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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What Would You Do? Poodle shave

I know that a lot of groomers who read this blog will most likely laugh at me for this post.

I also know that there are a lot of groomers out there that don't think twice about shaving dogs down with a # 10, 15 or even a 30 blade.

I was taught that way in Grooming School.
Almost every dog that walked in the door was clipped with a #7, 10, or 15 blade.

My grooming has changes big time over the years.

I can honestly say that 80% of my furry customers get clip comb or hand scissor grooms.
Fifteen percent  get a full body clip with a #4f or #5F blade.
Less than 5% get are clipped with a #10 or #15 blade, and those are a few style clips (Cocker, Schnauzer) where the owner likes the body very, very short.

I don't even use a #10 or #15 blade on my matted messes.

As of yesterday this little guy was the only dog that I groom that gets shaved with a #15 blade.

I actually think that if I told this owner I could go shorter, he would have me do it.

Needless to say, I hate the shaved look on a dog.

But, I will shave a dog if the owner wants it and understand exactly what they are asking for.

Okay, back to today.

This little lady came in today.

It was her third or fourth time in.

Each time she has come in the owner has asked to clip her one blade shorter.

The last time that she was clipped, she was clipped with a #7 blade.

Today her owner wanted her shaved like the 'Show Poodles', but without the fancy cut.
"I want her as short as you shave the feet."

Got that?

Do you understand what she is asking for?

That's right.

The owner wanted us to clip her dogs body the same length that we shave the feet.

We shave our Poodle feet with a #40 blade.

So....What would you do?

Would you shave this little Poodle with a #40 blade?

Did we?


I refuse to shave a pets body with a #40 blade.

I am just not going to do it.

I am not going to have that dog go home and run a skinned body on the carpet and get a phone call that we clipper burned the dog.

Of course the same thing could happen with a clip using the #15 blade.

We told the owner that we would clip the body with a #15 blade.
The same blade that we use on the face, just not against the grain.
We also warned the owner that because her dog was a light color with light pigment, there was a chance that the dog could get 'clipper irritation'.
Not clipper 'burn'.
They are two different things.

We warned her not to let the dog rub on the carpet or furniture.

We also decided to shave the body before the bath so that we could let her soak in a medicated bath.

Just in case her skin was very sensitive to being shaved so close.

She is so sweet.

The poor little thing looked so skinned. :(

Jessica did a great job.

Did the owner realize what she was asking for?

Did the owner like the cut?

She loved it!

It was perfect, just what she wanted.

To each their own.

So, would you have shaved her with a #40 blade?

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. What would I do? Exactly what you did. No way do I shave a dog that short, regardless of what the owners wants. Dog first, people second is my rule. I'm sure you were secretly saying to yourself, "I hope she doesn't tell anybody where she got her dog groomed!!" But Jess did a great job, even though I'm sure she was cringing the whole time!! Karen in NJ

  2. Jessica did do a great job!
    No, I definitely would NOT have used a 40 blade either...the thought just turns my stomach.

    I get very few requests for very short trims, except for a bunch of lab shave downs I have turned away this summer (I just can't do it unless the coat has already been ruined by another groomer lol). I have two shih tzu that get a 7 and that is the shortest I have.

    Good job dealing with this situation:)

  3. A #10 is the closest I will clip a dog down on the body, unless it's a show clip on a poodle on small shaved bits. And yes, you should always bathe after if you're clipping that short, it really does soothe any irritation to come.
    Love the sprayer review! One of mine just broke the other day and I was looking to get a new one, I am going to get one of these, they look great!
    Thanks so much for blogging!

  4. No way on the #40 blade. Not just because of potential irritation but I find a #40 over a large area with folds and cowlicks would not produce a reliably smooth finish on most dogs. Early in my career I did a handful of very matted shavedowns with a #40 and they just looked terrible. I have used #15 on dark curly coats with nice results.

  5. Thanks everybody!
    It is so nice to know that I am not the only one thinking this way. :)

  6. heck to the no! i acutally don't go shorter than a #9 or a #7 reverse. I hate shaving with a #10, so I just to a reverse #7. That poo has some spots on her huh!? haha. nice!

  7. Hi Anonymous,
    You're not kidding, she was covered on spots. lol
    Lisa, MFF

  8. I refuse to go in reverse, the only pets I've seen with terrible damage to skin and coat were clipped down with a #7 or shorter against the grain. It damages the hair, it's like shaving on your body, if you go over a very delicate area against the grain you'll get ingrown hairs... the dog gets damage on their hair follicles that can be lasting. The only thing you can ever do against the grain in a jam is the guide comb, for some oddly coated pets like 'Morkies' or any strange Schnauzer mix to where the pet has a mix of soft and wiry hair, somehow the comb just pushes it around unless you go against the grain at least on the body, comb and scissor the legs and head. I love hand scissoring, I wish more people could appreciate what a good bath, blow out, and trim could do for their pets. I have no idea how people's pets get so matted, this summer has been so nuts for out shop that I forgot to wash or brush MY OWN POODLE with a full continental coat... for 2 weeks. She hardly had any tangles and most blew out with the HV dryer, I've been growing out her top knot but she hates for it to be tied up :\

    1. Hi Serena,
      I agree. I have a Cocker that I had been grooming for years. One time the owners went to visit family. One family member was a want-to-be groomer. They let that person groom their Cocker. That person clipped the back with a #7 blade against the grain. That Cocker had two large spots where the coat took 3 years to grow back in right.
      I once bathed and brushed out a Sheltie that had never been groomed. She turned out beautifully. I got a ton of undercoat out. She felt so soft and so good. The owner didn't like the groom. She thought that I took too much hair out of the dogs coat. She thought that he dogs coat was way too thin. She was not mad, but she was not happy. You just can't please everyone. Some people like their dogs coat dirty and thick. :/
      I know what you mean about your own Poodle. There are sometimes that I don't want people to see mine....I am groomer ....they are supposed to be well groomed at all times....right?...they are...when I have time. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  9. We get quite a few 7 shave downs and a handful of 10s. I hate shaving dogs in a 10 unless is a skin issue and they need the hair off them completely.
    I wish we would get more hand scissored clients. 90% of our dogs get a 3-7 shave, its gets really boring.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I know what you mean. I like having a verity of cuts.
      Lisa, MFF

  10. I never go shorter than a 10 on the body with only two exceptions - I have two cockers that insist I do their back with a 30. Every place I've worked has different clientele. My first job, we had a lot of 5, 7, and 10 blade cuts; my second job was more the 5, 4, 3, 5/8 blades, and my current job we rarely do anything shorter than a 1 or 2 comb.

    1. Hi groomgirl82,
      You are right about that. I guess that my shop is one of those shops that get all of the comb and hand scissor cuts.
      The same goes for tipping. I worked at one shop that you never got any tips. The clientele was upper class. Then I worked at a family owned pet shop with middle class clientele. They really tipped great.
      Thirty blade on a Cockers back!...good grief...to each their own. lol

  11. I'm not a grooming expert, so don't have experience with which blade does what. But I LOVE the clip on this dog, it's the same clip I've been getting for my toy poodle for over 6 years now - shave her down as close as you can, leave a top knot and tail with some fluffy ears. I like how delicate it looks, and how easy it is to keep her clean - she rough houses out side with my bigger dogs and can get slobbery and dirty fast.