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, May 28, 2014

So Important....

....Customer Service!

Customer service is so important no matter whether you own your own grooming shop, or just work at one.
Good, and thoughtful customer service helps tremendously to grow your clientele.
Yes, I said "thoughtful".

Today I had an experience with good and bad (well not very good) customer service.

I got a call from my father this morning. (luckily I had taken off today)
He was pulled over on a side road with a flat tire.
Simple enough, right?
Go over change the tire to the spare doughnut tire, drive the car to a tire store, put new tire on, done.
Maybe an hour out of my vacation day.

If only life were that simple.

Oh, he had a spare doughnut tire, and no problem jacking the car up, no problem getting the hubcap off, and the lug nuts were easy enough to loosen, there was just one problem....one of the lug nuts was special.
A special anti-theft lug nut that needed a special lug nut key to remove it.
There was also one other problem...my father had no idea where the lug nut key was.

So, I called the car dealership that my father bought the car from and got his repair work done.
I asked if the lug nut key was hidden in the car somewhere.
The mechanic told me to look in all of the places that I had already looked.
No lug nut key.
The only way to get that flat tire off was to have the car towed to the dealership to have the anti-theft lug nut cut off.


They don't have spare lug nut keys?

Anyway, the dealership gave me the number of a towing company.
I called.
They could come and tow the car to the dealership, but it would be a two and a half to three hour wait.

No problem, my fathers house was just 10 minutes away.
The towing company would call me when the tow driver was 10 minutes away so that I could be back at the car with the keys.
So, we locked up the car with a distress rag hanging out the window and the hazard lights on.

Two and a half hours went by with no call.
Then three hours went by with no call.

Three hours and ten minutes after my first call to the towing company, I called  them again. (Believe me, I was thinking about how my own customers keep calling, checking on their dogs)
I was very nice and asked the same girl that I had talked to three hours earlier if she had any idea how much longer the wait might be.
After all, this was supposed to be a vacation day.
I was told that the tow driver assigned to my fathers car was just picking up another car.
My fathers car was next on the list.
The young lady on the phone told me that it would be another 45 minutes to an hour.

I waited 45 minutes.
Then an hour.
An hour and a half later I called the towing company again.
Again, I very pleasantly inquired as to how much longer the wait was going to be, and if the driver would still be coming, because right at that moment a sever thunder storm had rolled in.

Yes, I truly was being pleasant with the young lady, because I knew that she had no control on how long the driver would be, and I also knew that getting upset with her was not going to get me anywhere.
Sadly, the receptionist was getting annoyed with me.
She told me that the tow driver had just gotten off  I95 and would be to my fathers car in a few minutes.

A few minutes turned into another 45 minutes.

Oh, and as for that 10 minutes heads up phone call that I was supposed to get when the driver was close.
The driver did call me....when he was a mile and a half away.
Luckily I had already gone back to my fathers car an hour earlier.

Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time the tow driver pulled up.
From the moment the tow drivers feet touched the road, he started to apologize for the long wait.
A truly heart felt apology, not a robotic, 'I have to say sorry to these people' type of apology.
I instantly cut him off and told him not to worry about it.
I told him I was sure that, because it was the first day after a Holiday, they were very busy.

As he loaded my fathers car I made small talk with him.
The tow driver, who had been on the job since 5:30am, (it was now 6:45pm)  and still had six more cars to pick up, was on the clock until midnight.
This overworked man still had a good attitude and a smile on his face.
He was very pleasant to talk to.
He had the car loaded on his truck in no time.
Even with all of the pissed off drivers passing us, that were annoyed that they had go up the wrong side of the road to get past him while he worked.

I had left my house at 11am.
My vacation day was shot.
All those hours of sitting around and waiting.
If the young lady from the towing company had been more truthful about the time we had to wait, I could have gotten some other things done instead of staying close by so that I could be back at my fathers car in a  few minutes notice.

Of course I understand that she could not give me an exact time.
Just like grooming dogs, I am sure that a tow driver can run in to different situations that could back him up.
But, I also believe that the receptionist could have given a little more accurate time estimate.  

So, what is the point of this story, and what does it have to do with groomers and customer service?

Two things.

One: As groomers, everyday we have to give estimated times to pet owners as to when their dogs will be finished.
At our shop, we are pretty good about having the dogs finished at the time out we promised.
Unfortunately, there are times that we run behind.
When that happens, we make a point to call the owner well ahead of the time promised out, to let them know that we are running behind, and what the new estimated time out is.
I will even add  10 to15 minutes to the estimated time out just in case the pet owner has a habit of walking in early.

Would it have really been so hard for that young lady from the towing company to give me a call back and let me know that the tow driver was running so far behind.
She did not give me a wrong estimated time of arrival just once, but three times.

If you want to upset a customer, get complaints, and even possibly lose that customer, don't bother to give them a heads up.
Let them walk in at the time you thought and find their dog unfinished.
Let them get upset that they wasted a trip and now have to leave and come back later.
They may just never come back to have you groom their dog again.

It is just common courtesy to call a customer and let them know that you are running behind.
Put yourself in the pet owners shoes.
I understand that not all pet owners will be understanding, but I have found that most of them are very appreciative that we called them.

My second point: The driver.

What a wonderful attitude he had.
He had already been working 13 hours.
He still had around 5 more hours to go.
I am sure that at least one or two other customers had given him a hard time about their waits.
Yet he still had a smile on his face, and his apology to me had been sincere.

I read a lot of stories on  groomers groups.
So many of these stories are filled with groomers talking about nasty encounters with their customers.
Yes, I have had a few nasty encounters with customers over the years, but I can honestly say that it is not a common occurance.
  I could count those encounters on one hand.
I admit, I could have definitely had many more bad encounters with customers who walked in with bad attitudes, but I have always made a point to keep a smile on my face, stay calm, and talk to the customer, not at them.
I like the challenge of turning a grumpy customer into a smiling customer by the time they leave my shop.

A smile truly does get you so much farther in life (and grooming) than a frown and bad attitude, both with the dogs and their owners.

Always shot for excellent customer service and see your business grow!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Simple Trims....

....Not always so simple.

Trimming is another one of those simple grooming requests that can lead to misunderstandings.

When an owner says "trim him up", I want to know exactly what they mean by 'trim', exactly what they want 'trimmed', and exactly how much they want 'trimmed'.

Sometimes a trim has turned into a full blown hair cut.
Other, times a trim means trim only the pads of the feet, or only around the rectum, or only the corner of the eyes and nothing else....even if I see a lot of the things that need trimming to make the dog look nice.

There have been times that an owner has brought in a dog and I take one look at it and know exactly what I want to trim to make that dog look great.
What I want to trim and what the owner wants trimmed may be two very different things.

This sweetie needs a trim.

This owner leaves the trim up to me.
The goal of the trim on this little lady is to neaten up her feathering to keep it from collecting leaves and things when she is outside, and to help keep her looking neat and clean.

Some owners will only want the pads of the feet trimmed, and.....

....that may be all the owner wanted trimmed, because the owner loves the fuzzy, fluffy feet.

It does not matter what we, the groomer, wants.

Now, if those fuzzy feet are full of mats between the toes, the the groomer needs to call the owner and explain how mats between the toes can hurt as the dog walks, and could possibly cause sores.

Even then, I would only cut out the mats saving as much as the hair as possible, because I know that the owner would prefer the feet fluffy.

Other owners may want the feet left full, but still want them shaped up round.

In that case I would only clip out the pads, comb the hair on the top of the feet out and round up the outline of the foot.

The foot is shaped up, but still full and fluffy.

For some owners, trimming the feet means trimming them up nice, tight, and neat looking.

For this I would clip out the pads, shape around the foot and then brush the hair on the top of the foot up....

....give the foot a little shake to let the hair fall naturally and then scissor to shape up the top of the foot.

 This leaves a nice neat, tight foot with the feathering still long.

 A 'trim' may also mean trimming up that long feathering to get it off of the ground, or to make it nice and neat.

Trimming around the rear may mean only trimming around the rectum, and leaving the rear feathering alone.

 Trimming the rear feathering could also mean just scissoring enough hair to shape the feathering and make it look neat.

Or, the owner may want the rear feathering taken very short.

These are questions that need to be asked.

As groomers, we may think that the rear feathering would look nice shortened and shaped up, but the owner may love all of that messy fly away hair.

I scissored up this little ones rear feathering just enough to make it look nice and neat but not too short.

The front leg is the same.

Some owners actually like the hair dragging the floor, so make sure that they want that hair 'trimmed'.

The hair on this little girl was trimmed just enough to get it off of the ground, but the feathering is still long.

She has now been 'trimmed' to look nice and neat.

All of the fly away hair has been 'trimmed' just enough to get the feathering off of the ground.

All of her outline and feathering could be taken shorter and tightened up more if the owner would like.

Every once in awhile I will get a customer that seems to get frustrated at all of my questions.

"I just want the hair trimmed up", the owner will say.
I will smile and say, "Sorry about all the questions, I just have to make sure that I know exactly what you want, because once I cut the hair off I can't put it back on. There are several different ways that I can trim your dog, and I want to make sure that I do exactly what you want."

Most of the time, this small statement will make the owner understand why you are asking so many questions.
Then they are more willing to answer your questions.

Remember, when a customer comes in and asks you to 'trim' their dog....ask questions.
The five or ten minutes you spend at drop off may save a lot of grief at pick up.

No trim is the same, even on the same breed of dog.
Different coat types, and different pet owner preferences.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Just Too Cute!

 I had to share this little one with everyone today.

He is between six months and a year old.

 A Yorkie/Chihuahua mix.

He was petrified when I first took him from his owner.

Isn't that face adorable?

 His owner wanted him short and all of the long stray hairs off.

Especially the hair sticking out around his neck.

I actually like the hair sticking out around his neck, but that is just me.  :)

 The owner wanted everything short.

This little guys hair was so course and strait.

I decided to use a #4F on his body and scissor up his legs nice and tight.

  He looks just as cute clipped and scissored short, but I still liked that circle of hair that was around his neck.

His owner loved the cut and was so happy to his little lions main was gone.

Oh...by the end of the grooming he was happy and giving kisses.

He is a very sweet little guy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Always Learning

I am coming up on an Anniversary this month.
It will be 30 years since I graduated form Grooming School.
I will admit that once I finished grooming school I thought that I had learned all that there was to learn about grooming.
After all I spent a lot of money for the school to teach me everything about grooming.

Boy, did I learn very quickly that I was wrong.
Over the next few years I learned more about how to deal with the customers, how to deal with difficult dogs, how to become very good at de-matting (mainly because I didn't know how to say 'no' when customers asked me not to shave their matted dogs), different ways of drying, clipping, and scissoring.

Then for the next few years I got into a routine of grooming and was then pretty sure that there was not much more to learn.
Thankfully I discovered once again that I was wrong, and this time I learned one more thing....that as long as I was grooming, there would always be new things to learn.
From educational Expos, grooming books, magazines, grooming forums, and fellow groomers.

Over the years I have become very open minded about learning new things about grooming.
New grooming techniques.
New grooming equipment to help make grooming easier.
New shampoos and products.

With all of this said, I had a visitor to my blog leave a comment on a post from 3 years ago.
He/she, in know uncertain terms, wanted to let me know that the information in that particular post was wrong!!

So, what was the post?
The post was about removing ticks.

Now, I can't even begin to count the amount of ticks I have removed off of dogs over the years.
I have always removed ticks the same way, the way I was taught 30 years ago.
With my fingers, or with a pair of tweezers.
If they have a loose hold of the skin, I get my nails as close to the head and mouth and give a quick pull.
If the tick has been feeding for awhile and is pretty strongly attached, I will get the tweezers and again get as close to the head and mouth and give a quick pull.
I have never had a problem removing a tick this way.
What I described above is what I wrote on my post 3 years ago.

I think the best thing to do is share the blog visitors comment before I write more:


If you squeeze ANY SPECIES of tick which has has been attached to ANY ANIMAL OR PERSON, even if only attached for a few HOURS, you have a much greater livelihood of forcing disease-infected germs out into the host animal or person, thereby CAUSING infection, particularly if the tick has only just started attaching its mouth parts to begin the feeding process and has therefore not been attached long enough to have transmitted the germs over a long term feeding. However, even when partially or fully engorged, it is still NEVER recommended that you grasp the body instead of the mouth parts because you're more likely to squeeze the contents of the tick's stomach back into the host, thereby increasing the risk of additional forms of infection and also this "body grasping" approach is more likely to result in breaking off mouth parts, as is the "twisting" method also discussed herein. PLEASE consult other websites for verification of this information and NOT perform tick removal as described within THIS website. And to the owner of this website, PLEASE, correct your very incorrect and dangerous information and correct your removal practices, for everyone's benefit, but especially the poor animals whom you've used your previous methods on! This is incredibly alarming misinformation distribution and will be reported if not corrected. 


I got this comment in an e-mail notification and was not able to respond to it right away.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised at the information in this comment.
I was really surprised at the hostility of the comment.
Anyway, I have to honestly say that I have never heard, been told, or read the information about squeezing a tick.

I called my Vet to verify this information.
Now, my Vet has been practicing for over 40 years, so he must have heard of this also, right?
They had not ever heard anything about squeezing a tick causing the tick to regurgitate back into the dog.

Okay....well, my Vet has been practicing for a long time, maybe this was some new information, like the new beliefs about anal glands, and plucking ears.
Some Vets say yes do ears and glands, some say no don't do ears and glands.

So, as soon as I got access to the internet I started to research removing ticks, and sure enough I found many sites that warned against squeezing ticks while attempting to remove them.
I admit, I was very surprised.
I was mostly surprised that with as much reading as I do, and do a ton of reading, that I had never come across this information before.
Even the Holistic Vet that I follow and really like had a little warning about squeezing ticks.
I also came across some sites that never mentioned any squeezing warning.
Maybe the commenter above has not found and threatened them yet.  :/

Did I change the information on that 3 year old post?
Yes I did.
I have absolutely no desire to give bad or wrong information.
I'll be honest, I am not totally sure that I agree with this information, but I also know that I am very careful when I remove a tick.
I have also always been careful not to squeeze a ticks body for a few reasons.
I main reason is because I am concentrating all my pressure on the head and mouth.
I also have no wish to squeeze a female tick and have her body pop and spew blood all over my hand or me.

As for the 'twisting' a tick to remove it.
I found conflicting information on that.
The Holistic Vet that I follow does believe in the 'twisting' method to help remove a tick.
She believes that 'twisting' the tick as you remove it with a tick removal tool helps to loosen the spikes on the tick mouth.
I have used the 'twisting' method to remove ricks that are really latched on with success.

As for the 'poor' animals that I have removed ticks from all of these years...I can honestly say that I have never had a call back from a customer about any tick that I removed.
I have removed many ticks from my own pets with absolutely no problems.
If I find a questionable tick on the dog, I tape it to an index card, send it home with the owner and tell them to take it to their Vet.
If I find that the area with the tick looks infected, I direct the owner to take their dog to their Vet.
If I can not remove a tick safely, the dog gets sent to the Vet.

Are you wondering if I replied to the commenter?
Yes, I did.
Here is my reply:
Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your information. My blog is written to help groomers learn and share. After almost 30 years of grooming you have taught me something new in your comment. I can honestly say that I had never been told about the possible dangers of squeezing a tick while removing it. I admit that it did make sense once I read your comment.
I was so surprised that I had not heard this before, that I called my Vet today to confirm your comment. I was unable to speak directly to my Vet, but found that the Vet Techs had also not heard this information. So, I did as you suggested and went to the web. I went straight to a Vet's website that I follow and trust the information given. She confirmed the information in your comment about NEVER squeezing a tick.
She is not in agreement with the 'no twisting'. As a matter of fact, she recommended the 'twisting' action to help the spikes of the ticks mouth to bend and release.
I have edited my post. I am very happy to learn. I feel that a person can never stop learning no matter how long they have been doing something.
My posts are only written with good intentions. The information given was given in good faith. The way that I removed ticks is the way that I was taught. (now I know better) I care very much for the furry customers that I groom and would never intentionally do them harm, or intentionally give out misinformation. Some of those 'poor' animals that you mentioned in your comment where my own that I had removed ticks from. I am happy to say that they are just fine.
Again I thank you for opening my eyes to this mistake. I am only sorry that you felt the need to be mean about it and to threaten me.
Lisa, MFF


My reason for writing about the comment left for me on a 3 year old post is this; as groomers we never stop learning.
There is always new information out there.
We need to keep up with that knew information.
Check it out.
Find out if it is good or bad information.
See if it is something that should be shared.

I decided to share.
Just in case I am not the only groomer, or pet owner out there that has never heard, or read this information before.  :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tails, Tails, and More Tails

Before I start this particular blog post I must write a little disclaimer.

I was asked to show the way that I groom tails.
This post is about some of the different ways that I clip or scissor tails.
These tails are on 'Pet grooms', meaning the way some of them are scissored, or clipped would not be considered acceptable in the show ring or competition rings.

As with all of my grooming; I groom for the 'pet' and 'owner request'.
I am not worried about what would be considered correct by another groomer, a  show judge, or a breeder.
I know that this can be a very touchy subject with some groomers who feel that every dog should be groomed to breed and/or show standards.

Sorry.....I groom for the dog and for the owner that is paying me.
If an owner wants the tail left long, or dragging the ground, so be it.
If the owner of a Poodle wants the tail shaved off like a Schaunzer...okay.
If they want that Poodle tail left to grow as long as possible.....okay.
If a Schnauzer owner wants the tail to grow as long as possible, even though the rest of the dog is being clipped in a Schnauzer style.....okay.
After all, it IS their dog not mine.

So, if you are reading this post, looking for the 'correct' ways to clip, trim, or scissor a tail, you better keep searching the web.

Now, on to some tails.....

It took me a few days to get this post together.
I was going to try to take new, recent pictures of tails, (I did get some) but we have been so busy at work that I have not had a chance to take as many pictures as I wanted to.
So, I searched through many, many, many pictures looking for tails that I have groomed in the past.

Let me say first that tails are a lot like ears for me.
I do not trim a tail unless the pet owner has given the okay on it.
I have found that a lot of owners like the tails on their dogs to grow long....very long.
I ask, I make sure that they want their dogs tail trimmed.
Then I find out exactly how much they want off of the tail.
And, where they want the hair off.

~Do they want the tail to just be neatened without taking any length off?
~Do they want just the very end of the tail trimmed, so that the hair does not drag the ground when they hold their tail down, but they still want the rest of the tail long?
~Do they want the tail scissored like a flag, and how much do they want off?
~Do they want the base of the tail trimmed short while keeping the rest of the tail long? (to keep poop from getting caught in the hair)
~Do they want their Poodle to have a traditional Poodle tail?
~Do they want the curl left on the end of their Cockers tail? (have had a few of those)
~Do they want their Westie to have a traditional Westie tail, or a flag tail, or do they just want you to leave it the length it is?
~Do they want most of the tail shaved off with the body blade and just leave a brush on the end? (lions tail)

So many questions for just one little body part. :p

The first pictures I will show examples of what I end up doing to most of my customers dogs that have long tails.

Neatened the Tail:

The tail is one of the last things I groom on a dog.

If the dogs body has been clipped or scissored I will either use my scissors or the blade that I used on the dogs body to skim and blend the base of the tail into the body.

I want it to look as smooth and natural as possible.

You could also use thinners, but I like scissors.

I only take off enough to blend unless the owner wanted more hair off at the base for sanitary reasons.

Next I will hold up the tail and part it down the middle of the top of the tail, letting all of the hair drop down on either side.

This owner only wants this tail neatened without take any length off.

Meaning only scissor the uneven hair to make the tail look neat.


Nice and neat but still long.

I will do the same on all flag tails and then scissor whatever the owner wants off the length....1/2", 1", 2" ect.

The body blade is used all around the base of the tail when the owner wants hair off under the tail, away from the rectum to keep poop from getting caught.

Bushy Tail:

This owner left the length of the tail up to me.

Even when an owner leaves it up to me, I tell them exactly what I plan to do, so that they have an opportunity to say, "no, not that." (and sometimes they do)

I told the owner that I would scissor the tail in proportion with the rest of the cut.

First, I skimmed the base of the tail to help blend it into the body.

Side view.

Top view.

Because this tail has a bushy type of hair, I don't bother to try to part it, but I do brush the hair down on each side.

Then I hold the top of the tail to keep the hair in place while I scissor.

I also like to gently waggle the tail back and forth to help the hair settle naturally before I scissor.

Then I make my first cut to set the length.

Because the hair on the tail is bushy and does not naturally hang straight down, I like to turn the tail towards me, while still holding it, to see if the hair is even on the the other side.

As you can see, the opposite side still needed more scissoring.

After I have the bottom of the tail even, I take my scissors (or thinning shears) and lightly scissor the sides of the tail to give it a softer round shape, and get rid of those bushy, wild stray hairs.

This is what the tail would look like when this Pug/Schnauzer mix lifted his tail over his back.

This is what the tail looks like when he holds it down.

Tight, but not Shaved Tail:

This owner likes the tail short and tight like the body, but does not want the tail shaved.

With this tail, I used the body blade to blend into the body and continue down the top of the tail.

I also use the blade to skim off the sides of the tail a little.

That leaves the bottom of the tail to scissor.
(I personally do not like using a blade on the bottom/underneath the tail)

Again I comb the hair down and hold the top of the tail to scissor.

Then I scissor the bottom of the tail to the length that I want.

I also scissor the sides up to soften and blend.

Turn the dog around, comb the hair down on the sides again and scissor any uneven hair.

Blend and shape the sides.

Lastly,  gently wiggle the tail a little to see if there are any sticky outies.

Trimming the end of the tail:

Sometimes owners only want length off the very end of the tail so that it does not drag the ground, but they want the rest of the tail to stay long.

First, I take hold of the tail and slide my hand down with the tail hair cupped in my hand.

I slide my hand down till only the hair that I want to cut is left showing.

Then I cut off only the hair at the end of the tail.

I like to cut it with just a hint of a curve to it.

Then I let go, shake the tail a little to let the hair settle naturally and neaten up any stray hair.

The rest of the tail hair is still long, but it no longer drags the ground when she holds it down.

You can also use this same technique to scissor a tail that you don't want to drag the ground and want to shorten up at the same time.

Comb out the tail, slide hand down to the tip of the tail and where you want to cut.

(not trying to insult anyone here, but remember to always be aware where the tip if the tail bone ends)

Cut the end of the tail hair.

Next, I part the hair, and brush the sides down to shorten the rest of the tail.

Now the tail is shortened, and also will not drag the ground when held down.

What I call a Tube Tail:

 The owner of this Shepard Mix wanted the tail scissored short and tight but still in proportion with the body.

As with other tails, I part the hair and brush the sides down.


Next I scissor the tail to the length I want it to be.

(I use scissors, but thinners will do the same)

Lastly, I lightly scissor the sides and sharp edges to give a soft round shape to the sides of the tail.

I also round off the very end of the tail.

 Use your comb to lift the hair a little on the sides of the tail to help you see what you want to scissor.

Westie Tail:

I like the carrot shape of the Westie tail.

I am glad when owners like it too and don't want to leave the tail long.

For me, I like to scissor the tail from end to base.

It helps me to better set the shape.

I also do not use a blade on it.

I like to use only scissors to have more control over the shape.

I also like to tease the hair up, gently shake the tail, and then scissor.

This Westie owner likes under the tail base short, short.

I scissor under the base without taking away from the shape of the tail on the top and sides.

Matted Tails:

I have this thing about matted tails.

I hate shaving a tail totally off because of matting.

I can't stand a rats tail.

So, I always try to save something.

 The worst of the matting on this tail was at the base and part of the way down the tail.

I could not get the body blade through, so I used the next blade down and clipped half way down the tail.

Once the worst part of the matting was removed, the rest of the matting was loosened enough to be brushed out easily.

Scissor to shape up.

At least the dog was left with a little bit of tail hair, and not a rats tail.

A Tip for clipping under a Schnauzers Tail:

Many Schnauzers do not like their stub lifted to clip underneath it.

Try putting your arm under the dog, bring your hand around the back of the dog and very slowly lift the tail.

Lifting the tail too fast, or forcefully will cause the dog to lock the tail down to its body.

Lift very slowly and give the dog a chance to relax and understand what you want him/her to do.

Sometimes I will left a little, and if I feel them start to resist, I stop, (still holding the tail) wait to feel them relax the tail muscle, then continue to slowly lift the tail the rest of the way.

Holding the tail up with your arm under their belly helps to keep them from sitting down.
It also helps you to hold their butt still while you clip under the tail.

 When clipping under a Schnauzers tail, I skim with the #10 or #15 blade.

I try not to use any pressure on the sensitive skin under the tail.

I do this even if the owner wants to leave the hair on the Schnauzer tail long.

Poodle Tails:

I am not going to talk about what the 'correct' band width should be on a Poodle tail.
So many 'pet' poodles have had their tails docked to the wrong length.
I decide on the width of the band when I see the tail, and the texture and thickness of the tail hair before I decide what size the band is going to be.

How the Poodle tail is groomed also depends on the owners wishes.

For example, I started out grooming this Poodles tail the 'correct' way.

The owner did not want that.

So, she showed me how far she wanted the tail shaved.

She also wanted the pom pom on the tail to look like a small round ball.

I did exactly what she wanted.

Other poodle owners do not want any pom pom, or shaved band around the base of the tail at all.

This Poodle owner likes the tail the same length as the body.

Those are some of the types of tails that I do.

If I come across any other types of tails, or get different tail requests I will post again with more (de)tails. :)

That was a really bad joke. (shaking head) 
It's late, I need to go to sleep.

I hope this helped. :)