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, August 12, 2014

Tuesdays Tip #61: Before The Furminator

Once upon a time there was no tool called 'The Furminator'.

I was there...in that 'once upon a time'.
I groomed for years without a Furminator.
My bank account wishes that I came up with the idea for the Furminator.
After all, how many times, while using a simple blade to do the same thing that the Furminator does, did I think to myself; "I wish there was an easier way to hold this blade."

That thought had to have crossed my mind at least a few times, especially when my hand would cramp up while using the blade to card on a large job.

I was very excited when The Furminator tool came onto the grooming seen.
I saw the first one used at Groom Expo.
Then I saw what they were charging for it.....:(
I didn't get one the first year they came out.
After all, I could do the same thing holding a simple blade.

I did eventually break down and buy one, mainly for the fact that my hand does not cramp up using it.

I do know that there are groomers out there that refuse to buy The Furminator because they refuse to pay what they feel is too high a price for it.
So I am going to give a tip on what I used to do to card a dog before 'The Furminator' was invented.

First, for anyone who is wondering; what is carding?

Carding a coat is to remove  the undercoat, mainly on short and medium coated dogs.

You can use a simple #10 or #15 blade.

 Hold the blade with the back of the blade facing you.

Place the teeth on the coat at a 45 to 90 degree angle.

I hold it at an angle that is comfortable in my hand.

With a gentle pressure, run the teeth of the blade with the growth of the coat.

 The teeth will run over top of the top coat and pull out the undercoat.

This method also works really great on cats with short to medium length coats.

The dog in this picture is a Beagle.

Running a slicker over this dog gets little to no coat out, where as using the blade to card removes a lot of the shedding coat.

I also like using the carding method on some Spaniels, Goldens and Cockers that have that very soft, fuzzy, ugly hair that grows on some of them.

The Spaniel in this picture has some of that soft fuzzy hair on her legs.

 I could just scissor it tight to the leg, but the fuzzy texture of the hair will still show.

I want it to look more natural and like the rest of her hair.

I take a few gentle swipes over the area with the fuzzy hair.

I use just enough pressure to get all of the way down to the skin, but not scrape the skin.

The teeth of the blade works great to grab that fine fuzzy hair.

Now the fine fuzzy hair is gone and the natural coat lays more nicely.

There are also carding knives available to groomers.
I don't use them, because I have never found any left handed ones.
Plus, those little knives tend to cramp up my hands.
The clipper blade works just fine for me. 

Hope this tip helps.  :)


  1. would this work to get out a middle aged aussie's under coat out? He doesn't shed it like he used to, so he's a major fluff ball. I can work on him for hours with a comb and he's perfectly tangle free, but I just keep getting more and more hair out. It never ends. I spent a decent chunk of money on an undercoat rake (actually, it's a dematting tool, but it looks just like the coat king) and it does NOTHING. I hate it. Not interested in buying a furminator only to not have it work (especially since I already have clipper blades I can test first.)

    1. Hi Nugget,
      Let's put it this way....it doesn't hurt to try. I like trying different tools on different coats. Sometimes they work really great on one coat and don't do a single thing on another coat. Try it, you may be very pleasantly surprised. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  2. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your blog. I ran across it while researching how to remove mats from my cat. Very interesting and informative. Nice job. Mats were eventually removed by my daughter (he is really her cat) with a de-matting tool. She was able to use the tool because she was not afraid as I was. They are all gone which is amazing because I thought he would need to go to the vet and be sedated. He is very very unwilling to be groomed. Thank you so much for your expertise.

  3. Help, help, help - big decision to be made by tomorrow am ( that has nothing to do with Matthew splitters)! I know you like Poodles, I'm also sure I remember some older posts about your owning a Pom/s. I love both breeds and have been looking to rescue one or the other for ages , then what happens, both come along together. I can either go and start the rescue process, for two four year old minature Poodles , or , at a separate rescue home , a 4yr old , female German Spitz. I cannot go and see both , it's either / or and if I hang around they will all be snapped up. It's past my normal bedtime now and I'm still agonising over the choice! Most likely I will have made my choice by the time you see this , but who knows .... Any comments welcomed. I did try posting a link but it wouldn't work - but they are all gorgeous :-)

    Regards Lesley

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Wow, what a choice. I actually like both of those breeds. Personally, if I was able to take on two dogs, I would most likely lean towards the poodles. Not because I have 5 of them myself, but because I know how hard it is to find people who are willing to take both dogs in a rescue situation. I hate to see dogs that have lived together be split up. It would be wonderful for those two dogs to go together to a loving home. That was just my first thought. Knowing me.....I'd want to take all of them. :p The bottom line is, do what you feel in your heart, and is right for you.
      Sorry, guess I really wasn't any help. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Thanks for this. I saw my comment about this had been published from another of your entries and then you made a separate blog entry for it! Anyways I tried this the other day on a lab whose undercoat was just stuck in there and the #15 blade used this way worked great!

  5. Looks great! I still prefer carding over furminator.

  6. Can you do a blog on how to properly use the furminator? I have shepards and labs that come in looking like they have a skin or fur problem because the owners have used this tool the wrong way. They take off the coarse outer coat and leave the soft undercoat. Then they don't understand why their dogs are shedding excessively and look like they have mange. I don't use one so I can't show them the right way to do it. Thanks