How to Put a Bow on a Dog

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Sometimes, it's fun to dress up a bit, and the same goes for your dog. If you want to jazz up your dog's style but a trip to the groomer isn't an option, you can do it yourself at home by adding a bow (or several). There are a few different methods from which to choose using elastics, clips, or accessories your dog already wears. So, whether your dog has long hair, short hair, or not much hair, you can use a bow to give your dog a little something extra.

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Practice fear-free grooming techniques

While having your hair done can feel like a day at the spa, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for some dogs. However, it doesn't have to be. To make it more positive for both you and your dog, try these tips for a fear-free experience:

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  • If your dog seems stressed, take a break.
  • Keep treats or a favorite toy nearby.
  • Remain relaxed and upbeat.
  • Speak with an encouraging tone of voice.
  • Brush along her spine, neck, or wherever she likes.
  • Pay attention to what her behavior is telling you.

Start with a bath

Putting a bow in your dog's hair is much easier when it's clean, dry, and free from tangles. To help make it easier to comb through and style your dog's hair, use a moisturizing shampoo and don't skip the conditioner. Always use products that keep your dog's skin pH balanced and protected. When bath time is over, use a little leave-in conditioner for dogs to help maintain a tangle-free coat before you attempt to style it.

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How to make a bow for a dog

There are many places to find dog bows at retail stores and online, but in just a few minutes, you could make your own. Some simple tutorials show how to make a bow for a dog, and all you need are a ribbon, a small elastic hair tie, a pair of sharp scissors, and a pencil.

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First, take the pencil, put it through an elastic, and set it aside. Cut the ribbon so it's about 7.5 inches long. Take both ends and cross one end over the over so it looks like an awareness ribbon and hold the ribbon where the ends overlap. Then, tuck the middle of the loop under your finger so that the ribbon is symmetrical and resembles the shape of a bow. While holding your ribbon together, place it against the pencil on top of the elastic. Pinch the elastic on the other side of the pencil, twist it once, and slip it over the top of the pencil so that it holds the ribbon in place.

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On one side of the ribbon, the elastic should make an X, and on the other side, the elastic should make one horizontal line above the ribbon and another one below. To finish the bow, pinch the elastic below the ribbon and pull it up and around the top of the pencil so it ends up on the other side. Pull the bow so the elastic tightens in the middle and lift it off the pencil. On the back of the bow, you should have a tiny elastic loop that sticks out on top, which you can use to place the bow on your dog.

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How to put a bow on a dog

If your dog has longer hair, you have a few options. One way is to gather a small amount of hair, put it through the elastic attached to the bow, twist, and repeat until it's tight enough to stay in place. Just make sure it isn't tugging on your dog's hair because it's far more important to be comfortable than to be fashionable.

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Another option is to use a small, plastic barrette, which is a lighter alternative to a metal barrette and tends to have a better grip. If you're using a bow you made yourself, slip the end of the barrette through the elastic loop and clip it onto a section of your dog's hair. It may have better staying power if you make a small ponytail with an elastic before clipping the barrette. Your dog's hair may not be long enough to style, but you still want to add some flare. In this case, there's a simple solution. If she's wearing a collar, put a bow on it.

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