Today I had a Toy Poodle in that I have been grooming for a few years.
She is very sweet and shy.
Her owner is a sweet elderly lady who has been sick lately.
My husband picks up the Poodle and another dog that also lives at the same Assisted Living home.
Today when my husband picked the dogs up, the owner with the with the Maltese mix was reminding my husband that she likes the face very short.
"Yes, take her face short too," the woman with the Toy Poodle interrupted. "It was left too hairy the last time."
The only thing was, this woman was not the owner of the Poodle.
My husband had never seen her before.
When my husband got back with the dogs, he relayed the instructions to me.
"Well, I won't be taking the Poodles face any shorter than I already do," I told my husband.
"She said she wanted it shorter," he told me. "She said that it was too furry last time."
"She who?" I asked. "She wasn't the owner, right? The owner has always been happy with the face."
"I will not take that Poodles face any shorter," I told my husband. "If I take that dogs face any shorter we will be getting a call back about the dog having clipper irritation."
This Toy Poodle gets a clean shaven face.
I made the decision when I first started grooming her to clip her face with the combination of a #10 blade with the grain, and a #7F blade against the grain.
Because I know that this Poodles skin could not take being shaved too close.
I lost a very good customer awhile back, because I continued to shave her face against the grain (for the owner) even though I knew that she had gotten too old, and her skin was changing and getting thinner.
Every time I clipped her face I worried that her face would become irritated even though it had never happened before.
Finally, after a regular grooming, it happened.
After all of those years of grooming, those owners never came back.
They never returned my phone calls.
They thought that I hurt their dog.
All those years of good care and service meant nothing.
I can't tell you how hurt I was and how it still bothers me to this day, eight years later.
Pathetic, I know.
My own white Standard can no longer handle having her face shaved against the grain.
I love her face shaved against the grain.
Almost every time I do shave it against the grain lately, no matter how careful I am, no matter how long I let her face soak in Medicated shampoo, she gets irritation somewhere on her face.
So, what would you do?
Shave it shorter anyway, because that is what you were told to do?
Or stick to your guns because you know what would happen?
What did I do?
I think that you probably know.
For one thing it wasn't the owner telling me what to do.
For another thing I will not do something to a dog that, I even slightly, think will hurt it.
Under her eyes gets scooped out, lightly, with the #10 blade against the grain.
The nose and muzzle get shaved with the # 10 blade, with the grain, and a light touch.
The neck and cheeks get clipped with the #7F blade against the grain.
See how pink she is?
I think that her face is more than short enough.
It is obviously not a nice smooth clean face that we like to do on Poodles, but it is good enough.
So far she has not had any problems with clipper irritation.
I am going to try to keep it that way.
Whenever you are standing there wondering what to do.
Do what is best for the dog.
You can always explain your decision to the owner.
Most owners understand when they realize that you only have the best interest of their pet in mind. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF