter, too. I stuffed a grocery bag with clipped fur from this cut. 

She's now a mostly white dog.

Whenever any of the dogs endures something they don't especially enjoy - a haircut (Meadow); eye drops (Maia); a bath (Finn) - all three are rewarded with a treat afterward. In fact, whenever I reach for Maia's eye drops, Meadow and Finn gather round to watch, knowing a treat for all immediately follows Maia's twice-daily application. 

The treat provided after Meadow graciously allowed me to trim her coat was a bone, one for each dog.

You can see the fur trimmed from Meadow's feet and lower legs on the grass. 

One of the best lessons I've learned from dogs - one that also applies to everyday life with people - is to reward the good behavior, ignore the bad. Offer praise and rewards frequently and lavishly when you observe good behaviors, and pretty soon the "bad" behaviors almost completely disappear. Sometimes the reward, for people especially, is as simple as saying thank you. 

Partake of the simple joy of being grateful for whatever gifts and rewards come your way, just like the three dogs in the photo above.
Rebecca WallickComment