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, August 29, 2012

Tuesdays Tip..Scissoring Pom-Poms on a Poodle

Yes, I know that it is not Tuesday.
This post was for yesterday, but a new patch came out for WOW yesterday.

What is WOW?
World of  Warcraft for those who don't play.

I share the internet with my sons.
There was no way that my DSL was going to handle my son downloading a patch for his game and me uploading pictures and video to Youtube.
So, I turned off my internet and hope that the patch wouldn't take too long.

It took all night. :(

So here I am posting Tuesdays tip on Wednesday. :)

Actually this post is about scissoring Pom-Poms on a Poodle with a little tip mixed in.

Let me start out by saying that I hate this clip.

The Bikini Clip.
The Town & Country Clip.
The Summer Clip.
The Pom-Pom clip.

Take your pick.
I have heard so many names for this clip.
There are most like more that i haven't named here.

I am not sure why I don't like this clip.
I really don't get that many requests for it.

Maybe one of the reasons I don't like this clip goes way back to when I first started grooming.
I had only been grooming for a little over a year, and I just got a job at a pet shop.
I was grooming all by myself.
One day I had a woman come in with four miniature Poodles.
She wanted the Summer cut.
That is what this cut was called when I went to grooming school.


This owner wanted pom-poms on all four of the Poodles.
Do the math...four pom-poms on all four dogs...16 pom-poms.
Then add on the topknots and the tails.
24 pom-poms in one day!!

I had only done this cut one time in grooming school, and that was for a test.
I had gotten a pretty good score, but I remember really struggling to get those darn pom-poms round.

Did I mention that I had only been grooming a little over a year at the time?

I wanted to cry.
Who knows, maybe I did.

I remember having at least one dog a week overwhelm me back then.
Of course it also meant that I was clipping 16 poodle feet too.
I used to do my poodle feet with a #10 blade back then...they took me forever.

The worst part about it was, that I let the owner talk me into giving her a price break because she was bring me four dogs.
I was so naive back then.

One of the other reasons that I hate this cut.

The owners that seem to want this cut almost always have Poodles with no legs....and they want the body clipped with a longer blade.

So, there are a couple of tricks or tips that I do to help get a nice pom-pom.

This Poodle gets a #4F on the body.

First Tip: I use a blade length shorter on the legs to help make the pom-pom stand out.
I used a #5F on the legs.

 I also like to wrap my fingers around the top of the pom-pom so that I don't accidentally clip the top of the pom-pom too low.

This also helps for the dogs that like to suddenly yank their legs upward, causing the blade to cut into the pom-pom before you can pull the clipper away.

Been there..done that. :/

The top of the pom-pom, on the back leg, starts right above the hock.

 The way that I set the pom-pom on the front leg is a little harder to explain.

If the pom-pom is not there and you are setting the pattern for the first time, I take hold of the front leg.

First, I place my thumb over the dogs knee.
Then I gently bend the knee and my thumb.
Make sure that the bend in the knee and the bend in in your thumb are line up together.
Then I clip the leg down to just above the tip of my thumb.

Did that make any sense at all?

Hopefully the picture helps. :)

I have always set my pom-poms this way.
It has always worked for me.
Every once in a while I will lower the top of the pom-pom a little more to balance them if needed. 

 Tip #2:  I also clip the feet higher than normal.

I feel that it helps me get a nice clean line on the bottom of the pom-pom.

It also helps with this dog, her feet are clipped with a #15 because of her sensitive skin.

Next, I comb all of the hair straight down, towards the foot.

Then, I start scissoring by going straight across the bottom of the pom-pom.

I scissor all around the bottom of the pom-pom to expose the foot.

I do not cut into the rest of the pom-pom yet.

I use my scissors to push up the hair to check and see if I have gotten all of the stray hairs around the top of the foot.

Then I comb the hair up towards the leg.

Now I scissor straight across the top of the pom-pom to clean up the line between the leg and pom-pom.

I am still not cutting into the pom-pom yet.

After scissoring up the top line of the pom-pom, I comb the hair up and out.

Then I  shake the leg a little bit to let the hair fall naturally.

 Now I go back to the bottom of the pom-pom and start to scissor from the bottom up.

I start back down at the bottom and curve my way out and up to shape the round pom-pom.

I used straight shears while scissoring this pom-pom.

In the video that I uploaded to Youtube, I used curve shears on the front leg.

If you have  hard time getting the round look, curved shears can help.

Comb the pom-pom often to check the shape that you are trying to achieve.

Work your way around the leg.

I like to scissor small amounts of hair at a time so that I don't accidentally cut a hole into the pom-pom.

The finished pom-pom from the front.

From the back.

I made a video of me scissoring the front leg pom-pom.

Here is the link:

Well there she is.

She is such a sweet heart.

Her owner loves her pom-poms.

I hate to admit it, but the pom-poms really fit this little Poodles personality. :)

I hope that this post helps all of the other groomers out there that hate this clip too.

Oh...it's just me?

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Oooo, they are so perfectly round, I am jealous! I would love to have a chance to get more practice on pom-poms. I have only one poodle with pom-poms and he comes (gasp!) every 4 months, matted to the skin, so it is 7 all over, save whatever you can of topknot and ears and pom-poms! I did small "cuffs" last time (in March), this time I was able to leave nice, big puffy pom-poms but I think I will regret it 4 months from now...

    1. Hi tvergirl2001,
      Why is it that the owners who want the special cuts only bring their dogs in every 4 to 6 months? You have to take the style short one time and then the next time you can leave it full, and like you said, you end up regretting it the next time the dog comes in overgrown again. :/
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Imagine doing this on a "teacup" poodle (I won't elaborate on how much I despise what has happened to the size of these poor little things, and you can include the yorkies in this as well). I have a 2 pound "teacup" that the owner requests this summer clip on, and it is soooo difficult to do. His coat is very straight, not tight and easy to scissor, and he is so skinny and frail, I hold my breath every time I do this dog. He is 9 years old now, and so far, no problems, but still, it's a risk every time. His feet are so tiny that it literally takes me half an hour to shave them because I have to go so slow. Your poms look very nice, but I know how difficult it is to do four of them in one day. By the time your done, you're "white blind", a term I use for scissoring an all white dog when you have to really concentrate. Nice job!! Karen in NJ

    1. Hi Karen,
      I bet that little 'teacup' also has skin as thin as tissue paper, and ribs sticking out of that paper thin skin. :p There is also nothing like shaving teeny, tiny feet that you feel like you could cut off a toe if they moved the wrong way.
      I once had a lady call for an appointment for a 'teacup' Poodle. First she asked for a price on a toy Poodle then she wanted us to lower the price because her 'teacup' was smaller than a toy. I told her that her dog would cost more because the smaller the dog, the harder it was to work on, and the more careful you had to be. She got mad and hung up. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Thank you so much! I have three Standard Poodle requests that get pom feet, and while my technique has definitely improved, I still don't think they look that great. This helps a lot! By the way, I hate them too!

  4. Hi Jennifer,
    I am so glad that this post helps.
    Lisa, MFF

  5. Thank you very much!!! I'll be very helpful i have never done this clip but I'm already hating it I dont seem to get very round the tail pom so I guess that poms on feet should be a nightmare :/ thank you I'll save this post!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Glad I could help. Actually, you may find it much easier to get nice pom-poms on the legs. Tails are a pain in the bu** to get a nice round pom-pom, because they are either docked too long, too short, or the hair is so thin on the tail you cant get a nice round pom-pom.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. OMG I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! i have spent the past 2 hrs reading it!! this helps me a lot with my pom poms even know i really dont get too many. I actually came across your blog doing research on cording a poodle... I was wondering if you have had any experience with cording and if maybe you could give me some pointers. Or if there is a product out there that "helps". I have a client who wants to give it a whirl. I just put her in a Continental clip cant wait to start the cords!!

    1. Wow Crystal,
      Thank you! I am glad that you like my blog. Sorry, I have never dealt with a corded coat. I am personally not crazy about them. To me it is just controlled matting, although I have seen some really beautifully corded St. Poodles.
      I just can't get past how weighed down it makes the dog look. I can also only imagine the work that goes into cording a coat correctly. I saw a Pulli once that the owner said was cored. I am sorry, all that dog had on it were large, flat hanging dreadlocks. Boy did he stink too.
      If you learn to cord, more power to you. I have no idea what I would charge an owner to cord their dogs coat. To me that dog would have to be brought in weekly so that you could control the cords before they got too matted. Or, you have to also train the owner to keep the cords separated as they grow out.
      Once again I know nothing about cording. What I have written just seems to be common sense to me. :)

      Here are a couple of websites that I found about corded poodles. This one has beautiful pictures of corded poodles, but does not really explain how to do it.


      This website talks about how to cord but for some reason the pictures are not coming up for me. Maybe they will for you.


      I hope that these help. Thanks again for reading my blog! :)
      Lisa, MFF

  7. like others, i found your blog when researching poms on poodles. i have a client with a beautiful St Poodle and he request poms (although i call them leg warmers since they are so long). it's a typical Miami trim. i've found some video and those along with your blog have been very helpful. i just keep telling myself be patience and with every groom i will get better. like you, i had only done this for my "test" until this client showed up. today was my 2nd groom on his St Poodle and i felt a little better with the poms. no perfect, but getting there! looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. Hang in there Cookie!
      It does get easier, well at least most of it gets better. lol There will always be a day here and there where you want to pull your hair out. The customer brought the Poodle back for a second groom, so he must like the job that you did. Take encouragement from that! We are our own worst critics.
      Thanks for reading my blog. :)
      Lisa, MFF