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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so I bought myself a little clipper so that I can keep up with Tate's fft/sanitary on my own. His face is easy, as we're growing out a little beard, so there is little to trim, and I'm keeping his ears short... again, easy.

But those little monkey feet are worrying me. So all you d.i.y. grooming fairly newbies... what advice/tips helped you the most in grooming feet? I'm nervous about hurting him!
 

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don't dig. I mean, don't dig the edge of the blade into the toes to try and get it all out. If anything, best to leave fuzzy bits as you are getting used to it rather than 'dig' and create a clipper burn.

If they're very hairy, go over them lightly with the grain first to be able to see where you're going better. When you're clipping them though, you go 'against' the grain (from the nails up towards the ankle).

If you trim the nails, leave it until AFTER you've done the feet; it's easier to find your way about with LONG nails as a 'guide' around the toes than it is with short ones! You might find it the opposite of course, but easier to try with long nails first and then try with shorter nails if you find them annoying than try and do it the other way around and wish you'd left them long... lol!

Don't shave too far up or they look silly. Just go up to just above where the toes join together to form the foot. On the underside, only off clean the back of the big pad, don't shave way up the back of the foot.

I personally used to find it much easier to do the inside edges of the toes from *underneath* too! What I mean is life the foot up and scoop out the hair from around the big pad, and then you can see the hair coming down from between each toe; you can scoop along the edge of each toe from underneath to remove a lot of it fairly easily without as much risk of digging as if you try get it all from the top of the foot...

When trying to to inbetween the toes, use your finger under the foot and your thumb ontop to spread the toes out and go up each side of each toe rather than try and dig in to the gap (go from the nail and up the side of the toe using only part of the blade).
 

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Excellent detail, flyingduster. I shall have another go at Poppy's feet today - like Spencer I worry about hurting her, especially as front paws are the one bit of grooming she really doesn't like.
 

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basically just skim, don't worry about bits missed, you can try better next time (if you try get it now you'll just start digging!) It really is just practise and working out the shape of the toes and the right angles to get it all without digging. There's not much you can do except practise; doing them every week is fine! Each time you'll figure out something new that works and be able to build up.
 

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I just did 2 standards at a friends house. They have been limping along for 5 years. I took out my grooming tools and taught them a few tips to make their job easier.

We were in their garage. I made them put a sturdy banquet table under a wide archway. Luxkily I brought a piece of chain and my groomers helper noose. We hung the chain from a heavy nail on the archway and lifted the older dog onto the table. He had always been done on the floor. FIRST TIP…WHEN THE DOG IS UP HIGH, HE IS NERVOISE AND TOO SCARED TO MOVE....EASIER TO GROOM IF THEY ARE STATIONARY/STILL.

THE NOOSE KEEPS THE HEAD UP AND PREVENTS EXCESSIVE MOVEMENT.Its not perfect but if someone can stand behind the dog and hold its butt, it can't back up and move away from its front paws being shaved. You can have the helper person talk to the dogs face while you do the rear paws.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the tips... I shaved with the grain last night over the tops of his feet, just so he would know what it felt like when I was the one doing it. - have watched him get his feet done before, and he doesn't struggle at all, but tried a bit with me, so I took it in a small step.

I cut his ears yesterday, as well, which went fine. I didn't trim up the sides (again, fear of hurting him!) But they at least look clean and fresh!

I'm going to try at least a foot tonight with you guys' advice. Wish me luck!
 

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I'm going to try at least a foot tonight with you guys' advice. Wish me luck!
Good Luck!

When I was learning to do Lucy's feet, I'd do the best job I could at the time, and then we'd take a break... While we were "breaking", I'd critique my work and find places that I'd missed (around the toenails were the hardest places for me to get all the sticky-outies) and then we'd have another short session while I cleaned up the obvious "misses". Now, it's pretty common for me to do her face, all four feet and her whole back end (around her rosettes) all in one session. Occasionally, I'll still find a small bit that I've missed on her feet, but we've come a long way in the last 8 months! Practice and familiarity will be your best assets! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Barb, how do you clip around her nails? I did notice that that is where a lot of the messy hairs look to be coming from. (I'm sure if I got those cleaned up and even if the rest of his foot was a bit messy, his foot would look better than it did now!)

I haven't tried a foot yet... I can't decide if I want to sit somewhere comfy with him and do it, or stand him up on the table and make him be a good boy!
 

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Barb, how do you clip around her nails? I did notice that that is where a lot of the messy hairs look to be coming from. (I'm sure if I got those cleaned up and even if the rest of his foot was a bit messy, his foot would look better than it did now!)

I haven't tried a foot yet... I can't decide if I want to sit somewhere comfy with him and do it, or stand him up on the table and make him be a good boy!
I always do clipping on the table and heavy duty brushing (read... coat change mats!! :wacko:) on the floor as she is able to lie down more comfortably as I'm brushing. When I have the clippers going, I don't necessarily want her to be "comfortable" but rather more "aware" so she behaves well.

One trick I learned for around those toenails is to hold the clipper upside down to how you'd normally hold it to clip (it's really hard to explain, you may just have to experiment - you can actually do it with the clippers OFF at first so you can feel the difference with the clipper upside right and then flip it upside down in your hand and use it that way around the toenails...) Once you get comfortable with that, you can turn it on and see if that helps. Sometimes it's the only way I can get those pesky hairs that grow right alongside the nails - when I can get those trimmed off, her feet look SOOO much better!

Make sure you let us know how it goes when you do it for real!
 

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flyduster gave you great directions, but, if you do better with a visual along with written instructions, here's an excellent site that will take you through doing feet (and face, and . . .):

CLIPPING THE FEET

I always told her Cathy that she should do a grooming video! lol I learned from her excellent show and tell how-to-do instructions. Good luck!
 

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Very useful thread, this! As a complete beginner, with not very good clippers (yet), I have found that it is sometimes easier to tidy up the missed bit with a quick snip of the scissors than to struggle with the clippers. Not perfect, but neater than long bits sticking out. I have a little pair of round ended scissors I got to do Sophy's feet, which are perfect for Poppy's too.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Okay, so I did one foot tonight. It took us about 30 minutes, as we took breaks, too. I could tell he was getting restless as his foot yanking got a little bit more melodramatic. I took our break times to cool off the blade and his tootsie.

I took "don't dig" to heart and did what I could (tried not to be OCD about it!) without really digging in between his toes. There are still some scraggly hairs, the pads turned out to be harder than I imagined. I didn't want to cut him, so again, I got what I could and remembered not to dig! (Thank goodness FD told me not to, haha, it was my mantra while clipping his feet. I know I would have been digging away if someone hadn't said to not!

One foot down, three to go!

His feet -


Feet again, hard to get a good picture showing the before and after!-


His pads-

=======================

I want his ears short, but not bald... so I shaved with the grain. This is just a little blade with no guard... if I shave against the grain will it take all the hair off? (I'm kinda thinking I already know the answer to this one... but thought I'd ask anyway.)
 

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Yep - you probably already know the answer to your question. :) Clipping in "reverse" or against the grain (and depending on which blade you use) can result in a very close shave! I use a 30 on Lucy's face and feet and had been using a 15 reverse on her back end - but have graduated to a 30 all over. If you want to leave some hair on his ears, stay WITH the grain and use a smaller numbered blade.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't have the choice of different blades, haha! You know the "simply pink" little oster brand clippers? Well I have those... in black. It was 4$ cheaper in black! You pay FOUR BUCKS more for pink. Just sayin'.

Anyway, Instead of making his ears bald, I just made sure to pay very good attention and shave it down very close. His ears look pretty close to what the groomer did (minus the edges, I'm too afraid to scissor cut those.)

I did his other front foot in about 10 minutes just now, and then spent another 5 touching up his ears and tail. Two down, two to go!
 
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