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Feeling a little frustrated and looking for some guidance.

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  • Feeling a little frustrated and looking for some guidance.

    If I've placed this in the wrong section please move it to the appropriate place!

    I am corporate trained and I left about a year ago. I work for a vet's office now and I love it.. but I feel like I'm stuck as far as being able to learn form the people around me. I've been grooming about four years or so total but I've had several breaks of close to a year each. I keep trying to improve and I'm not sure I'm getting anywhere. I've read a zillion threads and watched videos and I'm not sure if I'm just missing something, but I don't feel like I'm making any progress.

    The big eye opener for me was going to PetQuest and having a side by side comparison of a groom I had done that I had a photo of and a well done groom of that same cut in person. It was a real eye opener. I realized that my prework wasn't great (I bathe and dry all of my own dogs) and I'm not sure I really understand what the structure of each breed is *supposed* to look like and then how to achieve the look if the structure is not there. I have attempted the same cut on my own personal dog since then and I have seen some improvement but I'd like to know where I went wrong if people wouldn't mind a critique. Please feel free to be honest, I want to be a better groomer tomorrow, than I am today.

    This was the cut that I had photos of to compare to a really nice cut at the trade show. Please note that this dog has ideal poodle hair and I believe that she is an AKC conformation champion.. at least that's what her folks say. She's about 12 now.

    My personal poodle, the dog in the second set of photos, is only 8 months old and still has some wonky hair. I know there's an icky dip in his foreleg.. but he's still a bit of a wigglybutt on the table and we put a nice size dent in that leg.

    The first cut was done about three months ago and the second about a week ago after PetQuest.


    After: I was so proud of this haircut.

    This was my second try with my own personal dog. He's growing out from a Miami and his legs are slightly shorter than his body here but I didn't have quite enough time to take his whole body down.



  • #2
    I think you're being too hard on yourself. For 4 years of grooming you are doing very well. You seem to have done quite well prepping the coats. Overall your grooms looks smooth.
    I'll critique the first dog more as your second dog is growing out and is in a slightly 'weird' stage.
    Overall it's nice. Maybe shaved just a hair too high between the eyes. Try to come straight down on those front legs, right now they are 'bending' back in front. Bring the angle on the back leg up. Hair should be shortest at the bend below the hind quarters but your's looks shortest just above the hocks.
    Your bevels above the foot could maybe use a bit of work, but I struggle getting a nice bevel as well.


    • #3
      Yeah I haven't really figured out the bevel at all... The front legs on that first poodle bother me so much now that I'm looking at it again.


      • #4
        Good advice from Mystic Realm. The easiest way to find where the hair should be shortest on the back leg is to bend it upwards. Foot up towards tail. Mark where the bend is by denting it, then make a small cut to mark it so you don't go past it.

        Trust me, it's a WHOLE lotta hair to be left to make those front legs complete columns at that length. Way more than the average person can deal with. I wouldn't stress too much about that. Know what it should be, but make it manageable for dog, owner and yourself.

        Definitely leave more hair between the eyes. You have gone to the top of the eye and it should be more at the bottom of the eye.

        The body looks to be pretty short, but if it were longer I would say bring your tuckup farther forward. The dog already looks really long. Tuckup is typically after the last rib on most dogs. If you have a dog that is long in the loin you might move it back a finger or two. I struggle with that tuckup thing because I think it looks unkempt to leave the hair in the true tuckup long. Sure it looks fine when the dog is freshly groomed but after six weeks it just looks like you missed a bunch of hair.

        What I do if I have time is do it right just so I keep the skill and then fix it.

        Overall I think you are doing a really good job.


        • #5
          I agree with what everyone is saying......I would also clip the hair from the outside of the eye to the ear a little higher. I usually use my curved scissors and, using them curved inward, trim right above the ear, to make a nice border between ear and top knot. Now that you have set the border line, continue trimming towards the end of the eye. I would have trimmed the legs shorter, since you probably won't see client's dogs for at least 4-6-8 weeks later, making it a groomer's nightmare to comb out.
          I would also have trimmed the bottom of the ears, then fold the ear lengthwise and trim the bottom again for all of the stray hairs.

          The more grooming expos you visit, the more "little tricks" you pick up......try GroomExpo in Hershey and you will be buzzing for weeks after with all of the demo's on stage, in classrooms and in the aisles. After almost 30 years of grooming, I'm still picking up "tricks" to better my speed and ability.

          I think the white poodle looks really nice and you are on the right track for a gorgeous groom.

          Happy learning for 30 years

          Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC


          • #6
            Proud that you would post here and you got good advice.


            • #7
              OK here some help. Get yourself over to YouTube and GroomersTV. Lots of great free videos to help you out. Also subscribe to Learn2groomdogs it's monthly but worth it for you. I would also pick up the Poodle groom book and the AKC breed book. You will need to study and watch these all. If you can get to either the AKC shows or UKC shows and walk threw the grooming areas. Don't try to ask to many questions as handlers are on tight schedules but do watch them. You will catch some clues. Poodle grooming itself is an art and you have to almost apprentice under a breeder to get it. If I were you I would think on taking certification with one of the associations to improve my skills. Since you went threw the Corp school it would help you alot.


              • #8
                You're doing great. Would also recommend that you blend the legs a little more/lower. Bring it in on the shoulder especially so the dog doesn't look like a line backer.

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