I couldn't take it anymore, so I had to shave the schnauzer completely.  And then I discovered that Purina's "tips and tricks for keeping dogs happy" during the pandemic don't involve buzz cuts.  Poor Benny.

First, it was my daughter that ended up with a bad quarantine haircut.  Before the cut, her thick brown hair fell nicely to the middle of her back, and after the haircut, one side was two inches shorter than the other and it laid across her back in a diagonal line. Whoops.  It was a family member that gave her the haircut, and she decided to do it outside on the patio so there would be less hair to clean up.  A nice thought, but it a was windy day, and that meant there was no chance that the hair would lay still while she was cutting it.  Insanity?  Yes!  Don't ever do that.  but very few people think straight after eight weeks of quarantine so we'll cut her some slack.

Now it's Benny the schnauzer's turn to end up with a questionable cut.  While waiting on his usual groomer to open up, I noticed his coat had gotten long and it was matted into his chest with little wound up hairballs throughout.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands and shave the whole mess off.  The last time I groomed him myself we ended up in the doggie ER with a bloody ear, and this time we avoided that so I felt victorious.  But I did botch the eyebrows. He wouldn't sit still and I didn't have the right equipment to encourage it, so one brow is longer than the other and he's not up for a do-over.

I get regular emails from Purina, and they always have helpful advice on keeping dogs happy during the quarantine.  But buzz cuts are not on the list.

1. Stick to Their Routine.  Feeding, potty, and walks should all happen when they normally do, and if your dog is used to going in the car, it’s not a bad idea to continue to take them for short drives.

2. Be Intentional About Rest Time.  Pets are not kids. Owners don’t have to keep them busy with things to do all day.

3. Let Them Chew it Out.  Kongs and other sturdy toys can be filled with peanut butter and then frozen for a longer-lasting distraction.

4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise.  If you’re stuck inside, clear away some furniture to make room for a game of fetch or tug of war.  Get out in the backyard if you have one and play a game of chase.

5. Play Some Mind Games.  Teach them a new trick or two.  Give the pets that ‘ah ha’ moment of finally figuring something out. They'll feel a positive surge of emotions.

6. Be a Considerate Roommate. Keep excessive noise to a minimum because noise can stress them out.

7. Get Kids Involved.   Purina behaviorist Dr. Sandra Lyn said, “If the pet is amenable, then implement and encourage reading-to-pets sessions as part of your child’s routine.”  We'll work on that.

8. Stick to a Healthy Diet.  Don’t start feeding table scraps just because your ‘table’ happens to be your couch these days. Continue your pet’s feeding schedule and stick to providing their regular food as much as possible.

9. Create a “Safe Spot.”  Your pet may need some personal space to feel safe and comfortable during a time when there are suddenly more people around.

10. Get Creative!  Provide fun toys that your dog or cat has permission to destroy, like a cardboard tube with kibble hidden inside or a plastic bottle they can chew through to get treats from within.

Maybe I should have given Benny a toy to destroy while he was getting that buzz cut.  If only he could have treated the experience as a mind-game and learned how to cooperate.

He's got a muscular body and skinny legs, so now we affectionately call him the "brick on sticks.".  Dogs don't gain or lose confidence from a haircut, so I guess he still loves us.

Quarantine is almost over, buddy, hang in there.

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