Many of us, myself included, were taught to back brush everything. By that I mean, clipper or scissor a part of the body then comb AGAINST the lay of the hair to make it stand up and redo it over and over again until it is smooth and when back brushed nothing sticks up.
It works very very well to get a smooth perfectly clipped haircut on some coat types, and on poodles, lifting the hair outwards to make it stand will make the finish smooth and really makes the finished groom much neater and better quality. BUT on some coats it is contraindicated and will cost you time and will result in a finish that is lacking once the dog goes home, and the hair falls into it's natural place, appearing choppy even when it didn't in the salon.
Dropcoated dogs, like Shih-tzu and Yorkie as well as Maltese really do not need to be backbrushed at all!
The Yorkie above was done with a zero comb. I went from neck to tail down the middle of the back three passes then started to follow the lay of the hair with the same comb, dropping down towards the table, then combing forward on the lgs and DOWN on the underline, scissoring with Chunkers to finish.
If I had backbrushed this dog the hair would be choppy and MUCH shorter than it is here. A Zero left her hair about 2 inches long and if I had backbrushed repeatedly it would have been half that length. Why? Because the hair gets lighter and stands better when shorter, so if you backbrush hair that has been clippered already it stands up and doesn't lay flat, resulting in shorter hair.
Here is Tessa:
She is a maltese with fuzzy slightly curly hair. She chews her feet, so its not taken too tight she did it herself. She is groomed using the #2 (dark blue) Wahl SS comb and a Bravura clipper. NO BACKBRUSHING. It is smooth, even and natural looking. Here are some more photos and a video on her being combed through with my Utsummi Crescent Comb.
When you watch the video you will notice some hair sticks up but when its combed back into the natural position it lays so nice and smooths right out.
Then we have this yorkie:
Her dad is from Texas and we haven't seen her in 4 years. He wanted her shorter but long and said no one had ever done it well before. SO I used the E SS comb (Light blue) and groomed her the same way I did the yorkie above. He was ecstatic and kept saying over and over that it "looks like it grew this way!" which is what he wanted all along and no one could do for him.
The trick to doing natural coats that fall is to LET THEM FALL. Do not try to make them stand up because that hair is not supposed to stand up!
It will also reduce your stress level, speed up your time and make your grooming look more natural.
I need to point out that it is CRITICAL to make sure that the prepwork (bathing and drying) must be done properly in order to used this "lack of" technique. Proper drying will make the clipperwork almost effortless.
For you who are not so sure, here are some photos of a Shih-Tzu with a super soft and ultra challenging coat, that was groomed with ZERO backbrushing. First the dog as it came into Liz Sine's Van with no owner brushing or anything for 6 weeks"
Here he is after his bath and fluff out:
Notice that he looks REALLY NEAT and tidy! It held up well and that is the mark of a good groom. ANy groom that looks this good after 6 weeks and being bathed and dried again was groomed well the last time it was done.
Here he is after his groom, which she did using a #2 on the chest and rear and a #1 on the body, a zero on the legs and head. Very little scissorwork needs to be done after using the combs.
I will cover directional drying in another video and blog post shortly, but knowing how to dry a dog correctly will also make your grooms pop and look better than ever.
After posting this I got some nasty messages and comments about how the grooms couldn't possible hold up and would look awful within a few hours of being done with no back brushing, so I took this opportunity today to take some video clips and show you that it DOES work and the dogs DO look good afterwards!
Above is Jack Jack (also known as Jacked up Jack) and its been a month since he was groomed.
Above is Sweet Pea and it has been about 24 hours since she was groomed.
AND below there is a video clip on the shake and fall method I use for dropcoated dogs, It takes the place of back brushing and shows you the hair has fallen where it belongs.
Hopefully the addition of those three video clips will help you with this technique and see that YES my grooms hold together even without back brushing.
While doing some editing on youtube, I found this video. Its not the best quality, and the dryers in the background make it hard to hear me sometimes but it shows an entire grooming process using snaop combs, chunkers and no backbrushing. Hopefully this will help you a little bit.