Today I had a new customer come in with a Wire Haired Jack Russel.
She was pretty shaggy, and had not been groomed in awhile.
The Dad dropped him off.
When asked what he wanted done to the dog, I got the usual 'take her short.'
I noticed that most of the top of her head was already very short, except for the wiry hairs sticking out, so I asked him if he wanted her as short as the top of her head.
"Yes, that's fine," he said.
My first thought was to use a #5F blade.
As I was bathing her, I noticed that her hair was past ready to be hand stripped.
I do not offer Hand Stripping for 3 reasons.
One, it is way too time consuming.
Two, the owners do not want to pay the high price of this service.
And three, my wrists can no longer handle hand stripping.
Although, I did do a little hand stripping on this dog anyway.
When grooming a lot of wire haired Terrier's, you will notice that most of them have a thick, plushy coat next to the skin, with a ton of long wiry hairs sticking out of that plushy coat.
The outer coat dries very quickly, but the plushy undercoat takes longer to dry.
It is very important to get the entire coat completely dry to get a nice smooth cut on this type of coat, no matter how short of a blade you are using.
If you leave the coat damp or even a little tacky, the cut will look choppy.
The more that I worked with the coat, the more I thought that the #5F was too short to use on this dog.
I really wanted to hand strip this dog.
I had a little Terrier for almost 20 years that I used to hand strip.
I love the way the coat looks after it has been hand stripped.
So I hand stripped a small part of the dogs back to see what the natural length would be if she was hand stripped all over.
It is hard to see in the picture, but I decided to use a 12mm clip comb to match the length that was left after stripping.
The clip comb left just the right length.
It cut off the wiry hair, but did not chop into the plushy coat underneath.
The hair on the dogs side ran right through the comb without being cut, so I skimmed the sides against the grain to match the rest of the cut.
I did not use full pressure, just enough to remove the length of hair I wanted.
The hair on the legs just laughed at the clip comb also, so I clipped the legs against the grain also.
The clip comb left a very nice plushy, velvety finish.
It left the hair looking short, like the owner wanted, but it also left the hair looking natural, not shaved.
Now for that head.
I decided to hand strip the head and ears.
It looked like someone had shaved this dogs head against the grain before, and all of the hair was not growing back right.
You could still see some of the old blade marks in the thinned out areas of the top of the head.
See those wispy, wiry hairs?
I plucked all of them off of the head, up to the eyebrows, to make the top of the head nice and smooth.
The hair was so ready to be plucked.
I plucked the top of the head from the back of the eyebrows to the back of the head, blending into the neck.
I have a little tip for you when plucking, or hand stripping the hair.
You can wear Latex gloves to help grab hold of the hair.
Or, if you don't have any, like me, you can use ear powder.
Just pour a little out on a piece of paper or paper towel.
Dip the fingers you are going to use in the powder.
The powder will help you to grab and hold on to the hair you are plucking.
Don't worry, the powder will be on the hair you are plucking off, and not your clean dog.
On to the ears.
Terrier ears look so nice when they are plucked.
If I used a blade to clip this hair off, it would still leave part of the ear looking gray from the shaved gray hair.
But, if you hand strip them...
Pluck a little hair at a time.
The same way you pluck the inside of the ears.
The dog does not mind the plucking when you pluck small sections at a time.
Also if the hair does not pluck easily, the hair may not be ready or able to be plucked.
Look how nice that ear is. :)
I also plucked her cheeks.
Now for around the eyes.
Yes, I am going to pluck the corner of the eyes too.
I plucked the corners and between the eyes a little.
I did not have to pluck a lot to open up the eyes.
I also did not pluck all of the hair between the eyes.
I did not want Schnauzer eyebrows.
I only used the scissors for a few things on her head.
I shaped up the eyebrows, soft and round, and shortened the beard and rounded off the mustache.
I am be no means an expert on grooming Terriers.
So, for any Terriers Breeders or Groomers, don't yell at me for clipping the dog.
The groom that I did on the dog above is a 'Pet Groom'.
The most important thing is whether or not the owner liked it.
The Dad picked her up.
He said, "she looks nice," and left.
Okay... how many times has that happened?
You work hard to make a dog look as nice as you can, and hardly get any reaction from the owner.
Then you give a Beagle a bath, and those owners praise you up and down.
It almost never fails.
You feel so deflated after the owner leaves, and you are just not sure whether they liked it or not.
Well, today ended on a good note.
The wife called about an hour after the dog went home.
She wanted to make another appointment.
"That is the best grooming she has ever had," the wife said.
:) :) :) :)
A win, win day.
The dog was super sweet, and the owner liked the groom!!
Hope you have a win, win day...everyday!
Happy Grooming, MFF