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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesdays Tip #51 Blending the head....

...on a Mix Breed (Border Collie/Span)


Before I start the Tuesdays Tip, I have to share with you what happened this morning. 
At about 9am this morning I had just finished grooming me first dog and was in the middle of soaping up a 17 year old Maltese that I usually get back out asap.
I had just started rinsing off the first bath when all of the sudden my water pressure dropped to almost nothing.
At first I though that my nozzle was defective. 
Then I told my husband that I didn't have any water and to check and see what was going on.

He happened to look outside and see some county workers working in the manhole outside in the parking lot.

So he went out to see if they had done something.

Meanwhile I wrapped that poor Maltese in a towel to keep her warm.  

The county workers had shut off the water to change the meter.

You have got to be kidding!

No one notified us about this.

My husband came back in and told me that they said it would take an hour and a half to put the new meter in.


I had a dog in my arms that still had shampoo on her.
AND, she was 17 years old!

So, we started warming up water in a tea pot to warm up some bottled water that we had.

I soaped the dog up again with some warm shampoo and was starting to pour the warm gallon of water that we made up over her to rinse her off when one of the county workmen came into the shop.

They needed a special saw and would have to wait half an hour for it to get to the site.
They were going to turn the water back on for half an hour.

We had seven dogs in already, four still needed to be bathed.
We had half an hour before they turned the water off again for who knew how long.   

I had to finish the Maltese, so Jess and my two boys each grabbed a dog and started bathing. 

Jess put the Bichon that she was grooming away and got out my big guy to bathe.

She is the fastest bather so she did the big guy.  

My boys took two of the dogs back to our Self-Serve and washed them.

The saw got there sooner than half an hour.

They turned the water off again.

Luckily it didn't take as long as they said it would to put in the new meter.

We actually managed to stay on time today, even with the interruption. 

Hopefully the county will give some warning the next time.
Hopfully there won't be a next time. :) 

Back to Tuesdays Tip.

Many times we have dogs come in that have long hair on their bodies, but the hair on their heads and face is naturally short.

Some dogs like Shepherd's, or Shepherd mixes have a coat type that changes color when the body is clipped.
I like to blend heads on those types of dogs so that the head keeps its natural color.

Like on this Shepherd that the owner wanted clipped.

I used a longer blade on the head and blended the head into the body to keep the heads pretty color.

On dogs that don't have a lighter undercoat, or are a solid color, you don't have to worry too much about turning another color after being clipped.
I still like to keep the head as natural as possible and blend it to the body.

This dog is being clipped with a #5F blade.

I start clipping the body a little below the back of the head.

I like to clip the body first and then go back to the head.

On this dog I clipped one side of the body and then moved back to the head before I turn him around for the other side.

I start with the top of the head.

I am using a #4F blade to clip the head and blend it into the body.

The hair just behind the eyes and towards the middle of the head is already about a #4F length.

That is where I start clipping with a very light touch. (broken line)

Then I increase my pressure as I move to the back of the head, (solid line) clipping down into the back of the neck.

Light touch to.....

....full pressure.

 I clip in the direction of the hair growth.

Then I move on to the side of the face.

Again starting with a light pressure just behind the eye.

I increase the pressure as I clip towards the cheek and neck.

  Then I clip under the chin, back to the neck.

I usually clip from the third whisker back unless the whole chin is hairy.

I don't usually clip the whiskers on the sides of the muzzle unless the owner asks me to.

I have had customers get upset when those whiskers are cut, so they must request it now. :)

I also clipped the outside of the ears with the #4F blade.

Then I lifted the ear and clipped under it, going in the direction of the hair growth under the ear.

This hair can grow in many different directions.

Then I clean up the inside of the ear leather with the #15 blade.

After the inside of the ear is cleaned up, I scissor under the ear to clean up and blend any stray hairs that the blade missed.

Then I scissor up around the edges of the ears.

The back of the head looks natural and blended with the rest of the body. (other than the collar indent)

He is a big (really big) sweetheart.

 If you are interested, this is the direction that I clipped his body.

Clipping on an angle, and not turning your blade too sharply helps to keep the cut smooth and not put any dig lines into the coat.

I like to blend off at the top of the front leg and scissor the feathering tight.

There may be some lines visible on some coats as you clip.

After I finish clipping, I take my hand and rub over the coat (like I am petting him) and most of the line disappear.

If you still have lines, back brush the coat and go over it again.

I hope that this was helpful to someone. :)

  Happy Grooming, MFF  


  1. Wow! Sounds like everyone pulled together with that crazy water shut off. You would think that if they saw that a business was a groomer or a hairdresser they might think about how that would affect their business! You all deserve a big ol' pat on the back for staying on time!

    1. Thanks Jackie,
      Yes, it was nuts. It was like one of those grooming nightmares that groomers have, only in my dreams, all of the dogs are covered in shampoo when the water goes off. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Excellent job on this article... it must've taken you forever to do with all the pics! But you covered all bases... great resource for any weekend warriors looking to groom their pup! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us!

    1. Thank you Sammy,
      Yes, it did take me twice as long to do the head as usual. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Thank you so much for all your helpful tips!! I am a new groomer, and I have been trying some of the things you've posted with great success so far!

    1. Thanks Michael,
      I am glad that my blog helps. Congratulations on becoming a new groomer. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Try running your furminator tool over the double coat shaves that leave lines, always gets the lines out!

    1. Thank you very much for this tip! I never thought of that. I will have to try it out.
      Thanks again Lisa, MFF

  5. Hi there!

    I've been reading your blog for awhile and I just love it, I am new to the grooming scene with only a couple of months on me, I've been having a hard go with shave down double coated breeds, and making sure the cut is smooth, I try to talk as many people out of clipping their Golden Rets as I can! I really enjoyed reading this and I'm going to try to remember you blending techniques as best I can.
    I will need to try scissoring the feathers close next them instead of clipping them, I find my clipping looks choppy and awkward on the front legs and I have to do a ton of touch ups.
    thanks so much!

    - Jennie

    1. Hi Jennie,
      Congratulations on becoming a groomer!
      The best helper for getting a smooth clip on a double coated breed is clipping the dog after the bath. After the dog is completely dry and combed out. At least that is my opinion. :)
      I never run the clippers down the front legs on a double coated breed. Mainly because I think that the hair on the front of the leg is already short enough. By blending and scissoring the feathering on the back of the front leg, there is less chance of baring the cowlick, and the leg doesn't look too skinny.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. Yes, that was extremely helpful! I actually attempted using the clippers lightly to blend on my spoo this morning, since I remembered you blogging about it. I will keep practicing...thank you so much for your blog.

    1. Hi KidWhisperer,
      I am glad that I could help. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  7. any idea where to go to learn to be a groomer? I'm almost 58 and have wanted to do this for years! I now live in Middle Tenneessee,,,cost as well??

    1. Hi,
      There are a few grooming Schools in Tennessee. I personally do not know anything about them and can not personally recommend them. The best thing to do is check out their websites and go visit them. See what they have to offer you. Here is one that I found.


      Hope that this helps a little.
      Lisa, MFF

  8. Not sure if I would trust someone on anything dog related who can't spell "shepherd"

  9. Hi Lydia,
    Thank you for pointing out my error. I am sorry that you feel a simple spelling error makes a person untrustworthy. My mistake for not catching when spell check replaces with the wrong word. Certainly did not mean to offend. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  10. Do you usually always just blend and trim up the legs when its a long coat or do you ever clip the legs too?