New groomers are always asking; 'how long should it take me to shave a Poodle's foot?'
I used to ask the same question.
I asked it in Grooming School.
My teacher and owner of the school told me she could shave a Poodle foot in a minute, and that it should not take me anymore than 4 minutes to shave a foot.
That was the goal I was to work towards.
I can't tell you how frustrated I used to get trying to reach that goal.
Have I ever reached that goal?
Sure, on really good Poodles that stand still, don't fight to have their feet shaved, and the hair on their feet is not too long.
In my opinion, there are a lot of different ways to speed up the grooming process.
Quicker ways to bathe.
Quicker ways to dry.
On some dogs, you can even clip the body fairly quickly and still work safely.
But, there are some processes of grooming that should not be rushed through.
Shaving feet is one of the grooming processes that I think should not be rushed.
You are working with a very sharp blade on a very intricate area of the dog.
There are so many places that a Poodle can be nicked while shaving the feet.
The toe knuckles.
The skin around the toenails, to name a few.
Also, a lot of the times, the Poodle is always moving that foot.
If you are new to grooming, speed will come with time.
I know that that is not what new groomers want to hear, but I feel that it is more important to shave a foot safely then to speed through it.
How much time have you saved shaving the feet fast if you nick the feet and have to spend 15 minutes or more explaining and apologizing to the owner.
One safe way to help clip a foot, as quickly as you can, is to develop a routine that you use every time you shave the feet.
Below is my routine.
I start by clipping the bottoms of all four feet first.
The blade that I use depends on the color of the Poodle and the type of skin that the Poodle has.
I use a #15 blade on Poodles with light colored hair and thin skin.
I use a #30 or #40 on darker colored Poodles with tougher skin.
I like to use my cordless Chromado clipper to shave feet and faces.
The blade always stays cool enough to clip the face and all four of the feet without having to stop or change the blade.
It is also a very nice, quite clipper that doesn't frighten some dogs, especially puppies.
I use the whole blade, and the corners of the blade to clean out the bottom of the feet.
I use my fingers to splay the toes so that I can get around the nails and between the toes.
I also clean as much off of the toes as I can from the bottom of the foot.
On some Poodles, it is actually safer to shave the webbing between the toes from behind.
After the bottoms of all four feet are shaved, finish shaving the tops pf the feet.
I use the whole blade to shave the top of the foot.
I use the corners of the blade to shave up each side of the toes.
Then I turn the clipper sideways to use the whole blade to scoop out the rest of the hair between the toes.
Of course, this depends on the size of the Poodles foot.
I use my fingers to push the webbing up from the bottom to reach the hair.
I also use my finger to pull the wispys up and away from the nails so that they can be shaved off.
I usually shave the foot to just above the joint bones.
Depending on the cut the Poodle will be getting determines how high I will shave the foot.
If it is a short Kennel cut, I will shave the foot to the joint.
If the Poodle is getting any type of clip that leave full legs I will shave the foot a little above the joint.
I did a short video on YouTube of me shaving a foot.
I took my time for the video, moving slowly, hoping that you can see everything that I was doing.
The video is about 4 minutes long.
A hairy St Poodle foot usually takes me about 2 minutes to shave, but once again that depends on the dog.
Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes more.
I had a Standard yesterday that took forever to do the feet, because all she does is yank her foot out of your hand every chance that she gets.
I think it took me about 20 minutes just to shave her feet, and boy were my hands cramped when I finished.
So don't worry too much about how fast you should be shaving a Poodles feet.
Worry about doing a good, safe job.
Come to think of it, I never did see my Grooming teacher shave a poodle foot.
I bet she was all talk. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF