About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Portuguese Water Dog

I have been grooming one Portuguese Water Dog for about 5 or 6 years now.
It is only the second one that I have ever groomed.
The other was kept in full, thick, curly coat, and was one heck of a job to groom.
Let's just say that I am glad I don't groom that dog anymore.

In the past two weeks I have had calls for grooming 4 PWDs.
The first one was a very nice dog that turned out to be very matted and had to be clipped short with a #5 blade.
The next two PWDs I already posted about.
The owner that thought we were crazy for the price we quoted her.

Then, Friday I groomed this Portuguese Water Dog.

Isn't he beautiful?

He is very sweet also.

On the downside, he is very shy and lazy.

How many large dogs that you groom aren't lazy in some way?

 He would lay down in tub 50% of the bath.

He would lay down for most of the drying also.

Of course laying down was not enough...

...we had to try and disappear into the corner.

Not get away.

He actually was very good on the drying table, he just wanted to craw in the corner.

I also think that he must have been channeling the Breaded Collie that I groom, that also likes to sit on my backboard.

I was sure that I was going to be constantly trying to keep him from sitting down.

He pleasantly surprised me by standing very good on the table for the grooming. 

There was one thing that I had to do before I did anything else.

It was to cut that bread off.

You see this sweet, big guy drools...big time.


All over himself and my table, and anything that comes near his mouth.

And yes, the owner knows that I was going to cut the beard off.
She specifically asked me to, because of the drooling.

 If you haven't noticed in other pictures that I have posted, I tend to lay tools on my table while I am grooming.

There is nothing like picking up your brush, comb, or clipper and having it covered in slobber.

There is nothing like trying to clip pads only to have them wet from slobber that the dog has been standing in.

So, when I have a dog that drools  excessively, I like to lay a paper towel down on the table to soak up the drool while I am grooming them.

Oh, I also make an extra effort not to put my tools on my grooming table.

Of course, I always forget until I pick up that wet, slick, cold, slobber covered brush. 

I took the beard off with a #5F blade against the grain.

If you look closely, now the slobber is dripping off of shorted hair.  :)

The owner also wanted the mustache scissored up to the lip line.

So, now I get to hold the face still while drool drips and rolls down my arm, to my elbow, before it falls onto the table.

One of the glamorous parts of the grooming job.  :/

I actually worked with one groomer that could not work on a drooling dog.
She would literally gag if drool touched her.

No, she no longer grooms.

This is the face scissored on one side.

The face comes out looking very nice and neat without the beard.

And, my paper towel is doing its job.

I also noticed while grooming this dog, that the belly and privates were very shaggy.

So shaggy, that it made me stop and question as to whether or not this dog got his belly and privates shaved.
The hair all around his penis was also stained brown from licking.

To me, this was a red flag that this dog may lick itself raw after being clipped.

So, I tried to reach the owner to ask her about it.

No answer of course.

I decided to save the belly for last, and see if she would call back before I finished the dog.

She did not return my call till well after I had finished the dog.

To be on the safe side, I skimmed the belly and privates, leaving them a little fuzzy in hopes that he would not go home and lick himself raw.

When the owner did pick up her dog, it turned out that the she would have proffered the belly shaved, but she was okay with what I decided.

I decided that I would rather be safe than sorry.

The very first thing the owner said to me when she dropped off her dog was; "you're not going to put that stupid lion cut on him, are you?"

"Not if you don't want me to," I smiled.

"Oh No!, I think that looks awful," she answered.
"I like the body short and the legs left a little longer." she finished.

Portuguese Water Dog Pet Clip:

Body: 12mm Clipcomb and scissor to neaten.
Inside Back Legs:  12mm Clipcomb down the inside of both back legs, full pressure all of the way to the foot.
Outside Back Leg:Clipcomb down the hips with the 12mm, full pressure. As you get to just above the knee, lighten up on the pressure and skim off of the knee. Scissor the hock and feet, blending into the rest of the leg.
Front Inside Leg: 12mm clipcomb , full pressure from underarm to foot.
Outside Front Leg: 12mm clipcomb  down the side and back of the front leg with not quite full pressure. Scissor up the leg to finish. (I do not like to take the clipcomb down the front of the leg. When, and if I do use the clipcomb on the front of the front leg, I skim very lightly than scissor)
Tail: I used the body blade (CC12mm) to clip down the top 1/3 of the tail. Neaten the rest. (As per owners request)

The Head:

Beard: off with a #5F blade against the grain.
Mustache: Scissored to the lip line, blending back into the cheeks.
Top of Head: skim with body blade, clipping only with the growth of the hair. Use pressure as needed. Blend into the top of the ears.
Cheeks: skim with the body blade.
Ears: Scissor to just below the leather. Clip inside of the ear with a #10 blade.

The directions above are how I groomed this particular dog, they are by know means the only way this breed should be clipped.
As a pet groomer, all clips are customized as per the owners wishes.

The owner loved the dog, but she is a customer of the other groomer that I wrote about in another post.
It sounded like she may use both of us to groom her dog.
She really liked that I have specific appointment times and can guarantee a time out.
The other groomer grooms by appointment also, but it sounds like all of her dogs come in at the same time and she can not always guarantee a time out.
Not sure if I will see this guy again or not, but he was fun groom anyway.

Except for the drooling.
I could do without the drooling.
I get wet enough bathing dogs.
I don't need to be wet when I am clipping.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. What nis 12mm I use wahl snapons

    1. Hi,
      The 12mm snap on that I used on this dog was the plastic one that came with the Wahl cordless clippers. You can also use the 13mm Stainless Steel comb attachments that Wahl makes for their cordless clippers.
      Lisa, MFF

    2. Hi, every time my dog comes from the groomer, he has an issue. This time he has scratched the side of his face raw til it bleeds, so now paws are stained red from scratching. There was a small raised bump on the side just under his ear flap, but now its gone. I think he scratched it off. Any idea what has happened to my PWD?

    3. Hi,
      It is very hard to tell what the problem is without seeing your dog. I can only make a guess that he may have possibly had a tight mat under the ear that the groomer had to shave very close to get off. This may have itched him a little. The unfortunate thing is, is that a dog can do a considerable amount of damage with their nails when scratching an area. They can do even worse damage after a grooming if their nails are sharp from being freshly clipped.
      It could have also been a hotspot that had been festering under the hair, and after the grooming it started to itch.
      Our own dog had a small hotspot (the size of pea) show up out of no where one Saturday on the side of his face. By the time the weekend was over and we could get him to our Vet, he had scratched and rubbed a half dollar size, bloody sore on his face. It is amazing the damage that they can do to themselves and how fast they can do it before you notice.
      As for there being an issue every time you get your dog groomed....I am not sure what to say to that, other than you may have to find another groomer. There really should not be issues every time your dog gets groomed.
      Lisa, MFF

  2. I was cracking up reading this! I have a portie and oh man do I feel bad for her groomer. Haha! She is such a pain always wiggling and hating the whole process. I think this portie looks great!

  3. I'm looking for a non-drooling dog and after reading your commentary have taken the Portuguese Water Dog off our short-list.
    A Water dog by name and a watering dog by nature.

  4. How much did you charge for this groom?

  5. They don't all drool. Just make a big mess when they have a beard after they drink water. I love my portie, picked him up at the local humane society. He's loyal, kind, fantastic to groom, and slightly protective of me. I'd not take him off my list ever. Like him better than my less messy border collie.

    1. Good to know I am looking into this bread as my MS service dog.

  6. looks like you did a real nice job. i can't imagine it is that easy to groom this type of dog