I have a Shepard Mix customer that has been coming to me for a while now.
The owner started out only getting the dogs feet trimmed.
Then she moved on to having the rear feathering trimmed up a little.
Then the owner wanted the rear feathering shorter and shorter.
When the owner came in on Saturday, she wanted us to shorten everything up very tight, but she did not want the dog clipped.
Isn't she a pretty girl.
She is also very sweet, and very big and tall.
You know, one of those large dogs that thinks she is really a little dog.
She is a good girl to groom, but she is a table dancer.
It is not that she moves around a lot, she prances in place like there are hot coals under her feet.
Her feet are constantly moving.
I like her feathering.
It is not too long to me, but I do what the owner wants.
She does have very fuzzy feet.
I clip the pads with a #40 blade.
Then I brush all of the hair between her toes up and backward.
Scissor all of the hair tight to the foot.
Next, I scissor all of the feathering on the front leg tight to the leg.
I comb the feathering up, scissor and comb up again.
I only scissor down, the way the hair falls.
Most of the scissoring is done to the back of the leg.
I blend the back of the leg into the shorter hair on the front of the leg.
Comb the hair up, pick up the leg, and give it a little shake, to make sure the hair lays even.
Next, I trim the under belly and chest.
The owner wanted this part very short.
First, I scissor the hair up as close to the body as possible.
I scissor both ways, from tuck-up to chest, or from chest to tuck-up.
When I scissor from chest to tuck-up, I pick up the front leg, and bring it forward, so that I can get all of the hair between the front legs.
Because I don't like seeing the sharp scissor cut on the under belly, I very lightly scissor and blend the sides down into the belly.
All I want to do is soften that sharp scissored area, and round it off a little to make it look more natural.
You do not need to cut deep into the coat to do this.
I am barely taking off 1/4" of hair.
You could also use a #7F blade or #40 blade to just very lightly skim to blend.
If you don't have a light touch or the dog is a dancer like this one, don't try to skim.
You could end up with a major hole to repair.
Now, I clip out the belly between the rear legs.
This will help make the legs look nice and neat from the front and the rear.
I use the #15 blade, but I do not touch the skin.
On breeds like Shepards, Goldens, and Spaniel mixes, that are not normally clipped, I only like to skim out the belly.
I don't want the belly to become irritated because that area is not used to being clipped.
The hair is usually so thin on the belly that skimming makes it look shaved anyway on a lot of these breeds.
Next, I move on to the front of the rear leg.
I scissor this area because the rest of the outline is scissored so nice and clean, that this area looks messy if you leave it, especially when the dog sits down.
I don't have to take very much off at all on the front of the back legs to neaten it up, but...
Remember to comb the hair on the inside of the back leg up and out.
Trim that hair up tight.
This is the hair that will stick up and out when the dog bends his rear leg to sit down.
I scissored about an inch of this hair off.
It leaves a nice clean look to the front of the back leg.
On to the rear feathering.
This is another area that the owner wants very short.
If her rear feathering was very thick, I would use a Coat King to thin out the rear hair a little first.
Just like with the front leg feathering, I comb the rear feathering up also while scissoring.
I like to give the rear a round shape even when scissoring the hair very tight.
Keeping the round shape to the rear helps to keep the dog looking natural.
Scissor the rear leg all of the way around, if needed, to blend into the hair that is already naturally short on the leg.
Before and after sides of the rear.
Remember to also comb and scissor the inside of the back legs from the rear.
Trim up the back foot and comb up the feathering on the hock.
Scissor tight to the leg.
On to the head, ears and neck.
My goal here is to blend all of the shaggy hair around the ears to the head without it looking choppy.
Because her ears fold funny to her head, I straighten out the ear first, and trim up all around the edges.
Then I pick up the ear and hold it up and out, away from the head.
I scissor and blend all of the wispy hair to the face and neck.
When scissoring ears like this, I like to take a little hair off at a time, let the ear fall naturally, and then continue to scissor if needed.
This Shepard does not have much of a main to begin with, but it still needs to be scissored to make it look nice and neat like the rest of the outline.
This is another area where I did not need to take much hair off.
I scissored about a 1/4 inch off of the neck, and very lightly blended it into the sides of the neck.
Let me just say, that the last thing I scissored on this dog was heart breaking for me.
I love a beautiful, full tail.
But, Mom didn't want a beautiful, full tail.
She wanted a tube tail. :(
Yuck, Yuck, Yuck.
That is all I have to say.
Okay, okay...I'll tell you what I did.
I don't know why you want to make me live through this part again.
I scissored about 3 or more inches off of the bottom of the tail first.
Then I combed the sides of the tail outward, and blended the sides down into the bottom of the tail.
I held the tail up and scissored.
I held it out and scissored.
I held it down and scissored.
I didn't have to shake it.
All I had to do was let it go, she would wag it like crazy, then I would catch it again and scissor any sticky outies.
It took me half an hour to scissor the side that I took pictures of, but once I finished taking pictures, I was able to repeat the same trim on the other side in less than 10 minutes.
The outline trim is a nice, quick trim that all of my long hair, double coated breed owners like.
You can scissor the outline to any length the owner wants.
Just a neaten, a medium trim, or to a tight to the body trim.
The owner absolutely loved this cut.
She thought the dog looked like a puppy again.
As long as she is happy, I am happy. :)
Even if I did cut off the tail.
The tail hair I mean.
I do seem to have a habit of leaving important words out of my sentences sometimes.
I told a customer once that I would have to cut off the ears because of severe matting.
She got the most horrified look on her face and said, "you have to cut my dogs ears off!?"
"No, no, no," I said quickly, when I realized what she thought I meant.
"I have to cut the matted hair off of the ears, not the ears themselves," I reassured her.
I don't think that she was reassured until she got her dog back with his ears still attached. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF