When a customer comes to you with a Golden Retriever, Rough Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Australian Shepherd, Pomeranian, or other breed or mix with a similar coat, choosing a Silhouette Trim for their grooming session is often an excellent choice.
A Silhouette Trim leaves the pet looking like a much neater, tidier version of themselves. Here is how to execute a lovely Silhouette Trim on the pets you groom.
- Wash and rinse the pet, ensuring it is immaculate. Rinse well.
- Apply the conditioner of your choice and rinse thoroughly.
- Towel dry as usual (super absorbing towels are recommended with thick coats like these. Follow with a terrycloth towel.)
- Consider spritzing a conditioning spray onto the coat and then brush lightly to distribute it through the fur.
- Use your high-velocity dryer to dry the coat from skin to tips completely. Let the air's force help separate and lift out shedding fur. As the hair shafts become dry, the dead coat will be released.
- Once the pet is dry, brush the coat thoroughly to remove any remaining loose fur. Comb through to make sure no thick areas are left. Pay special attention to the places where the hair grows the longest.
- Use your trimmer or clipper to tidy up the sanitary areas of the pet and trim the underside of each foot.
Once your basic preparation work is completed, it is time to set the pattern for your trim. A variety of shears will work for this job. Ideally, you will have both a set of straight scissors to cut the hair on the underside of the dog and the backs of the front legs and a set of curved ones to work on the areas that are more naturally rounded, such as the "pantaloons" on the back of the rear legs, the tail, and the fore chest. To achieve the most natural look, try trimming the dog with chunkers. This scissor type removes a lot of hair fast while leaving a natural finish and avoiding harsh lines.
Decide how much length you wish to remove from the pet's furnishings and choose a place to begin. The fur on the back of the front legs is a good starting place. Trim the hair quite tight from the foot, leaving it longer as you work towards the elbow. Begin scissoring with the pet standing naturally. Next, lift the leg straight before the dog, comb the fur towards the tabletop, and neaten any uneven edges.
Next, trim the rear hocks to balance with the front leg fur, then shape the "pants" to form a lovely, curved line from the hock to the base of the tail. You will need to comb and repeat several times to get this thick coat evenly scissored. If the tail is to be trimmed, comb and shape it so it blends nicely. Round and trim the feet as usual.
Next, trim the underside of the belly from the front of the thigh to the back of the front leg. Ensure there are no long clumps of hair on the inside of the thigh that will hang over your trimmed area.
Fluff the fur on the fore chest up and use your curved shears or chunkers to shape and blend the long hair in a pleasing shape. Depending on the dog on your table, you may want to shape any long, wispy ear fur at this time to create a uniformly neat appearance.
Correctly executed, the Silhouette Trim will keep the dog's natural look and balance with a far tidier outline. Let your artistic flare choose how much or little of the furnishing length you remove, creating a unique look for each pet you groom.
By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG
Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years. You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism. She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.