For eight years now I’ve been grooming my dogs for myself. He’s 70 pounds of playful, poofy, wiggly puppy. Even now, at four years old, he’s got a little puppy in him. I keep him in a full coat all year with the exception of shaving his legs and chin in the spring. Most of his coat is well over eight inches long. I love brushing out his hair and seeing him shake himself out to his poofiest. Because of his profuse coat, and the fact that we let him have free reign of the yard most of the year, it can sometimes be quite a challenge to groom him. Burs, stickers, and that mystery stinky stuff are just some of the things I have dealt with over the years. His fur is also quick to mat after a good rain, so I’ve learned how to coax fur back from the brink of just needing to be shaved off. That being said, I’ve also had to acknowledge those times when nothing more can be done without being unfair to him and how to shave as little as possible and if it can be done, cover up the area and make sure that as the hair grows back it will look as natural as possible.
I’ve worked on other dog breeds as well in recent years and I love all of them. The different coats require other approaches but the fundamentals are the same. I especially love being able to help a dog that has, for whatever reason, gotten matted or neglected and bringing it back to looking great. Somehow, I think dogs know when they are looking good.