....Not always so simple.
Trimming is another one of those simple grooming requests that can lead to misunderstandings.
When an owner says "trim him up", I want to know exactly what they mean by 'trim', exactly what they want 'trimmed', and exactly how much they want 'trimmed'.
Sometimes a trim has turned into a full blown hair cut.
Other, times a trim means trim only the pads of the feet, or only around the rectum, or only the corner of the eyes and nothing else....even if I see a lot of the things that need trimming to make the dog look nice.
There have been times that an owner has brought in a dog and I take one look at it and know exactly what I want to trim to make that dog look great.
What I want to trim and what the owner wants trimmed may be two very different things.
This sweetie needs a trim.
This owner leaves the trim up to me.
The goal of the trim on this little lady is to neaten up her feathering to keep it from collecting leaves and things when she is outside, and to help keep her looking neat and clean.
Some owners will only want the pads of the feet trimmed, and.....
....that may be all the owner wanted trimmed, because the owner loves the fuzzy, fluffy feet.
It does not matter what we, the groomer, wants.
Now, if those fuzzy feet are full of mats between the toes, the the groomer needs to call the owner and explain how mats between the toes can hurt as the dog walks, and could possibly cause sores.
Even then, I would only cut out the mats saving as much as the hair as possible, because I know that the owner would prefer the feet fluffy.
Other owners may want the feet left full, but still want them shaped up round.
In that case I would only clip out the pads, comb the hair on the top of the feet out and round up the outline of the foot.
The foot is shaped up, but still full and fluffy.
For some owners, trimming the feet means trimming them up nice, tight, and neat looking.
For this I would clip out the pads, shape around the foot and then brush the hair on the top of the foot up....
....give the foot a little shake to let the hair fall naturally and then scissor to shape up the top of the foot.
This leaves a nice neat, tight foot with the feathering still long.
A 'trim' may also mean trimming up that long feathering to get it off of the ground, or to make it nice and neat.
Trimming around the rear may mean only trimming around the rectum, and leaving the rear feathering alone.
Trimming the rear feathering could also mean just scissoring enough hair to shape the feathering and make it look neat.
Or, the owner may want the rear feathering taken very short.
These are questions that need to be asked.
As groomers, we may think that the rear feathering would look nice shortened and shaped up, but the owner may love all of that messy fly away hair.
I scissored up this little ones rear feathering just enough to make it look nice and neat but not too short.
The front leg is the same.
Some owners actually like the hair dragging the floor, so make sure that they want that hair 'trimmed'.
The hair on this little girl was trimmed just enough to get it off of the ground, but the feathering is still long.
She has now been 'trimmed' to look nice and neat.
All of the fly away hair has been 'trimmed' just enough to get the feathering off of the ground.
All of her outline and feathering could be taken shorter and tightened up more if the owner would like.
Every once in awhile I will get a customer that seems to get frustrated at all of my questions.
"I just want the hair trimmed up", the owner will say.
I will smile and say, "Sorry about all the questions, I just have to make sure that I know exactly what you want, because once I cut the hair off I can't put it back on. There are several different ways that I can trim your dog, and I want to make sure that I do exactly what you want."
Most of the time, this small statement will make the owner understand why you are asking so many questions.
Then they are more willing to answer your questions.
Remember, when a customer comes in and asks you to 'trim' their dog....ask questions.
The five or ten minutes you spend at drop off may save a lot of grief at pick up.
No trim is the same, even on the same breed of dog.
Different coat types, and different pet owner preferences.