This little girl usually gets all of her feathering shortened.
Today her Mom came in and asked for her to be cut short, 'but don't shave her.'
To me, this means cutting into her coat more.
A hand scissor puppy cut.
After she is bathed and blow dried, I start by combing all of her hair up, against the grain.
She has a nice plush coat under all of the fly away feathering.
That is what I want to scissor to.
I always tell any groomer that I have taught, to take the hair off in layers.
Meaning, take a little off at a time, slowly working your way tighter into the coat.
With time you will be able to eyeball exactly how much you want to take off.
No matter how long you have been grooming, I feel the first few cuts should be on the lighter side so that you can make sure what the coat will look like.
Like a lot of dogs with this type of coat, she has that strip of hair down her spine that is straighter and courser then the rest of her hair.
This hair usually is not plushy underneath, and lays flat to the body.
I like to use my comb to hold this hair up and scissor it.
Scissor the hair in the direction that it grows so that it will layer.
Continue scissoring the side working your way to the front.
As I get to the neck and ears, I pick up the ear and comb all of the hair out, to the side.
The owner wants the ears short.
If the owner had wanted the ears left long, I would have collected the hair I wanted to save, hold it up, over the head and continue scissoring the neck.
I follow the curve of the ear and neck and scissor tight.
This is a picture of the dogs rear.
Like you couldn't tell. :)
One side is the way the dog used to get trimmed.
The other side is scissored up tight.
For me, the best way to get a smooth, layered cut on a straight haired dog, is to always scissor in the direction the dogs hair grows.
Even when you comb it up, against the grain.
Remember to comb, comb, comb.
Comb, scissor, comb, scissor...
Yesterday I was in Petsmart.
While my daughter was making some new dog tags for her dogs, I was watching the grooming.
(The tag machine was right in front of the grooming window. :)
I was watching a groomer clip a little cock-a-poo.
She was using a 5/8 blade on her clipper.
The dog had clearly not been fluffed up.
It also had not been brushed through thoroughly before the groomer started to clip.
She was constantly stopping because the blade was getting jammed in small knots.
I watched her groom one side of the dog.
She only picked up her comb once, and that was to comb the ear.
I wanted so bad to go in and show her what a difference it would make to fluff the dog and use a comb to completely remove all of the little knots before clipping.
And, most importantly, use that comb while scissoring!
I didn't go in.
I didn't offer any advise.
Been there, done that, it didn't go over well.
I have learned that no matter how nice you try to be, if someone doesn't want the advice, they don't want it.
My daughter dragged me out, and told me to stop talking about it. :-/
Back to the Chihuahua.
Last but not least, scissor the chest and blend the head and ears.
This part can be tricky.
I have found that if I lift the head up and back to far, when she puts her head down the neck can look a little choppy.
So I lift the head to blend the head to the chest, and then let the head drop a little to finish shaping the chest.
I am almost never happy with the scissor work on the chest.
I seem to go back to it over and over.
This is a top view.
Because the hair on the back of dogs with this type of coat usually lays very flat, I do not cut into the top part of the coat very much.
I lightly scissor the top of the coat and blend into the sides.
This is the trim she usually gets.
This is what I did today.
Can you spell o-f-f-e-n-d-e-d?
That is the way this little girl looked almost every time I took her picture.
She is one of those Chihuahua's who's growl is bigger than her bite.
She is very sweet if she likes you, but she is easily offended. :-)
Remember, use that comb! :-)
Happy Grooming, MFF