As with all grooming techniques, there are many ways to get the job done.
When I was a contest groomer, I always did my Poodle cuffs by hand. I would brush the coat down then give it a quick fluff with my comb. Once it was fluffed, I’d glide a long straight shear in and set the lower edge. Then I’d re-fluff and grab my long curved shears to round and bevel the edges. It was time-consuming.
Done well, the beveled cuffs came out gorgeous. Done poorly, they were a sloppy mess. I had four chances to be perfect with my cuffs – or four chances to really mess up.
For pet dogs, I quickly taught myself another method. It was quick. Fool-proof. And it worked well on most of my shorter stylized pet trims.
On most of my pet trims, I cheated off excess leg hair by skimming it with a guard comb. Not only was it fast – it helped me set the length, too. Once I had the legs roughed in, I would brush the leg coat over the clipped foot with a firm slicker brush. I would slide my hand down the leg with my thumb and first finger resting just below the clipper line on the Poodle foot. My fingers would be my guide as I slid in a small pair of detailing scissors (I choose small shears for the safety of my own fingers!). I would scissor all the way around the cuff line, removing the longer hair.
When I released the coat… voila! A perfect cuff for an active pet. I could adjust the fullness of the beveled cuff by adjusting my scissored line somewhere between the lines of the knuckles of the foot and just below the clipped line on the foot. The lower I was on the foot with my cuff line, the fuller the bevel.
Once my cuff was set, I would neaten and finish the entire leg with shears, smoothing out my guard comb work.
I used this method for years. I even started to incorporate it into my more polished work in the contest ring. It worked well there, too – especially if I used it as a double-check after I did my cuffs with longer shears.
In the past few years, I’ve seen extremely talented stylists start using another method to get perfect cuffs every time. They use a #30 or #40 blade on their clippers! Who knew?
So how do you do it?
It’s very similar to my old method, but instead of shears, pet stylists reach for their cordless 5 in 1 style clipper. They set the blade at the shorter levels, basically the length of a #30 or #40 blade.
Hold the foot off the table at a comfortable level for the pet. With a firm slicker brush, brush all the hair down around the foot. Once the coat is brushed into place, slide your hand down the pet’s leg, thumb and forefinger closest to the foot.
Stop and hold the foot with your fingers coming to rest right at the clipped cuff line. While maintaining your hold on the foot, gently trim at right angles around the cuff with the #30 or #40 blade. Simply touch the coat at the edge line you want to set.
The fullness of the leg coat will determine where you place the line. For fuller legs, use the top of the crease marks on the toes. If the leg coat is shorter, move the line closer to the clipped cuff line.
When you release the coat, the fur will be nicely beveled. The line should be crisp and free of all stray hairs. As with the hand-scissored cuff, check the work from all angles to make sure the cuffs are level from side to side and front to back. Don’t forget to look from table level when inspecting your cuffs for perfection.
It may take a few tries to perfect this technique, but once you do, creating flawless cuffs every time becomes simple. With a well-prepped dog, this technique is fun, fast, and super safe.
Did you try it? How did it work for you? Jump on the Learn2GroomDogs.com Facebook page and tell us what works for you!
Linda C. Claflin-Phelps
Today was one of those great days. One of those days where something special happens out of the blue. It’s not scheduled. It’s not planned. But when it happens – it just makes you smile.
What happened? It was a simple phone call.
I was racing around trying to get through items on my to-do list. Every time I thought I was getting ahead, something would pop up and get added to the list. I felt like I was on a merry-go-round. It just would not stop. I knew it was going to be a real struggle to get to an appointment I had later in the afternoon.
And then my cell phone rang.
I looked down and saw who was. Dawn Omboy’s name appeared on the screen. That alone brought a smile to my face. I took a deep breath to get myself centered and then answered the phone, “Hello Dawn,” with a huge grin my face.
She was calling for two reasons. One was to thank me for her own personalized copy of Notes From the Grooming Table – Second Edition, which was on the way but had yet to arrive on her doorstep.
The second reason took a little longer to explain, but Dawn promised I was gonna love the story. “Okay Dawn, you’re on,” I thought to myself even though I was pressed for time.
My husband Marc and I had been at Dawn’s salon filming for Learn2GroomDogs.com just a couple of months ago. At the time, she had had the possibility of going to China to teach a clinic on creative pet grooming. Even though it wasn’t a sure thing yet, Dawn was so excited at the possibility! China. She’d never been there – let alone teach there! What an amazing opportunity for a little groomer out of southern Georgia.
A few weeks later we learned that the trip was confirmed and she was leaving the following week! She was so excited and we were thrilled for her. We tracked the trip on Facebook along with so many of her Facebook friends. She looked to be having a wonderful time even though she was traveling solo. (That’s one gutsy move all itself!) She told me she had a blast! Everything was wonderful and the people were so nice even though no one spoke English other than her interpreter – and that was dicey. She still knew it would be an adventure of a lifetime she would cherish.
While she was teaching the creative class, someone asked her if she would show them how to do a German trim on a Poodle. Even though they did not speak the language, she was able to make out what they wanted. And to add to that, they wanted it very full and “fancy.” Okay – she got that. The problem was, she couldn’t remember the last time she had done a German trim on a Poodle! But that was not going to stop Dawn…
Dawn – being extremely resourceful – was not going to disappoint her students, “Of course, she told them, I can show you how to do a German trim!”
That night she retired to her hotel room. As soon as she got there she hooked onto the Wi-Fi and brought up Learn2GroomDogs.com.
Did we mention she was in China?
She searched the database for German trims and found Judy Hudson had just what she needed on the site. She ordered herself a bit of dinner and spent the evening with Judy Hudson. Via streaming video, Judy taught Dawn the finer points of how to do a German trim on a Poodle.
The next day Dawn was confidently able to demonstrate to her foreign classroom how to do a German trim on a Poodle – all because of Learn2GroomDogs.com and Judy Hudson.
Dawn wanted to make sure I heard the story firsthand from her. I was beaming! I love our Training Partners and I love being able to help others. My dream is to make learning accessible to anybody – anywhere in the world. Between my books and Learn2GroomDogs.com – that dream is coming true. Even as far away as China!
And the best part – Judy Hudson flies in tomorrow for a National Dog Groomers Association of America workshop and testing held at the Paragon School a Pet Grooming (and some special saddle time with a couple Friesians). I can’t wait to relay this story to her, personally.
I cannot thank Dawn enough for sharing such a unique story. It’s amazing what our industry has to offer to anyone who applies themselves. The key is to be the best you can be and share that knowledge with others. Even if you don’t have the education in your head – having the right resources on the fly to locate information will turn you into an instant expert wherever you are.
You never know when you’ll need to be an instant expert! Has this ever happened to you? Go online and tell us about it on the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page.