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June 2017

Scottish Terrier Pet Groom

I live in Maine, which is known as "Vacationland."  I groom a lot of dogs in the summer that live elsewhere much of the year.  Today I had two Scottish Terriers come in.  I took a few pictures to share.  


IMG_4164The dogs had not been groomed for 8 weeks, but the back was barely the length of a 5f blade.  I think they had been taken down with a 10 blade. It is impossible to blend nicely if the back is taken that short. A 5f or even a 7f is so much nicer!  The line for the furnishings is set too low, especially over the hip area.  Then there is the problem of the huge, fluffy tails. And the ears!  Lots and lots of hair left, front, back and side. Instead of eyebrows, there was a strange little visor.  The whole effect was off.  And in case you are wondering, the owner did not request these things.  

Scotties seem to be a breed that many groomers struggle with.  But really, they are not that difficult.  

I bathed these dogs, dried and brushed them.  I used a 5f blade on their backs to slightly even things up.  Using the same blade on the underside of the tail, I zipped off a LOT of long fringe.  Then I combed the hair against the grain and used straight shears to begin to create a "carrot" shape.  Next I combed the hair all to the right, and trimmed again.  Then all to the left, and more trimming.  It looked so much better.  

Next I tackled the ears.  


This is the back view.  I often see Scotties with way, WAY too much hair left on their ears. I think it is because groomers know they are supposed to leave something, but are not sure what, so they leave too much. The best description I have ever seen on Scottie ears is in Sam Kohl's most recent edition of The All Breed Grooming Guide.  The basic idea with Scottie ears is that if you shave them completely they look silly, like big triangles stuck to the head awkwardly.  You just want to leave a little hair at the inside corner, to soften the ear and expression, and make the ears look like they are anchored to the head.

IMG_4185I left a bit too much here, and went back to tighten things up a bit.  But doesn't this look better than all those wads of hair in the first pictures? 



I can't fix how low the pattern line is this time, but at least now this dog resembles the way it should look, without a silly, fluffy tail and shrubby ears.  I made a definition between the brows and have started to shape them up to look the way they should.  

There is no shame in not knowing how to properly groom a certain breed of dog, but if you don't know, do a little research.  Look at photos of the breed under their AKC  page.  Look at recently published grooming books, (grooming styles change, keep up with the times!) or, go to a dog show and/or grooming show.  It does not take much more effort to groom a dog right than it does to groom it wrong. Keep on learning... it makes our jobs more fun, and you will get many referrals from customers who appreciate the fact that you did the job correctly.  

Why you need to go to a grooming show this year...

For the past 12 years or so I have attended multiple pet grooming shows per year.  I went as a speaker and also worked in a booth. While I was there I was able to explore other booths a bit, talk to other groomers and in general have a great time.  But I've taken some time off and have not been to a show in two years.  

Last weekend I went to Nova Scotia to attend the Eastern Canadian Grooming Show.  Compared to some of the huge shows in the U.S., like Groom Expo and Atlanta Pet Fair, this show was quite small. However, that is not a bad thing!  Smaller shows have a certain intimacy that is cozy and fun. Also, I was able to sit in on some seminars and learn some new things, which always energizes me and makes me feel more excited about my work.  I also got to do a bit of shopping.  I didn't really need anything, but I picked up some small items anyway.  It is a totally different experience to be able to pick up, hold and examine a new comb, brush or other tool before you buy it.  I grabbed some new Artero nail trimmers.  I have been using Aussie Dog nail trimmers for years, but they are hard to find and I was down to my last pair. This was a small purchase, (under $10.) but one I am delighted I made. The trimmers are sturdy, feel good in my hand, and the blades are super sharp and cut with a nice precision that I am very much appreciating.  


I also bought a new brush by Artero. This was a totally spontaneous purchase.  When I got it home and tried it for the first time I was rather surprised at how flexible the head was. And I realized that the two sided head has softer bristles on one side,  and firmer on the other.  I tried it on a few dogs and rather liked it.  



Then yesterday Shadow came in.  An ancient Maltese, he normally lives in Tennessee, but is here for the summer.  He came in wearing a jacket, "He's so old, he is always cold," his owner told me. You know this kind of dog.  Tiny, frail, confused. Matted. OH, so matted.  I was pretty sure I would not be able to brush him out.  I popped him in the tub, got him clean and conditioned, then while he was damp rubbed a little Cowboy Magic through his coat. I dried him as fast as I could, because he was shivery and sad.  Then I grabbed my new brush to see what it could do. The combination of the well-made bristles (with smooth edges that don't scratch skin and damage coat) and the very flexible head made it seem like a good choice on a bony dog with delicate skin and a horrible coat. But really? In my heart of hearts I figured I was going to have to take a 7 blade to the old guy.  To my total surprise I was able to brush almost all the matting out, in very little time, without upsetting the dog.  I did shave his underside from armpits to groin, as it was matted very tightly and he was not happy about me brushing that area.  In less than an hour I had him clean, dry, brushed and trimmed.  No skin irritation, no upset old dog.  Two very happy owners and one very happy groomer. All because I went to a grooming show.  

I never would have tried this new brush if I had just seen it on line or in a catalog.  But that small purchase, (under $20) saved me time and effort on this groom, and will save time and effort on many grooms in the future.  

Also at the show I got to meet in person grooming friends that I have only known on the internet. 



And laugh with some people I was glad to get to know better...



And meet a bunch of people who share my career choice and speak fluent "pet groomer."  Always a treat!  

So, please take my recommendation and plan to attend a grooming show and seminar near you this year. You can bring home tools to make your work easier, new knowledge to improve your skill set, memories to sweeten your days and maybe even new friends that talk your language.  What could be nicer?