Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Archive for October, 2006

The Border Collie

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Country of origin: England
Group: Herding
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Grooming: Brush at home weekly
Height: 18-22”
Weight: 35-55 lbs

AKC Rank 2006:  56

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Flea Season and Flea Control

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

I’ve been concerned about using chemicals on our pets as a preventive measure and whether currently available treatments would prove safe over time.  During Lizzie’s last check-up with Dr. Marty Betts, we discussed this topic and he assured me that the product Frontline was proven to be safe and after further research, I concur.  Claims by the manufacturer state that it is even safe to use on sensitive puppies and kittens over 8 weeks of age as well as on nursing mothers.  That is quite a statement and it has held up since 1996.

If you live in an apartment and only do on-lead walks you may never encounter a problem that necessitates the cost of monthly prevention.  However, if you are like most of us where the environment may have flea or deer tick populations, prevention sure beats the harm caused by flea bites and deer ticks—potential carriers of Lyme disease.

My daughter’s Golden was diagnosed with Lyme disease just two weeks ago and it was quite a scare.  The disease can be debilitating while the treatment takes weeks and is quite expensive.  Because Lizzie spends a lot of time in the woods of my backyard, I am going to start her on Frontline soon.
Visit to access a detailed report on the who, what, when, where, and whys of Frontline to determine whether it is right for you and yours.

Sophie’s owner—Wanda Palmer wondered if Advantix was unsafe since we have only mentioned the safety of Frontline.  We are writing from experience which isn’t an indication of our support of one product over the other.  Frontline was recommended by Lizzie’s veterinarian so that’s the one she uses.!  Advantix’s webpage indicates that it is also safe on dogs.  “K9 Advantix TM is gentle enough for puppies 7 weeks of age or older and dogs of any size.”  However, it cannot be used on cats while Frontline can.

Additionally, we called 6 local veterinary hospitals to find out which product they recommend.  None seemed concerned about the safety of using Advantix and one said the results with Advantix were more consistent.  The other 5 said that their results with Frontline were more consistent–one specified that they preferred it because it kills fleas in 3 stages of their lifecycle.  The Advantix website says that their product kills larvae and adult fleas but I haven’t found information about the 3rd part of the lifecycle.

At the salon, we prefer to do a flea bath as opposed to a flea dip.  There is a $5 charge for this service and if we see fleas, we’ll do it.  When we bath dogs with fleas, little bits of brownish red spots will appear.  This is called ‘flea dirt.’  If we are aware that your dog has allergies, we will instead use a hypoallergenic treatment and leave it on extra long to suffocate the fleas. 

The aim of a flea dip (rather than a flea bath) is to not only kill fleas but prevent them from coming back.  We prefer to avoid using the strong chemicals of a dip.  We have some worries about long-term effects on both dogs and ourselves–just the smell of a flea dip can make you dizzy.

Breeds We Don’t Do — The Rottweiler

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #4, October 

There are several breeds that we don’t groom including Rottweilers, Chows, and Siberian Huskies.  I did not make the decision to deny these dogs arbitrarily.  In fact, I groomed all breeds for a full 25 years (even groomed cats too).  It was a difficult decision—saying no to a customer means I don’t make the money, a situation I couldn’t afford when I was starting my family.  I’m in the business to groom dogs so why would I say “no” to these dogs–not just an impossible individual dog, but entire breeds?  Why, after 25 years did I finally say, “That’s enough!  I quit!”

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Dog Whispering – Leashes

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Archived from “The Paw Report:”  Issue #4, October
In the last issue, I explained the time commitment Caesar Millan suggests for daily training—a 45 minute walk in the morning followed by basic obedience sessions.  Keep in mind that the walk he describes is brisk and the lead is kept short with the collar high on the neck—no harnesses or lengthy leads there!

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The Pomeranian

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin: Germany
Group: Toy
Lifespan: 16-18 years
Height: 7-12 inches
Weight: 3-7 lbs
Color: All solid colors as well as parti-colors
AKC Rank 2006:  14


Pomeranians are one of our most popular breeds.  With early socialization they can be very friendly and easy to groom. They can have a tendency to be shy with strangers so an early introduction to the groomer is highly recommended. They need frequent brushing to help keep the undercoat from getting too matted.  Many of our customers prefer to keep them in short clips or scissored well to make home grooming easier. When they are well groomed, they are certainly one of the handsomest toy dogs that we do.

Keep in mind, dogs of the toy group are not recommended for small children as they may be temperamental—but for older children and adults they are known to be eager to please, gentle and affectionate. Patience is required in housebreaking them and they have a tendency to bark if not properly controlled.

Puppy Cut

Utility Cut





The West Highland Terrier (Westie)

Friday, October 6th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin:
Group: Terrier
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Height: 11 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 15-22 lbs
Color: White

AKC Rank 2006:  33

Archived from “The Paw Report:” Issue #9, March.

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The Labrador Retriever

Friday, October 6th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Country of Origin: Newfoundland – England
Group: Sporting
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Height: 21-24 inches
Weight: 65-80 lbs (male), 55-70 lbs (female)
Color: Black, yellow, chocolate

AKC Rank 2006:  1

  The Labrador Retriever

My sister Nina and brother Chris both have Labrador Retrievers as a part of their family. Nina’s husband Ron is an avid sportsman and chose his Labs from hunting stock while my brother Chris wanted a good family member to entertain his three boys. Both are on at least their 3rd Lab and for good reason—these dogs get high marks across the board. A breed standard Lab is a calm house dog, playful yard dog, and intense field dog. Labs also make excellent guides for the blind and service dogs for the disabled.

Here’s what Nina had to say about Labs:  “Meet ‘Jaeger’ Greene, our female yellow Labrador retriever. She has been a part of our family for the past 7 years. We got her as a puppy in 1999. She has probably been the nicest Lab that we have had, and we’ve had 2 others, females. Our first dog was a Golden Retriever, male. After having the male Golden for 12 years, ‘I’ decided that a female Lab was the way to go. They stick around…don’t tinkle on everything in sight and are more relaxed than
males….sorry, guys, that’s just the way I see it, and they don’t have as much dog hair as the Golden. My husband who loves to hunt … and has always wanted to have a dog…agreed to my ‘sex’ requirement!

Labs are just beautiful to look at, soft to pet, and loving members of the family. They are easy to train and will respond to anyone with authority. As Mike has said in many of his articles, training is KEY. You must start early and be consistent. I like knowing that my dog will always listen and is very loving with the grandchildren. I never even consider worrying about her with them. What a great choice for those of you who would like a family pet for the adults….and children! As to hunting…she is right there. She will retrieve a duck in the morning and sleep with a grandchild that night. What a perfect pet!”

If you haven’t groomed a Lab, you may assume that short coat is easy to take care of but it can be quite the challenge. Labs are double-coated dogs—the outer coat is dense and hard in texture while the undercoat is weather resistant and protects them from cold, all types of ground cover, and water. Their ability to retrieve fowl out of water on a cold day makes them a favorite of duck hunters. It is that soft undercoat that requires proper brushing.  The primary reason our Lab customers bring their dogs to us for a bath is because we use a special undercoat removing tool which seriously minimizes shedding and allows the skin to breathe.

Some of our customers have gone so far as to give their Labs a haircut—between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch. This really does cut back on the brushing altogether and the shedding that does take place is hardly noticeable.  Below is an example of this utility cut.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever holds the rank of most popular totaling 137,867 Labs registered.  The Golden Retriever is a distant second place with only 48,509 registered—about 2/3 less than the amount of Labs. Here, we groom 58 Labs and 37 Lab mixes, totaling 95 Labs coming into our shop.

Labs are typically highly intelligent, easy to train and thrive on human companionship but as with all popular breeds, make sure you get a look at the parents and avoid getting a puppy who will be like his hyper and bone-headed parents. 

The Pet Salon and Spa Library

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Click the “Library” link in the bar above.  Once there, all of our articles can be accessed by category or via the search to your right or in the archive section.  You can learn more about our grooming process, training, health, and more.  We even have a section of breed profiles including examples of their hairstyles.

Communication is key for us so we encourage you to utilize the blog ability to comment, question, and suggest anything that’s on your mind so our library can continually evolve and be something both enlightening and entertaining for you!

Below you will find permanent articles that include our central Q&A area and our most recent articles will be posted under these.

Time Commitment

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

I’ve now seen over 25 of Cesar Millan’s shows and am still fascinated by his skillful handling of each situation.  I’d like to comment on a different aspect of his presentation throughout our newsletters.  He does explain that all the nuances of his technique are based on three points of emphasis:  exercise, discipline, and then affection (in that order).  The main thing I noticed when he is making a correction is the time involved on the part of the owner.  First, there must be a 45 minute walk daily—without exception.  This is followed by consistent behavior modification at every breech of good behavior.

Archived from “The Paw Report:” Issue #2, July

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The Shih Tzu

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

Country of origin: 

Group:  Toy

Lifespan:  10-12 years

Height:  11 inches

Weight:  9-16 lbs

AKC Rank 2006: 9

The Shih Tzu is quite a popular breed.  We have 95 that come to us (not counting the many Shih Tzu mixes that we also groom). Why are so many people interested in this little ball of fur? While many of our breeds have a working relationship with man, the Shih Tzu has been bred to be a companion dog for hundreds of years. This “lion dog” was at times spiritual (tied to Buddhism) as well as a prized possession of Tibetan and Chinese emperors.

Our experience at the shop is very positive—they really are wonderful pets. Yes, we get the shy, snappy ones now and then but this is more an indication of a bad breeder than a judgment on the breed as a whole.

Most of our Shih Tzus are kept in short coats—anywhere from a ¼ inch to 1 inch clip with bangs instead of a tied up ponytail. A 6 to 8 week schedule for grooming should maintain this coat quite well. The longer cuts will require brushing twice a week and ponytail adjustments daily (maybe this is why we do so many short cuts!) At the bottom of this page, we explain the Shih Tzu cuts in more detail.

Shih Tzus are very friendly and good with children if trained properly but I’ve never owned one myself so we asked a few of our customers what they thought of the breed:

Deborah Wishart owns Lucy and says that her dog is so cute and lovable that people stop her in the street to comment! She enjoys the look and ease of the short cut but warns that no matter what you do, grooming costs are high! She’s had Shih Tzus in the family and even though she thinks Lucy is stubborn, she would definitely get another!

Leitzle Ford owns Tori and says that she also loves the “look” of the Shih Tzu and how sweet and loving the breed is. “They are truly a companion dog—loving to be in your lap, by your side, or at your feet.” She also agrees on the short haircut and adds that it keeps Tori comfortable. When she kept the hair longer, she did her best to brush the coat every day. Additionally, she is very emphatic that a dog’s personality is a reflection of the owner–don’t rely entirely on the breed to make your dog…you’re part of the process too!

Tiffany Adams loves her Shih Tzu, Daisy! “If I had one word to describe a Shih Tzu, it would have to be lovable! Shih Tzus are born to please their owners; they make the best companions. Shih Tzus are very low maintenance given their small stature and ‘no-shed’ coat of hair, but are very ‘high’ in the joy they bring to all.” Daisy has one of our long personality cuts with a shorter face–not too short, but not too long either!

Danielle Denega owns Quigley and says “I can’t recommend the breed enough: no shedding, almost no barking (only when someone knocks at the door), very affectionate, alert and curious, easy to travel with, he’s even a good “guard dog”!” She says that the only downside to Shih Tzus is that they’re so people-oriented that they don’t like to be left alone. “He makes sad Quigley faces when he sees me leaving the house without him.” When he’s home, all attention is on Danielle: “I call him my shadow because he literally follows me around the house from room to room. If I’m on the couch, he wants to be on the couch.

If I’m doing laundry, he’s laying at the foot of the machine. If I’m working at my computer, he’s either in my lap, under my chair, or sometimes sitting right on the desk. I was just mopping the floor, and he was chasing the mop around!” She went to the AKC for a breeder referral and was recommended Viki Lemke ( ).

We offer four basic haircuts for the Shuh Tzu.


Breed Groom

  1. The Breed Groom calls for brushing and combing with very little clipping involved. The hair on top of the head is put in a pony tail by parting the hair from the corner of the eye to the ear opening on both sides and then from ear to ear on the back of the head. This gathered hair is centered on the top rear of the head and tied with a rubber band—often followed with a bow. The groin area is clipped, hair in the ears removed and bottoms of the pads clipped. The pads are scissored “natural.” Do a thorough weekly brushing at home and check your work with a comb. Bring your Shih Tzu in to us every four weeks for a professional brushing, combing, and bath.

    Puppy Cut

  2. The Puppy Cut. Very few of our customers keep their Shih Tzus in full coat because of the maintenance involved and the matting that can develop without frequent and proper brushing. This clip essentially maintains most of the coat but thins it uniformly to about 1.5-2 inches all over. This is a nice clip if you want a full fluffy look and don’t mind some brushing weekly—about half of that required by the Breed Groom. This can be accompanied by bangs and clipping the top of the nose instead of using a pony tail. The length of the coat is established by a lot of hand scissoring which involves much more time and skill on the part of the groomer (this translates to a higher price!). Schedule an appointment with us every 4-6 weeks to maintain this length.

    Benji Cut

  3. The Benji Cut. If your Shih Tzu has a nice chest (not skinny) then the Benji Cut could be for you. The body is clipped between ¼ and 1 inch in length—leaving the legs and tail long. The legs are scissored into cylinders and blended into the shoulders. The pads are rounded. This is relatively easy to maintain by weekly brushing of the legs, ears, and tail. A professional grooming can be scheduled every 6 to 8 weeks.

    Personality Cut

  4. Personality Cut. This is by far the most popular groom. The body and legs are clipped uniformly to between ¼ to 1 inch in length. The tail is scissored to half the leng from base to tip and the head is scissored short with bangs. Brush the ears and tail at home weekly and come to see us in 8-10 weeks!