In this article, I’d like to continue on from where we last left off. I explain why grooming your dog is such an important part of the relationship and your dog’s wellbeing in Dog Grooming: The Ultimate Dog Experience. Then I explained how to achieve the best results in How to Approach the Groom. Now that we understand why to groom, and how to approach the task, I’d like to discuss what tools you will need in order to get the best results possible. I’ve already written about my thoughts on the importance of grooming tools in my book, and I’d love to share a couple of paragraphs that sums it up. I’ve also made another YouTube video titled Dog Grooming Tools and Products that I think will be very helpful to a novice groomer. Please let me know if you have any specific questions regarding grooming tools. I’d love to be of assistance! 🙂
“Using clippers is a great way to save time and set an even length when you’re grooming a dog with long hair like a Golden-Doodle. A good friend of mine, and an amazing groomer himself, once told me that holding a pair of clippers should feel like holding a pen or pencil. It is a groomer’s paintbrush. I have developed a slightly different perspective on the clippers. I believe it is the groomer’s chisel. Michelangelo said of his legendary statue of King David that he did not create King David. He said he was already there and all he did was chisel away the excess. I believe that is what we do with our clippers and scissors. It doesn’t matter what brand of clippers you prefer to use, they are just tools to help you chisel away the excess of a shaggy Lhasa mix to bring out the beautiful girl that was in there all along. Our hearts and your minds are the most important grooming “tools” we have, and our grooming tools are there only to help us express the beauty that is inside of our minds. Learning to use all the different tools and equipment is very important as a professional groomer and the knowledge of how and when to use them will be invaluable to you. Knowledge and wisdom come with experience, and there is no substitute for experience. We must do something over and over again in order to get good at it. Les Brown says, “Practice makes improvements, not perfect. There is no such thing as perfect. Practice makes improvements.” Practice control because art and beauty is about control. Groomers must not only practice the physical control of our bodies and the tools we use, but control over our mental faculties as well. We must control our emotions, our thoughts and our feelings.
Our minds are incredibly beautiful. I know this because I see evidence of this fact all around me every day. I see pictures in grooming magazines that are breathtaking. Poodles that look like marble statues rather than live dogs, and Bichon Frise’s that look like perfectly round snowballs. Those amazing haircuts first had to originate in somebody’s mind before they became a physical reality. When I’m scissoring in the angulations for a Poodle I constantly remind myself that it is not my fingers or hands or my physical body that is designing the cut. It is my mind that is doing the designing and my mind tells my elbows to stay tucked in, my hands to hold the shears still and my fingers to make a controlled cut. It all starts with the mind, so clear your mind and make sure you have a clear image in your head of what you are trying to accomplish. Remember to stay focused; many unnecessary accidents happen because of a moment of distraction. I would also suggest looking at a lot of pictures of dogs that are well groomed. Perhaps Google search images of Champions to see what they look like and study them in detail. Once you know what the dog is supposed to look like, all that is left for you to do is to chisel away the excess. Be a Jedi Groomer using your shears like a Light Saber and your clippers is your Laser-Beam gun. If you’re not into Sci-Fi, than you can pretend that you are Michelangelo the great artist. Either way put your mind and body in a calm, assertive state of being; visualize the finished cut and believe in your own unlimited potential. We can do anything because with God all things are possible!”