I like to think I have a gift for looking at a dog and seeing its potential for an adorable haircut, so I guess it’s no surprise that personality trims are my absolute favorite. They allow groomers to get creative by bringing in different styles from pure-bred dogs—for example, the Westie head or Bedlington ears.
For this grooming, I’m using my dog Shay. She is a five-year-old Pomeranian mix that I adopted after meeting her in a Rescue Rodeo competition. Shay and I ended up taking first place in the event, winning a 10-day cruise and $1,000, so I figured that the least I could do for this little darling was give her a good home.
Step 1: Bathe
For the sake of saving time, I put Shay right in the tub and wash her in a cleansing shampoo and conditioner.
Step 2: Force Dry
Using the high-velocity dryer, blow the dog out until it is 90 percent dry.
Step 3: Finish Drying
Using a hand dryer and slicker brush, methodically move through the coat, drying and removing any tangles.
Step 4: Trim Nails
Cut and file the nails.
Step 5: Clean Ears
Swab the ears clean.
Step 6: Clip Feet
I like to do all of my clipper work first. Start by shaving the pads of the feet with a #40 blade.
Step 7: Sanitary Trim
Using a #10 blade, shave the sanitary areas.
Step 8: Trim Ears
Shave the top 1/3 or "tips" of the ears with a #30 blade.
Step 9: Trim Eye Corners
Shave the corners of the eyes with a #10 blade or trim them with thinning shears.
Step 10: Clip Body
The length on the body can be adjusted to fit the owner’s needs and desire. For Shay, I choose a #1 snap-on comb. Clip from the shoulder blades down the back and the tail. Continue clipping the entire trunk of the body. Clip from the jaw line down the chest and the belly.
Step 11: Clip Rear Legs
Sticking with the #1 snap-on comb, clip the outside and back of the rear legs.
Step 12: Clip Front Legs
Clip the outside, inside and back of the front legs. When clipping the inside of the leg, be sure to scoop out the armpits.
Step 13: Finish Rear Feet
Scissor the rear feet round while standing on the table. Then pick up the foot, comb all the hair toward the pads, and scissor any hair hanging over.
Step 14: Finish Rear Legs
The length and shape of the rear legs have already been set with the snap-on comb. Comb the hair up and out and scissor the legs following their natural shape.
Step 15: Finish Front Feet & Legs
Scissor the front feet round while standing on the table. Then pick up the foot, comb the hair toward the pads and trim any hairs hanging over. Comb the hair up and out—again, the length has already been set by the snap-on comb—then trim the front legs into columns.
Step 16: Trim Head
I decide on a Westie-type head for Shay. I learned a great trick from Cheryl Purcell to set the Westie head. Take a size-C snap-on comb and, starting at the shoulders, clip against the grain all the way to the visor. Then clip from the outside corner of the eye over the top of the head to the outside corner of the other eye. Then repeat the same method, going across the other way on top of the head.
Step 17: Edge Ears
Edge the tips of the ears, holding them with your thumb to protect them.
Step 18: Trim Visor
Comb the hair over the eyes forward and trim a visor.
Step 19: Finish Head
Comb the hair on top of the head up and hold it between your fingers. This should include all the hair from the outside corner of the eyes, and it may take a few cuts to do so. Trim the hair so that it is no longer than the start of the clipped part of the ear. Trim from the edged part of the ear down into the jaw. Comb the beard down and trim. The round line should flow from the ear around the chin. Finally, comb the sides of the mouth forward and trim the corners off the "mustache."
Professional groomer Anne Francis is a grooming competitor and speaker. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass.
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