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, August 24, 2012

What Would You Do? A Cockapoo

I had another new customer in yesterday.

I did not have to do a lot of guessing as to the kind of cut that this owner wanted.
I could see the pattern on the dog very clearly.
The owner was also very specific about how she wanted the dog clipped.

So what is the question?
Why am I asking; What would you do?

Because, I broke one of my own rules.

I took one look at this dog in the lobby and listened to the owners instructions, and was sure that I knew exactly what this customer wanted.

The pattern looked so obvious.

This is the dog after the bath and blow dry.
In this picture, I have not done any clipping on the dog yet.

So what was rule did I break?

I didn't look closely at the dog.
I didn't check the entire dog out closely. 
I didn't ask enough questions.
I saw the Lamb pattern, but I didn't pay attention to how the pattern was placed on the dog.

 The owner wanted the body very short.
That was a given, because the dogs body was still short from his last groom.

The thing that I didn't pay attention to was, how far the pattern was taken down on the legs.

The owner wanted the legs left full.

I don't take my Lamb patterns this low on the leg.

I also like to blend the legs into the body.

I hate the sharp cut off.


 Also, the back leg had been taken way lower than I normally take the Lamb pattern.

Again, the back leg was also not blended into the body.

Once I clipped the body short, I stood back and looked at the legs.

There wasn't any question in my mind that I wanted to fix these legs and blend them into the body, still keeping the legs full.

 I actually started scissoring and blending when it suddenly struck me....

What if the owner likes the blunt cut on the legs?

Why didn't I look closer at the dog while the owner was still in my lobby, so that I could ask her and show her what I was talking about?

I was sure that if I tried to call the owner to ask about the legs, she most likely wouldn't understand what in the world I was talking about.

So, what would you have done?

What did I do?

I had already started to blend the leg when it had hit me that the owner might like the blunt cut, so I continued to blend the leg the best that I could.

The body was still short like the owner wanted.
The legs were still full like the owner wanted.

The only thing different was that I blended the leg into the body.

I thought that it looked so much better than the blunt cut.

The owner also wanted the ears clipped and the top of the head full and round.

This is what I did with the head.

I wasn't totally sure about the ears.

I know that the owner said that she wanted the ears clipped.

They were clipped too low for Cocker ears.

The ears looked more like tassels.

So, I followed the pattern on the ear.

It is hard to see in this picture, but I did leave some hair to try to even out the line above the long hair.

Then there was the tail.

I had really failed on my check-in of this dog.

I had not asked about the tail either.

It looked like a Poodle tail, but it had obviously not been shaped.

What to do?

I had my husband call the owner for this one.

I was not going to scissor that tail into a nice round pom-pom without the owner telling me so.

Tails and ears.

I have found that these two body parts can be something that owners are very picky about.

I wasn't that worried blending the legs, but my little voice was screaming at me about the tail.

Lets just say... I am glad that I called.

I was to only neaten the tail.

So, would you have gone ahead and blended the legs, because that is the way that you do a Lamb cut? 

I figured that they came to me.
They did not go back to whoever groomed the dog before.
I would groom that dog the way that I groom.
I was still following all of the owners instructions.

 Sorry that some of the picture are blurred.
This guy was really good, but he could not be still to save his life. :)

I think that his groom turned out nice.

I don't know if they liked the clip.

The husband picked up.

I guess we will see if they call for another appointment.

All you can do is do your best.

Oh, and make sure that you look over the dog really well at check-in.

AND, ask questions, even if you think you already know what the owner wants.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. This post brings back memories for me.

    The girl I replaced at my current job did blunt patterns on ALL her Cocker requests, which posed some interesting situations when I started grooming them.

    The first one I did about a week after I first started. He had pretty full legs, but the skirt was still growing in from being shaved in the past.

    She wanted to keep his legs full, so I looked at the blunt line, decided it was a good thing the previous groomer had been fired, and blended the entire pattern.

    I only neatened the legs, I didn't take any real length off.

    When she came back, she was HORRIFIED! Luckily for me, the girls up front knew the dog and the customer, so when she screamed "I wanted his legs full!" they could reply "I think she did leave them full, she just blended his skirt."

    Long story short, she did come back, but I have to blunt his pattern. I'm so used to blending that even after more than a year, I still find it difficult to intentionally blunt a pattern.

    Cocker number 2 had a really funky lamb cut just like yours, low and blunt. I don't really know how to do that, so I sort of raised the pattern on the legs and blended the whole thing as much as possible.

    In this case, the owner LOVED the blended look.

    I still do both dogs about once a month.

    So I guess your odds are 50/50.


    1. LOL Jennifer,
      I was waiting for that phone call! In my mind I was fixing that dogs pattern and making it look nicer, but as you found out, some owners really DO like that look.:p Thankfully, I have found that most owners like it when I fix a pattern, or make a cut look more balanced.
      It is so hard to take over after another groomer...even if you are better than they were. So many people don't like change, and even when your grooms look better, they are still used to the other way that their dog was being groomed. People can drive you crazy.
      I so understand how difficult it is to purposely do the cut wrong. Sometimes I feel like my brain and my hands are at war with each other. My brain knows that the owners wants the cut one way, but my hands want to fix it. :)
      I am glad that that customer stayed with you.
      Lisa, MFF

  2. That blunt line cut is terrible, and I'm seeing more and more of it these days coming into my shop. I prefer the blended, natural look that you have achieved on this dog. I have always felt that the styles we provide as groomers should look as natural as possible, so I try my best every day to make each dog I do look as "unscissored" as possible. I also hate the blunt cut on leg feathering. Instead, I shorten the feathers with a thinning shear so that it still looks natural, only shorter. I blame the big stores like PetSmart, etc, who's main focus is quantity, not quality. Blunt cutting is faster, i.e. they can do more dogs in a day than we can. It's all about the money I suppose. I do so much corrective work in my shop, that I am now starting to charge for it. It takes a lot of time to raise a shave line and blend it properly. I'ts about time I'm paid properly for it, albeit, it only took my 22 years to realize this! Good job on this dog. Karen in NJ

    1. Hi Karen,
      I am with you. I love the natural look. I will admit that I am not a big thinning shear person. Maybe it is because thinning shears were never even talked about when I went to grooming school. I do use them, but most of what I do with them is self taught, or things I have picked up from watching grooming competitions. :/ I give you all of the credit in the world for spending the extra time using thinning shears. :)
      Lisa, MFF