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How did I do?

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  • How did I do?

    Today I groomed a poodle by myself for the first time. I've done poodle feet once before and a poodle head I think once too... I don't think it came out TERRIBLE, but I know it can use some work. This is the only dog that I have (so far?) that gets a poodle cut like that.

    I'm posting before an after pics



  • #2
    The good: Feet look correct and clean, no "high waters" (pet peeve of mine), nails look to be about short as you can go.

    Needs improvement: Head area needs to be scissored tighter, esp over the eye area. Also were you going for a "puppy poodle head" or a traditional poodle topknot? You have no line over the ear, and no definition, but not enough shape to be a puppy head.

    Keep practicing your scissoring. If you have extra time and are clipping the dog down anyways scissor a leg or two. I think your scissor work would have come out better if the dog had been fluff dried/brushed out better. Could just be the pictures. Also if a dog had ****** hair texture don't be afraid to use a bit of hairspray or texturizer to improve your final groom.

    Keep at it! For a first attempt nice job, keep practicing.


    • #3
      Thanks! I wanted to take my time with it, but the owners seemed impatient and at around an hour and a half through they showed up and just stood there so I tried to hurry it up a bit. They come back every month though, so hopefully I'll be faster with the feet next time. That took me a while unfortunately.

      Not sure what you mean when you describe the head though


      • #4
        What blade did you use on the face? Looks like the face can be a little cleaner, I can see stickie-outies on the top lip and in the stop area, between the eyes.
        As for head, Google "poodle top knots", here is the good picture:


        • #5
          I used a 10


          • #6
            You should purchase a Jodi Murphy DVD on poodle grooms......she addresses each problem point of your groom.

            Are you working with another groomer in your salon? New groomers shouldn't work alone, because small questions always arise when your one a tight time schedule. I would have used a #15 on the face, shorter when you have more experience. The top knot is missing.....Look at how nice ABDG's pix of the poodle head looks, then compare.

            Just for fun, please keep you pix of the first poodle groom.........then compare it 3 yrs will bring a smile to your face......I know it did to mine !!

            Happy purchasing some DVD's

            Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC



            • #7
              You're on the right track for the first time, girly!

              To an experienced groomer though, the head doesn't look finished at all, I would scissor and shape it a lot more.

              Also, I notice on the bottoms of the legs, the hair doesn't look brushed through completely. Use that blow dryer to your advantage to really separate each hair. When brushing, use a slicker brush, and use that comb afterwards to get down to the skin and really separate the hair

              Also, if you take pics, look at the pic and try to see your mistakes, then fix them. For some reason, I can always see mistakes way more clearly in pics rather than in person on the table one foot away from them. When viewing, picture a straight line where the line should be of the cut (say the legs for instance: picture where the perfect straight balanced line would be), and go back and scissor anything hanging/sticking out of that line

              Decent for your first groom though. I was in the same boat. For a really long time though lol. I don't think scissoring came natural to me
              ~You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who cannot pay you back~


              • #8
                Oh Boy....I'm going to be the Debbie Downer here. I personally don't think it does any good to tell someone they did a "good" job when they haven't.

                I looked at your photos. Here's the voice in my head.

                "Ok...before photo....another before photo....a rough-in photo....another rough-in photo....Oh? Where are the Finish photos? (Flip back up to the beginning photos). Oh! Those ARE the finish photos! Oh My....these need major work"

                Let's start with your table. Please clean off the table before taking pictures. All that hair around the feet makes it difficult to see how well the cuffs were really done. As a matter of fact, I'm constantly blowing hair off my table as I groom so it's not in my line-of-sight as I groom.

                What blade length were you using on the body?

                Better fluff drying with a slicker brush and stand dryer.

                The topnot doesn't even look like it's been touched. ABDG gave a link to a wonderful poodle head. I'm sure you will notice the difference right away. That is the look must owners are looking for. Especially shorter in front of the topnot. The owner will most likely take scissors to this in a day or two. And, having owned a poodle, those topknots really DO "Grow out so fast!"
                Aim for a nice tidy topnot like the example given

                Feet look good. A trick I learned when I first started. Clipper your feet with a 10 or 15, and then, AFTER the Bath, go around the toenails with a 40 blade. There are always little hairs that show up around the toenails once the foot is clean and dry. Just clipper those off....don't go up into the toe, just those long hairs that extend down into the toenail.
                I also do my pads with a 40, so after the bath I go around toenails and the do the pad with the same 40.

                Another trick I learned in the beginning. (I learned to groom when poodles were the most popular breed in the US. I did A LOT of poodles)
                Clipper the face with a 10 or 15 against the grain from the corner of the eye to the nose.......use your 10 or 15 WITH THE GRAIN on the cheeks and throat.
                This will give some protection against "clipper burn". (And yes, it will blend in)
                When we pluck ears, that is annoying to the dog. (And I don't use an ear cleaner with any ouchy-products in it....if it's ouchy on a small cut on my hand, it will be ouchy in the dogs ear).
                You know how dogs love to rub their heads on the carpet after a bath. They Slide half way across the living room carpet....oooh...that feels sooooo good.
                Well, that sliding causes carpet burn on the fresh clipped cheeks. However, the owner will be told it's clipper burn. Clipping WITH the grain on the cheeks will give some protection there, and help prevent that problem.
                Also, not putting ouchy ear cleaner in the ear will help prevent the dog from rubbing his head or putting a foot inside his ear to itch.

                The body needs too much work to start on that.

                DONT GIVE UP! We ALL started at this level. Oh Gawd, I'm sooooo happy I DONT have a photo of that first schnauzer I did on my own. Although I do agree with Dolly. Keep this'll be amazed in a few years when you see it again.

                Do you groom by yourself? If so, you might want to see if you can groom a dog with a more experienced groomer to give you pointers as you groom.
                Maybe one dog, one day a week. If you were doing that at my shop I wouldn't book an extra dog for you, I would just let you work on one of my dogs...then any touch ups I can do without putting myself in a bind....and at the same time you get the experience and feed back you need.

                Ok.....See you at Hershey!!!


                • #9
                  Also, not related to this particular groom, just pictures in general: when taking photos of your final result, that you will show for critique, or may use in your future portfolio, clear off all the loose hair from the table. Not only it looks neater, more professional, but also with hair on the table sometimes what you think is a chunk of hair sticking out of the leg is really loose clipped off hair on the table. So, clean picture will show off your results better.
                  I often take pictures just for myself to check if everything is even and balanced (like NeveahsMommy said, I see uneven ears and stickies on the photo better than on dog itself), then you don't need to get table spotless clean, but for final photo - swipe those hairs away.

                  By the way, I admire the way you are willing to learn, and always asking questions to help improve your technique. Keep it up and don't get discouraged.


                  • #10
                    All of you guys are giving such great advice, so thank you for that and for your honesty. It's no help to me if people are saying it's fine when it really isn't so I really do appreciate that.

                    Unfortunately I'm all on my own. I printed out a ton of how to guides and took a bunch of notes from videos and whatnot so I can easily refer to it while grooming. It'd be a lot easier if someone was with me, but nope, I'm all alone lol. Well anyways, I'm thinking of calling my grooming school to see if they'd be able to fit me in one day to go over some stuff I may have forgotten and maybe to help me with the heads.

                    I honestly never thought to clean off the table before taking pictures O.o guess my common sense is lacking in that aspect. So thank you for pointing that out.

                    I have a collection of before and after pics and even just from this past September I can see a lot of improvement so I can't wait to see what these next couple of years brings me.

                    But seriously though you guys are a great help. I know that I still have a lot to learn. I'm only 20 and I graduated school in December and managed to get this job right away so I'm pretty happy about it, but I still could use some improvement. Poodles are my weakness, along with tiny yorkies. Shih tzus, bichons, malteses, and cockapoos seem to be the ones I'm the best at, but that's just my opinion. I actually have a client who left me voicemails saying how great of a job I did and how she's going to write me reviews on every website she can find so that made me feel pretty good haha but anyways, thanks for the help so far and if you think of anything else don't hesitate to let me know!