Stewie just went to the groomer. I knew when we first got him over a year ago that keeping his coat clean would be a challenge--all the stuff I read about bichon frises said that you had to brush their coat everyday to prevent mats. I thought that was an exaggeration, but I was wrong. Very wrong. I think Stewie's coat needs to be brushed at least twice a day to keep it 100% free of mats and tangles. I'm Stewie's self-appointed hair stylist...mostly because it drives me nuts if I see any kink in his coat. I'm constantly brushing hm, cutting his hair, pulling grass seed and burrs out of his fur, cleaning the tear stains on his face etc., etc. It's actually a pretty good outlet for me to funnel all my obsessive habits toward.
It's not a burden to me, but N says I spend a lot of time doing it, and I think all my efforts barely make him acceptable-looking. We bring him to the groomer a few times a year, and despite all of my efforts, every time we bring him there they had to shave him almost 100% naked to get rid of the mats that he had.
UNTIL this past time! I finally learned how to brush him thoroughly enough (it involves a combination of a slicker brush, metal toothed comb, mat remover, dried chicken treats, a solid 30 minutes of time, N holding him in place, and Stewie's Nylabone to let his frustrations out on) and the groomer was able to just give him a trim instead of a shave! Now he looks so shockingly puffy, white, and cartoony that every time I walk him every person that sees him has to comment on his whiteness, cleanness, or prettiness. He's a marshmallow! And I am triumphant.