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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Full Short Feet

Every once in a while I will get a customer in that wants me to take their dogs feet short, but at the same time they want them fluffy.
Then there is the owner like the one that was in today.
They want the feet short but fluffy, and they do not want the toes, or the toe nails to show.

No problem right?

Of course.....on a dog with perfectly tight toes and very short nails!

So, what do you do with a dog whose nails can't be taken as short as you would like to take them, because of a long quick, and toes that splay apart when the dog is standing on its feet.

 These furry feet belong to a Cavalier Spaniel.

She gets clipped with a #4F all over.

My instructions are to take her nails as short as possible, take her feet short, but leave them fluffy.

Also don't let her toes or toe nails show. 

 First I clipped her nails as close as I could which was not as short as I would have liked them to be.

I start trimming her foot by clipping the hair between the pads first with a #40 blade.

The dogs skin type or coloring will help make my decision on whether or not I will just shave the hair even with the pads, (leaving some hair between the pads) or shave the pads out like a Poodle foot.

Because this dogs pads are mostly pink, I leave a little hair between the pads to protect the sensitive skin.

I am also careful not to clip too much hair off the sides and front of the toes.

Even though I am aiming for a fluffy foot, I like to take the hair at the back of the foot pretty short.

This will not effect keeping the rest of the foot fluffy.

When scissoring feet that have toes that splay when you set the foot back down, I like to put the foot down each time after I cut hair, to make sure that I am not cutting too much.

Now I want to scissor only around the bottom edge of the foot.

Here I have scissored about half way around the foot.

I scissored close to the back pad, close to the side pad, leaving the hair a little longer as I go around the front of the toes.

Remember, be conservative with your first cuts, because you do not want to take off too much hair with the first cut.

 Set the foot down again.

Let the dog put its full weight on the foot so that the toes can splay the way they naturally do.

This way you can eyeball how much more hair you can take off when you pick the foot up again to scissor.

 Scissor under the toes at an angle so that the hair close to the nails will be short, but you are still leaving longer hair on the top of the toes.

Blend the back and sides of the foot into the leg.

Set the foot back down and shape up around the edges while the dog has weight on the foot.

This dogs leg and top of the foot are naturally short haired.

The only hair that I have to work with to keep the feet fluffy, and cover the toes and nails, is the hair that grows out between the toes.

Because of the limited mount of hair, I must be very careful not to scissor too much, which is very easy to do. :/

 Once I have rounded off the foot and shaped the edges, I brush the hair up.

I give the foot a little jiggle to let the hair settle naturally, then I set the foot back down on the table.

 Again I make a mental note of how much hair I want to cut.

I pick up the foot again and scissor just a tiny pit of hair to shape up the hair on the top of the toes.

If I cut too much the toes will show.

They're not the prettiest feet, but they are short and fluffy.

And, the toes and toe nails do not show!

Here are all four of the feet.

Hope this helps someone. :)


  1. Very good fluffy feet, not an easy task with what you had to work with! Every week we are asked to perform little miracles and hope the owners are happy with the end results! Sometimes I use thinning shears for the rounded foot but takes more time.

  2. Hi i posted on one of your posts not long ago asking for some advice but i dont think it sent.
    Anyways I love your blog I am delighted I found it :) its so helpful! I have a few questions for you I hope you dont mind answering them. I am a newbie to grooming and I am thinking of a career in it. I have completed a 1 year course in animal care and we had grooming as a module. It was only once a week for 2 hours and was very basic. Now when we had a matted dog come in we were also thought to shave the dog with a 7 blade then bath. I personally dont like most dogs with that short of a coat so when i came across your blog and the way you bathe and hv dry the dog first i was dying to try it. I dont have a hv dryer yet but I was wondering would it be possible to use a normal hand held dryer to blow the mats out of a dogs coat or would it not be strong enough like a hv dryer to blow them out?
    Another thing is that I find when I have clipped a dogs coat or when im scissoring them you can see every scissor or clipper line. I cant manage to blend them with the rest of the coat just wondering if im doing something wrong or it just comes with more practice
    Any advice I would greatly appreciate it thanks so much :)

    1. Hi,
      OMG, I just hit publish my reply and it totally erased everything that I just wrote.....

      Here I go again....it may not be as long as my original reply...

      Congratulations on becoming a groomer. I am a visual learner and teacher, so it is a little hard to describe something that would be so much easier to just show. Now that I think about it, in stead of rewriting everything I just wrote, I think that I will do a post for you on the scissoring and clipping. I will try to post it tomorrow or some time this week.

      As for the dryer question...You need to invest in a HV dryer as soon as you can. Especially if you are serious about becoming a full time groomer. Not only for being able to help clip matted dogs after the bath, but it will also be a life saver for your hands and wrists. Take it from a groomer who groomed without a HV dryer for about 15 years before I got one. :/

      Thanks for reading my blog.
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Wow, that seems like a rough order! Personally, I like everything on my dog as short as it can be. I don't like shedding, so it's nice to have their hair short and not make such a mess. Thanks for all the pictures, it helps me put an idea of what I want my dog to look like. http://www.animalcarecenters.net/#!grooming/cn51

  4. You are really good at grooming. I had no idea that was how you had to cut the fur on their feet and how to just around them as well. I wish that I would have known this when I use to cut my dog's fur. This would have made doing things easier. I think that I will just continue to get grooming services instead.
    Jak Manson | http://www.wagswashandgroom.ca/grooming_services.html