Better than being attacked by a Flowbee

September 28, 2008 at 4:41 pm (Dog Update)

I needed to groom Lola this weekend and I was determined to do it myself.  You see, she really needs to be trimmed about every 8 weeks, and I’m trying to time it so that when she’s in the kennel in December, she has a healthy amount of fur on her.  And as we’ve learned, around here they insist on clipping her all the way to skin and that’s just ugly.  So my goal is to do a trim myself as needed so I can 1.) keep her from getting matted so that when I 2.) bring her to the groomer later this fall, they won’t have to shave her.

I turned to Google for grooming tips.  Honestly, you really can learn anything from Google.   I searched on “how to trim a poodle with a teddy bear cut” and I found a great U-Tube video of a groomer doing the cut I wanted on a bichon/poodle mix!   She went through the entire process and when it was over, I realized it’s JUST like doing a sheep.  Same pattern and same approach, you just leave an even amount of fur all around.  And she had these really nifty scissors.  She called them shears, but really they’re scissors.  She had two pairs, a straight pair and one with a slight curve in the blade to do the sides of the body better.

On Saturday I found a Sally’s Beauty Supply store and got a pair of cheap shears. I got the longest they had, only 6.5 inches and I would have preferred some like the video lady had, between 7-10 inches.  But I figured I needed to try this once to see if I even could do it.  On Sunday afternoon, I set up my station in the laundry room.  Lola’s such a pro.  I set her on the dryer and brushed her out, then put her in the tub and washed her, then dried her.  Spice kept vigil the whole time.  She seemed really concerned, but Lola was perfectly behaved.  Except for the very beginning when Tom had to hold her down so I could trim her toes and shave her belly and pads.  But that’s to be expected with her.

Since no one responded to my email about a suitable substitute for a cattle blower, I tried using a leaf blower. Don’t laugh!  The leaf blower had potential but the battery pack was running low so I switched to the hair dryer.  The new one that Andrea go me has a very good cold setting and a nice focused stream of air, so while it wasn’t quite as powerful as a blower and didn’t get the hair perfectly straight, it was very fluffy and pretty darn straight.

I could see where having the longer scissors would be useful.  Because the blades are so short, my hand is that much closer to the body and my thumb kept getting in the way.  And the fur is very, very soft and fine, so it’s not like doing a sheep – you can’t lay the blade on the surface and move along.  Instead, the blade sinks into the fluff and it creates a “chop” effect.  But eventually, it started all coming back to me and I got smoother.  The chest and butt went well but I had to do the face twice – the first time I left too much beard.

In the end, it wasn’t too bad.  Not great, but I’m lucky in that Lola has a very forgiving fur type. Right now, when it’s smooth and clean you can see the imperfections, but I know that her fur will quickly start to crimp up and then the divets won’t be noticeable at all.  And while it doesn’t look great, it does look 10 times better than NO FUR AT ALL.

From the side, I don’t think the divets are that noticeable.  Do you?  (Remember, she had dark skin, so even a small divet will look worse because you’ll see the dark skin that much more).

Ok, it’s not great.  But really, this wasn’t bad at all for my very first attempt at clipping a dog.  Maybe I’ll use the old sheep trick and put a spray in the clean fur to help it be a little stiffer.  That would help a ton!

Every time Lola gets groomed, Spice thinks it’s a new dog and has to smell her butt.  As you can imagine, this gets very old for Lola.

Overall, this was very successful and much easier than I had imagined.  A big help is that Lola is so cooperative and well behaved.  I know!  Lola!  Who would have thought?  I’m half convinced that Diane must have used the tired and true teaching method when she groomed Lola – Brute Force – but I’m okay with that.  Right now, I think I’m going to continue to do this myself and stop taking her to the groomer.  With a little more practice, I’ll have it down pat.  I’m sure I can find a few videos on Google about trimming her ears so they look less puffy.  But hey, I got the ears EVEN, which is more than I can say for the last groomer.

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