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.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Makeover...2 Shih-tzus

This Monday's Makeover will be on two Shih-tzu's.

They live together, but they are not litter mates.
They each have different coats, but the owners wants the same cut on each dog.

This guy has a nice coat but it is full of wavy cowlicks.


This little guy has straighter hair that is thinner.

The owner likes their hair cut to be short, but not too short, and does not want their legs to look like toothpicks.

The owner also likes both of their face short and tight.

I don't think that I need to say that the owner also likes the ears and tails left very long.

Even though these two Shih-tzu's get basically the same cut, I do clip them a little differently.

 First, they each get a good bath and blow dry.

They were both bathed with DoubleK® Desert Almond Shampoo and Cure Care Hypo conditioner.

The bath is followed up with a Baking Soda rinse.

 All bathed and blow dried and ready to be clipped.

I start by clipping the body with a #4F blade.

 The yellow lines show the direction that I clip the body with the #4F blade.

I clip to the top of the dogs hip and lift the blade off.

I don't use the #4F to blend the leg on this dog because of the cowlicks in his hair.

I don't want to hit a cowlick and put a hole in the hair that I would have to repair.

The creme colored Shih-tzu has straighter, thinner hair.

So, I run the #4F blade down his hip to mid thigh, and clip the bottom part of the back leg with the #3F blade.

The yellow lines show the direction that I take the #4F blade and how far I go down the back leg.

The --- lines are showing where I start to skim the leg to blend.

The bottom of this leg has been clipped with a #3F blade and scissored to finish.

 Back to the other Shih-tzu.

This picture shows the direction that I clipped the body with the #4F blade.

On both dogs, I clipped to just above the dogs elbow, and blended on the front legs.

 On this Shih-tzu I use a clip comb attachment on the legs.

The #3F  blade would take off more hair than I want, and would be more likely to bare cowlicks.

A clip comb leaves a little more hair than I want, but I have more control scissoring up the leg to avoid baring any cowlicks.

This comb attachment (brown Wahl 13mm) is not much longer than the #3F.

 The legs are just slightly longer than the body so that they are short, but will not look like toothpicks.

On to the head....

As you can see, the owner has done some cutting of her own.

I must now match the top of his head with what the owner cut.

Unlike the body hair, the hair on the top of the head is very straight.

I use a #5F blade, careful to clip only with the growth of the hair, and try to blend in with what the owner cut.

 The #5F did not take the top of the head short enough to match what the owner did, but I do not want to use a #7F blade on this head.

I am afraid that the #7F will take it too short.

So, I will finish the top of the head with scissors to get everything even.

I'll get back to the top of the head in a few minutes. :)

Next, I clip out the corner of the eyes.

As I said, the owner likes around and above the eyes very short, so I use a #15 blade to skim out the eyes.

By skimming, I mean that I do not use full pressure when clipping around the eyes.

I skim down the side of the cheeks and face with a #4F blade, going in the direction of the hair growth.

Then I follow up with scissors.

Scissoring the hair nice and tight around the mouth without making it look shaved.

 A before and after of the face. :)

There we are...back to the top of the head.

I scissored it up to match the owners hair cut. :)

I think that he is happy...what do you think?

Looks like a big smile to me. lol

The belly's were clipped with a #15 blade.

I like to clip high, above the penis on male dogs so that they will not pee on themselves when going to the bathroom.

I tell the owners that I am going to do this when they drop their dog off.

So far I have not had any owners of male dogs tell me not to do this.

Most of them love the idea of keeping the dog from peeing on itself. :)

Another little thing that I do to help with sanitary issues is to scissor some hair about an inch to an inch and a half up, under the tail from the rectum, to keep poop from getting caught in the long hair of the tail.

This does not always keep poop from getting in the tail hair, but it does help a little.

Especially on those dogs whose owners like to keep the tails very long.

Here is what I did on the first Shih-tzu. 

Last but not least, the second Shih-tzu.

Okay, I think that I covered everything.

Oh, I call this cut a 'Short Lamb Cut'.

I hope that this helps someone. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Those faces are to die for! Beautiful work!

  2. I am learning how to groom my standard poodle puppy, and your blog is so helpful to me!

    1. Hi KidWhisperer,
      I am glad that I could help. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Loved them heavenly grooming! lines very helpful! can you do more video clips also? and love the lines drawn. i also have a question i dont know where to post requests hope ok i wrote here. always you post great and i look forward to reading daily. but i have a request to know how long should each groom and steps of grooming should take on average to be acceptable because i dont know if im taking too long. customers always want things faster but not sure if they should be. like i mean the bath should take how long the hair cut etc. when a customer asks how long i dont know what it should be .i never have any idea how long its going to take seems should be an hour but takes 4 hours and then it seems like will be 4 hours and done in hour any help with that you can post?

    1. Hi Shelly,
      I have to think over your question and post an answer for you soon. This is a question that a lot of groomers have. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Beautiful work! You do alot of the same sanitary stuff I do ! 2 questions and forgive me if I missed reading this somewhere already,what's with the baking soda rinse,as in,what's your process for it and why ? Is love to learn a new secret :) also,this is a question/suggestion ,have you/do you use thin shears on the front of face just under nose for the little hairs they always lick into their mouths ? It's often stained.I find this works great to tidy up those little hairs,remove more ugly staining and reduce the smell they get their from that hair being constantly wet in their mouths and sometimes even stuck between their teeth.I have never had anyone complain about me doing it ,as its hardly noticable when done with thinning shears.(meaning it doesnt look like I shaved their lips)
    I always enjoy reading your posts and the pics ! Keep up the great work,you turn out beautiful dogs :)

    1. Hi karaszoo1,
      It is funny that you ask this question when I picture these two particular Shih-tzu's. First, the answer to your question...yes I have used thinning shears for what you describe. I have also used scissors and clippers to achieve the same look. lol
      Back to these two Shih-Tzu's. They are lickers. They constantly lick their faces while you are trying to scissor around the mouth. Would it figure that this owner wants their faces very short? I am sure that you can just imagine how many times I have to stop scissoring because of the tongue shooting out of the mouth. The cream color one is the worst, but they both suck that hair in front of the mouth right back in every time I pull it out of their mouth to scissor. I get the hair out...get my scissors up to the mouth to cut...out comes the tongue and they suck the hair back in. We repeat this process at least a few times before I finally get to cut the hair. So, with these two, I get those hairs the best that I can. :)
      I have not ever had anyone complain about cleaning up around the mouth either.

      Oh, here is a link to a post that I did about using the Baking Soda:


      Thanks for reading my blog!
      Lisa, MFF

  5. The baking soda rinse is one of my all time favorites! Ive been using this for about 15 years and have had some results that were just short of miraculous. one case in particular was a crazy sweet golden who had chronic hot spots. I am noy using the term "chronic" loosely. This poor guy was a constant bloody rashed up mess. He was at the point that the steroids and anti inflammatory meds were having bad side effects on his overall health. Not to mention the financial toll the vet treatments were having on his parents wallet! There was literally talk of putting him down to relieve him. I had just left the employ of the vet he was frequenting to open my own shop. Thankfully, they followed me and I did alot of research to try to help this guy. What I came up with was using Palmolive as shampoo, followed by a baking soda rinse. In addition, they started him on a regimen of fish oil capsules daily. After only about 2 months, (bathing routine bi-weekly) his condition had cleared about 80%. 6 months in, he was basically rash free. No more steroids, no more weekly vet trips. No more agony for one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I have ever met. Nature provides us with what we need to heal. If we will just allow something so simple to be the answer. I use the b.s. rinse alot. I am seldom disappointed. And I dont go a day without MY fish oil supplement as well! Thanks for the opportunity to share... Kathleen

    1. Hi Kathleen,
      I am very interested why you picked 'Palmolive' as the shampoo to use. When I read this, something in my brain sparked. I remember being asked to use 'Palmolive' by a Vet many years ago, but for the life of me I can't remember why. Do you still use it now on other dogs? I have several dogs coming in with skin like you have described and I would love to see the same results that you had with the Golden. I will also be pushing the 'Fish Oil'. :) I do already suggest it to customers, but it is great when you know of a success story behind it.

      I am also curious about how you mix your 'Baking Soda rinse'. I use 2 tablespoons to a gallon of warm water. I also leave it on the dog.
      Thanks for sharing your grooming story. And, thank you for reading my blog. :)
      Lisa, MFF