In this FREE Spotlight Session, Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of an indispensable part of the grooming kit: thinning shears. Join Melissa as she demonstrates how a good set of thinners can make all the difference.
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Melissa Verplank: All right, so we’ve got all of the four feet pretty much rounded up. Before I move on to the head, I’m just going to go and touch these legs up with thinning shears, and then we’ll move onto the head. Thinning shears come in a lot of different varieties of sizes, styles and quality. Basically with thinning shears, these are your best friends. These are the erasers of the pet stylist world, and I love them. I have a wide variety of thinners, but I will always have a very high, the highest quality thinner that I can get ahold of because they’ll work so much better for you. They just, your thinning shear should work just like scissors. You shouldn’t have to put a whole lot of pressure on the blade to make them cut. They should just cut the hair simply and smoothly, but they will just smooth out these.
Anything that’s rough. I’m just doing a little with this. It’s a little bit of a cut pull action. Not a lot. You’re not doing this. You’re just moving it just enough to cut or remove the cut hair so you don’t recut the same hair again. I’m just going to look at this leg from all angles. Can’t see. Just look for any high rough spots. As I work around the dog’s body, now I’m going to start looking up in this area too, and you can see this rough stuff that’s hanging down. We’ve got to get rid of that. This is what the clipper will have missed.
This is a real common area to need to work it through with thinning shears and just buffer it out. Smooth it all out. Cut pull, cut pull. Not big, not big pull aways. Just little pull aways. I want this little dog to look like he’s a little stuffed animal. Very cute, very soft, very cuddly. Everything is soft and cuddly about this trim. It’s very appealing to many owners. It gives the dog a little bit of style without making it hard to take care of for the owners in between trims. This trim, I like to see the dogs every five or six weeks to maintain this trim style. Goes any longer than that, it makes it harder. You end up getting some mats going on. It’s longer to do. This trim, ideally from start to finish, including the bath and the dry, shouldn’t take more than an hour to an hour and 15 minutes to do. That’s when you’re not on camera.
Again, just looking for the high spots, just knocking them down. Don’t want to see high rough spots, high spots. Just want this whole dog to look smooth and soft. Hang on there Toba.
He does need to stand up. You can’t get the proper angle and look if he’s sitting down. You got to have him standing up. If you’re working with a really high quality thinning shear, you want to remember that they are sharp, and they will cut skin just as easily as a normal shear. I’ve seen more injuries with thinning shears, with people trying to clear the hair right here where their finger gets caught on this blade. It is like a razor. Be real careful when you’re clearing the hair. You don’t want to pinch the dog, but just light cut pulls, cut pulls. Here’s this. You’ll always have one side that you get better than the other. That’s normal. You got to come over here so I can get the right angle to trim this. Turn the table a little bit.
Just working over those high spots. Dropping my head down so I can see underneath the dog. When he rolls over for a belly rub, you want his belly to be nice and neat too. I think you can see how we’re just erasing the marks right out of this coat. Get all the little sticky out. He’s popping out, and he’s got this long beautiful tail that he really wants to lay in here. We don’t want to get trim that, so I’m going to pull that between. Look for those high spots. We’re going to just go right over this back leg and come right in close at the bend of the knee to give this dog some nice angles in the rear assembly.
You can pick up the comb and move you a little bit. Again, hold his tail out of the way. Looking for some nice lines, dropping straight down, and then I always like to flip the tail up, comb up right underneath the tail in the rump area, and I like to give these little guys what I call a little peach butt. Got a little roundness right here. You can do that ever so softly with thinning shears. Just carve it in with thinning shares softly. Just give him a nice little curved little rump. Owners won’t have any clue what you’ve done, but this is going to make you look a lot different than the salon down the street who didn’t take the time to detail this area and just give the dogs these cute little rumps.
Then I always check right around the base of the tail. Make sure that that’s nice and neat. You can just hold that tail down and just lightly thinning shear over the top. You don’t want to go down tight on the tail. Just lightly. See how I’m just feathering off so that that junction is nice and clean? Now, he’s got a pretty long tail. I’m going to go ahead and just while I’m back here, I’m just going to take off a little bit of the very end. It’s kind of like taking the unhealthy ends off of your hair. If you’ve got long hair, just to make it look a little neater and a little healthier. This client does like a long tail, so I don’t don’t want to do a whole lot.