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November 2008
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December 2008

Canine Spa Beauty Recipes

With all of the great new green, organic, and natural spa type products available, there are still a few simple recipes that you can prepare yourself with totally natural ingredients and no hidden additives!  These additions to your salon menu as a la cart services or as part of a spa upgrade package will use minimal time and create maximum profit all while you are benefiting your clients by offering special touches that they can't get anywhere else!
Gorgeous Nails! 
Do you have clients that want care for their dog's nails but want to avoid nail polish?  Give your canine clients a natural buff instead!  Using a nail brush (human type), clean the dog's feet and nails with a combination of white vinegar and baking soda.  Remember to clean well into the pads and clefts of the foot to remove any odor (dogs do carry a certain scent in the glands of their feet!).  Rinse, pat dry, and trim the dog's nails and file the tips round and soft.  Buff the surface of the nails with a fine nail buffer (human type).  Mix a few tablespoons of olive oil with the contents of a vitamin E capsule.  Rub the mixture into the nails and wipe away any excess.  Now finish this treatment with a final sweep with the nail buffer to create a nice shine. 
--You can finish this package with a clear coat of nail polish for a high gloss, but be sure that the client wants this addition.
Arrange the tools for this service in a pretty bowl, with a sprig of flowering silk plant tucked inside, a softly rolled up washcloth and other items to make it visually appealing.  Display it on your counter for referring to and allowing your clients to view it.  Often they will ask about the display, and having tools that are used by us for our hands and nails makes it identifiable to them.
Natural Ear Cleaner
1 part white or apple cider vinegar
2 parts water
It is that simple!

Natural Paw Balm
1 part beeswax
1 part olive oil or avocado oil
1 pinch borax
Purchase cosmetic grade beeswax and follow the manufacturer's instructions for melting (this is often sold at craft stores for making homemade lip balm).  Once the wax is melted, slowly add the olive oil or other edible oil, mix this until it is of a whipped consistency and add the pinch of borax.  Remember that the dog will lick its feet after the balm is applied, so all of the ingredients must be edible and of current non-spoilage date.  Store the balm in an airtight container to avoid spoilage or discoloration.  Just a few smudges of this on each pad will go a long way.  Rub it is well, and be sure not to make a mess of the hair around the pads.  Remember, too, that there is nothing that says you can't package this in a pretty jar with a nice personalized label, and offer it as part of a gift basket, or as part of a spa retail display!
Easing Motion Sickness from a Car Ride
Bofore travelling with your dog, feed them a small handful of bland saltine crackers.
Also, you can stick a few sprigs of fresh peppermint in the airvents of the dash and turn the air on to circulate the aroma.  This has helped me many times with my dogs and with client dogs that get pick up and delivery services!
Quickly Easing Anxiety
If you work in a salon and want to help certain clients that have overwhelming separation anxiety, or if you own a dog that experiences severe thunderphobia or vet phobia, keep on hand a bottle of Bach'sRescue Remedy.  This is a mixture that contains Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plums, Clematis, Rock Rose, and Impatiens, and it is a tried and true favorite of mine for quickly calming panicked pets.
Oily Coat Rinse
To treat oily, flaky coat naturally, mix:
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (30ml)
or lemon juice
1 quart warm water
Crack in a raw egg (do not allow them to lick this mixture!)
Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Mix well to beat softly the egg and mix ingredients,
Pour this mixture over the dog's coat, massage it in well,
Rinse very well- until water runs clear
Towel dry and dry as usual

Creating Poodle Pet Clips with Flair

Most workdays in our salons, we don't often get the opportunity to do a lot of styling that allows us to be creative and really work our skills of accentuating a dog's breed standard, and maintaining balance and symmetry.  Often we are taking the pets' coats down short at the request of the owner for ease of home grooming.  So, it can be a treat to get to experiment with applying breed standards and doing some creative scissoring and styling while still getting your client's clip on their pet that they like and is practical.  Some stylists don't realize that a pet clip can actually be taken quite short and still offer the opportunity at accentuating that dog's attributes, doing scissoring and creating angulation that brings out the best in that dog.  The differences are subtle, they don't take long to achieve and the outcome of the changes is very noticeable!  The outline below is a short guide to what changes you can make to most any poodle's "puppy trim" (or uniform length all over trim) that is so commonly requested by owners.  Have some fun with it!

The first photo is of the dog when he came in- showing the coat that I had to work with.  This dog is still young and has excellent body structure or conformation and it helps a lot to achieve the most flattering shorter clip for him.


Zin before angulation The red dots show points of reference on his frame.  Up front I have marked his point of shoulder, point of elbow and withers.  On his rear I have marked out his point of hip, point of rump and point of stifle and hock. 

Zin rear angle dotted Again, his rear angulation reference points.

PhpiTbMNKPM This photo shows how as the dog is standing square, you can lay your comb against the dog's point of hip and point of rump to determine the angulation to scissor in across his hip.  This will create a defined agulation without having to leave very much hair for scissoring.  All of the coat can be taken off of the outside of the thigh in whatever length you feel is appropriate for the dog's at-home grooming ease.  The hair from just below the point of rump down to just above the point of hock can be swooped out with the same length blade or clip on comb that you have used on the body.  The scissoring to be done really only consists of the coat at the front of the leg, along the point of stifle and down to the cuff of the leg to create a more full, tailored look.PhpIAJWOMPM The set of the bevel or cuff above the foot can be set a little higher on the dogs with a tight foot and a little lower to cover the top of the foot on dogs that are more splay footed or that have dropped arches to still flatter the foot's composition.


PhpUCFBBQPM The dog's front legs should be scissored from the point of shoulder down the leg so as to not create a divot or pinch at the point of elbow.  You want to create a straight line and a solid cylindrical leg.  This will give the dog a solid and pronounced foundation, and help overall squareness and balance.

PhpPMX9nIPM This picture shows the underline of the ribs and barrel.  The underline should be pronounced to define a solid barrel and a tighter waist.  The hair from the underline should stop at the point of elbow.  To determine where to start the tuck up, find the dog's last or floating (13th) rib and clipper a single stroke down the flank just behind this rib.  The hair at the front of the rear leg and the hair over the tuck up should be scissored to pull the dog's length together.  More hair should be left on the back of the front leg to pull the dog's structure more tight as well.  You want to try to achieve a square and balanced outline that is up on toe and has flair.  Even if you have to clipper the entire body and only scissor the legs, a scissored leg is far more flattering than a short clippered one.  If the legs must be clippered, choose a length one or two lengths longer than the body if possible and scissor finish the leg- especially around the stopper pad and the elbow to avoid "bumps".

PhpPsQlWRPM This photo shows how to blend your leg into the shoulder with no noticeable lines and also how to blend the crest properly into the sides of the neck. 

Phpao8EoFPM Your face and throat mark outs should be done straight from the corner of the eye to the ear opening, and down at a "V" to just above the point of sternum- on larger dogs this is roughly 3 finger's widths above the sternum.  Remember that between the eyes your stop should also be clippered at an inverted "V" shape.  This dogs mark outs have all been done in a #15.  And his feet are finished with a #40.  This is a young dog so we are still letting his ear hair grow out with just a light shaping of the ends.

Phpqdw8tHPM This picture shows how to create a crest on the neck and a head pom that is not too large or long for upkeep.  It is still well defined and has flair and flatters the dog's composition.  Clippering a head pom that starts at the base of skull creates an unflattering curve to the back of the neck and disrupts the symmentry of the dog as the eye moves across the dog's outline.  It also does not help to cover up any flaws in the dog's length or set of neck.  If you cannot leave length of coat on the neck across the collar path, simply scissor in a head pom that is a little smaller and is "teardrop" shaped at the base of the neck.  This will allow you to blend the head into the neck and still eliminate the need for upkeep of the collar path area.

PhpAZ3VO4PM This photo shows the size and shape of the head pom from the top.  One of the best ways to create a smooth scissored topknot is to use your scissors in a stationary position and take the head in hand, moving it around and into the scissors instead of moving the scissors around the head. 

Zin tail markout This shows the similar diamond or "V" shape mark out for the tail.  You can determine how far down the tail base to clip by lifting the tail and tucking your comb under it lengthwise.  The point where the teeth of the comb end is where the tail pom should begin.  Do not divide the tail in half and lay a pom over the last half as some dogs' tails are either docked longer or shorter and this will not form a pom of proper diameter or set.

PhpAKhvG5PM This photo shows proper tail set and pom form for the average pet clip.  You do not want to tail pom to rest on the back- there should be clearance between the pom & the back to help define more flair when the tail is carried high.

Zin after dotted This photo shows the finished style with the bony landmarks or points of reference marked out.  Notice that for upkeep at home, the dog's chest is taken tighter but is still slightly curved, the underline is more tight, and the crest is a little shorter.


Again the finished groom.  This dog was clippered in a #3 3/4 body and #E comb legs, with minimal scissoring needed.  This allows for a creative and fun style that is easy for the owner to keep up, and it doesn't take up too much profitable time!

Phplgu2LqPM again the final clip.   AND-

This groom can be done on any length clip- this is a #7 body and a #C comb legs!  The neck line and rear angulation  is just a bit more pronounced.