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Okay, I've noticed a few questions keep coming up again and again--some go unanswered. I personally need answers to a few of them so thought I'd consolidate them here. Please cut & paste the questions and insert your answers for easy reference. Everyone--please feel free to add questions. :)

So, calling all groomers!!!!!!!

DRYING:
1) When drying a poodle with a HV dryer, do you start brushing the coat while it's still wet-wet or damp or ???
- Pet coat poodle:
- Show coat poodle:

2) What grooming tool (brush and/or comb) do you prefer to use when drying to get the coat straight (and does this change for different coat areas and degree of dryness)?
- Pet coat poodle:
- Show coat poodle:

3) Do you start drying and/or brushing a certain area of does that depend on the individual poodle and/or trim?

4) What is the primary difference between a HV dryer and a stand (heat) dryer? Can you get the straight, fluffy look with one or the other or do you need both? (ie., what are the pros/cons of both)

GROOMING:
5) What products do you recommend to prevent razor burn on poodles with sensitive skin--worst case scenario (ie., Skin Works)? (One of my poodles doesn't get razor burn but will scratch later and give himself a rash!)

6) Do you use an anti-static spray when scissoring? Will this ruin your shears? If you have a favorite product, ie., Groomer's Choice Anti-Static Spray, please list. Jay Scruggs recommends the GC spray.

7) Do you tend to groom in a certain order? Do you tackle the face first or the feet, or does this once again depend on the individual poodle?

8) How do you keep a longer/fuller topknot from falling (you know what I mean, that icky part they get down the middle after a day or two)? Any tips?

9) What's the best way to get a tight line separating bracelet from upper leg in Miami trim, etc.? Do you use a clipper or shear?

10) Do you prefer snap-on combs or scissoring for the finished look? What parts of the poodle do you feel must be scissored (topknot obviously)? Is the #30 blade the best choice when using the combs?
- Favorite snap-on combs:
- Scissoring tips:

GROOMING TOOL MAINTENANCE:
11) What's the best way to clean your clipper blades? I've heard the spray cleaners are bad, etc.

12) How often do you sharpen your blades and shears? (After how many grooms...approximately.)
 

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ooh this is a GREAT post! I was thinking it would be so fun to groom Huxley myself and he's SO patient and still that he lets me do it - I just have NO idea what I'm doing!! LOL I tried to shave him down myself which I thought would be easy enough since I wouldn't have to keep any shape or do the scissoring but my clippers weren't up for the job! (I've been reading the clipper posts and think I'm ready to invest in a good Andis). I'm also freaked out about the face (even after watching tons of youtube videos on it!) Any grooming info from the pros is VERY welcome!! Thank you thank you thank you for starting this thread ;)
 

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Some other groomers can probably answer these better than me as I have zero experience with a show coat, but here goes:

DRYING:
1) When drying a poodle with a HV dryer, do you start brushing the coat while it's still wet-wet or damp or ???
- Pet coat poodle: I blow dry the, what I call, "heavy water" off. All the dripping water all over the dog first. So, I would say, somewhere between wet wet and damp.
- Show coat poodle:

2) What grooming tool (brush and/or comb) do you prefer to use when drying to get the coat straight (and does this change for different coat areas and degree of dryness)?
- Pet coat poodle: On Darby I ONLY use a pin brush and comb. With the pets I groom it's my soft slicker.
- Show coat poodle:

3) Do you start drying and/or brushing a certain area of does that depend on the individual poodle and/or trim?
I always start on the hocks and rump and work my way forward, head last.

4) What is the primary difference between a HV dryer and a stand (heat) dryer? Can you get the straight, fluffy look with one or the other or do you need both? (ie., what are the pros/cons of both)
I only have a HV at my work, but it's an AMAZING dryer and as you can see in my siggy pic it gets Darby very straight and fluffy. I am saving for a stand dryer. From what I understand the main difference is the heat. A HV blows more air, the stand gives of more heat. It sets the hair straight as a culing iron would.

GROOMING:
5) What products do you recommend to prevent razor burn on poodles with sensitive skin--worst case scenario (ie., Skin Works)? (One of my poodles doesn't get razor burn but will scratch later and give himself a rash!)
Nothing but a longer blade (10) and witch hazel

6) Do you use an anti-static spray when scissoring? Will this ruin your shears? If you have a favorite product, ie., Groomer's Choice Anti-Static Spray, please list. Jay Scruggs recommends the GC spray.
Yes I use this
Best Shot UltraMAX Pro Pet Finishing Spray | PetEdge.com
but would love to try other sprays (Stazko, just have yet to try it) I also use Bark to Basics anti static spray but I don't care for it. Never heard of it ruining shears.
7) Do you tend to groom in a certain order? Do you tackle the face first or the feet, or does this once again depend on the individual poodle?
I do body first. Feet, scissor up, tail, head last.
8) How do you keep a longer/fuller topknot from falling (you know what I mean, that icky part they get down the middle after a day or two)? Any tips?
Your guess is as good as mine! A thicker coat! LOL

9) What's the best way to get a tight line separating bracelet from upper leg in Miami trim, etc.? Do you use a clipper or shear?
Depends on the length of the body, but 99% of the time I go back in with shears and clean up that line. I think the only time I wouldn't is if I did a super short length on the body like a 10..

10) Do you prefer snap-on combs or scissoring for the finished look? What parts of the poodle do you feel must be scissored (topknot obviously)? Is the #30 blade the best choice when using the combs?
Scissoring! To save on time at work I usually start with snap ons then scissor finish. I only use a 30. I pretty much scissor everything. I set my legth with the snap ons.
- Favorite snap-on combs: Wahl SS!!!!! Hands down!
- Scissoring tips: comb, comb, comb!

GROOMING TOOL MAINTENANCE:
11) What's the best way to clean your clipper blades? I've heard the spray cleaners are bad, etc.
I use the dip to clean my blades. In between to get the hair out I use a toothbrush and those compressed air cans that clean computers. I don't like the sprays but I use them occasionally in a pinch. The dips are very greasy.

12) How often do you sharpen your blades and shears? (After how many grooms...approximately.)
I work part time and I rotate my tools so I go maybe every 3-5 months.
 

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Let me see what I can answer here. One thing to keep in mind, though: Groomers are all taught different things, and some of us have had to figure this stuff out on our own! It's down to what works for you and the dog versus what is "the right way". All my advice is on pets. I am in no way a show groomer.

Drying:
1) I don't start brushing anything until the coat is nearly dry. Where this is exactly is hard to get the hang of. It looks dry to the eye, but to the touch you can still feel some dampness in the coat. No drips, no curls clumping together, everything is lifted and separated, but it's still not "bone dry".

2) I use slickers pretty exclusively, with a comb on hand to tease out mats. Again, I'm not a show groomer. But I do the vast majority of my dematting during the dry/fluff stage. HV's are a godsend for minor matting, the forced air pushes the mats apart. I don't ever hand demat more than I have to (and if it's bad enough that you can't tease it out in a few minutes before the bath or during drying, it should probably be shaved anyway).

3) It helps to dry the shortest parts first, as they will inevitably air dry before you get to it if you do long stuff first. The more you have to mist and re-dry, the longer the process takes.

4) You can HV an entire dog. I don't have stand dryers at my shop (they're too bulky, there's no room), so HV and small fans are all I've got. As in #1, I HV nearly completely, then use a fan for diffused air while I finish with a brush. Note: You can't always get it perfectly straight this way, but you can get pretty close. Heat helps with straightening, but it's also dangerous in inexperienced hands; dogs can overheat and even get burned very easily, even if the heating element is two feet away from them. I don't use heated dryers, period.
 

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Grooming:
5) I have Skin Works on hand for little razor burns, it's very soothing (try it on chapped hands too!).

6) Easiest anti-static spray, standard squirt bottle full of water, and the smallest (we're talking a toothpaste-sized) squirt of your fave conditioner, and shake it up. The small amount of conditioner acts as a de-ionizer. I use Kelco Ultrasilk. It won't damage shears. Scissors need to sit in humidity for extended timeframe to even begin the slightest rusting (i.e. don't store your grooming stuff in your bathroom). The act of scissoring, even on a coat you just misted, will evaporate the water. If you wipe your shears at the end of your groom to dry them and store them in a dry place, there's nothing to worry about.

7) I usually shave the face before the bath to keep from having to blowdry it. After bath, I do nails, feet, hygiene areas. I start the body cut by roughing in the entire neck area (just so I can keep the tether tighter there, and it doesn't catch and pull on longer hair under the chin/ears), down the back and body, then legs. Head is (usually) always done last. This is to be sure you get your head in proportion to the finished body.

8) Floppy topknots, sigh. Honestly, if you don't want to use product (and you don't generally want to leave holding products like hairspray in a coat, as they can cause breakage), the best way to keep them from parting is to take them shorter than you like. Hair is heavy, the longer it is, the floppier it will be (especially on older poodles).

9) My secrets for Miami poofs? (a) Go backwards, up from the bracelet to elbow (or hip). Depends on your blade, though. If you're using a #5F on the body, use a #3F or #4F in reverse. Blades cut slightly shorter in reverse. SS combs will cut more or less the same length in reverse. (b) Don't try to bevel the top of a bracelet like you do the bottom. Gravity will always pull the hair down in a natural rounded shape. You want to shorten the top edges of the bracelet to give it a rounded effect, but leave a little length right at the cuff-line. (c) Don't over-trim those poofs! Scissor the roundness with a light hand. It's really easily to take too much and get a "leg-warmer" effect.

10) I can scissor for days and never be satisfied. My grooms at work are probably 95% snap-on, finished with minor scissoring. I just don't have a lot of time to scissor as much as I'd like. In a time pinch, I "sculpt" with a short sharp blade, #7F to #40 depending on the look I want (think of it like carving, just with hair and a clipper). At home, grooming my own dog, I scissor a lot more. I use Wahl SS combs ALWAYS with a #30 (killed several #40s before I realized you aren't supposed to). I also have an old set of plastic Laube combs I use when more length is called for (the longest is a 2"), with a #40.

Grooming Tool Maintenance:
11) I clean with a toothbrush, the dip cleaners, and sometimes use the HV in a pinch to blast out stubborn hair, or to dry off the dip cleaner. Oil as directed, on the "rails".

12) How often do I sharpen... I have NO idea. When they get dull? LOL. I have multiple blades of each number, and when one gets dull, I set it in the "needs sharpening box" and call the guy when I'm down to the last one. I find I don't need to sharpen my scissors a whole lot probably only two or three times a year (granted, I did say I don't get a lot of scissoring time). We probably have the guy in around every 2 months, and that's on a professional level, 6 dogs a day, 4 days a week.

Unless you've dropped your shears or a blade (everybody does it), or one of them just isn't working quite right, home groomers shouldn't really need to sharpen much at all.
 

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DRYING:
1) When drying a poodle with a HV dryer, do you start brushing the coat while it's still wet-wet or damp or ???
- Pet coat poodle: I rarely if ever brush at all...I use the HV to straighten and set the coat.
- Show coat poodle: No experience

2) What grooming tool (brush and/or comb) do you prefer to use when drying to get the coat straight (and does this change for different coat areas and degree of dryness)?
- Pet coat poodle: Like I said before, I rarely brush while drying with an HV, but if I do I use my soft slicker. Soft slicker with a stand dryer as well (which I am going to start saving up for, yay!)
- Show coat poodle: no experience

3) Do you start drying and/or brushing a certain area of does that depend on the individual poodle and/or trim?

I typically start at the rear and work forwards.

4) What is the primary difference between a HV dryer and a stand (heat) dryer? Can you get the straight, fluffy look with one or the other or do you need both? (ie., what are the pros/cons of both) Primary difference is that there is more heat with a stand dryer (which sets your coat better) AND you have to brush as you dry with a stand dryer.

Pros for an HV: much faster to use, easier to deal with. With a stand dryer, you have to hold the dog, brush, AND keep adjusting your dryer as you go. With an HV, you only have to hold the dog and the dryer. ;)
Cons for an HV: not many in my experience, only that dogs tend to be frightened by the loud motor/air. Can also damage ear drums if you shoot air down the ear canal.

Pros for stand dryer: straightens and sets even the curliest and dense coats. Also can help with removing matting. I've found that dogs are less inclined to fight you if you brush them as they are being dried.

Cons for stand dryer: Harder to handle, especially if the dog isn't used to it or is very wiggly. Trying to hold, brush, and adjust your dryer takes more then two hands. ;)

GROOMING:
5) What products do you recommend to prevent razor burn on poodles with sensitive skin--worst case scenario (ie., Skin Works)? (One of my poodles doesn't get razor burn but will scratch later and give himself a rash!)

Haven't really had this issue, although Trev will occasionally get itchy after his shave and I put Gold Bond fragrance free lotion on him, which worked great. Someone else mentioned witch hazel and I've heard good things about it.

6) Do you use an anti-static spray when scissoring? Will this ruin your shears? If you have a favorite product, ie., Groomer's Choice Anti-Static Spray, please list. Jay Scruggs recommends the GC spray.

Nope, I don't. But I've never heard that they will ruin your shears.

7) Do you tend to groom in a certain order? Do you tackle the face first or the feet, or does this once again depend on the individual poodle?

I usually tackle feet first, then move on to face, tail/sanitary, then body.

8) How do you keep a longer/fuller topknot from falling (you know what I mean, that icky part they get down the middle after a day or two)? Any tips?

CC's Thick N' Thicker volumizing mousse stuff. You work it in after the shampoo, let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes, rinse, then conditioner. (that's a must after that stuff or it makes the hair kind of difficult to brush AND I've heard it can mat the hair.) When I use it on Trev, his tk lasts pretty much until his next bath unless it gets wet. Also, blow dry the hair forward a bit. It helps some.

9) What's the best way to get a tight line separating bracelet from upper leg in Miami trim, etc.? Do you use a clipper or shear?

Use a short blade, like a #7 or shorter. Then comb your bracelet down, scissor around the cuff. Comb it up, scissor around the top, level with where you started your bracelet. Fluff it out, scissor around.

10) Do you prefer snap-on combs or scissoring for the finished look? What parts of the poodle do you feel must be scissored (topknot obviously)? Is the #30 blade the best choice when using the combs?

Hmmm....I prefer soc for the body, then fully scissored legs. I've tried scissoring Trev's body, his coat is so dense and the individual hairs are so thick that my scissors make divots. (I know, I need new ones!) So it's better just to take a soc to it, plus that ensures that you get the body even all over. I feel that the tail and topknot must be scissored, and if you are not taking the dog down short all over, the legs need to be scissored as well. I would say that if you are doing anything longer then a #5, leave the legs fuller and scissor them, it makes the dog look sooo much more balanced!! I personally use either a #10 or a #15 under my combs, a #30 if the dogs coat isn't meshing well w/ the !0 and 15. Soft, cottony coats tend to get clipper marks really easily and sometimes a #30 fixes it.
- Favorite snap-on combs: my metal Wahl ones...they are the best!!
- Scissoring tips: Keep your wrist straight, (reduces strain on your arm) move only your thumb, scissor upwards whenever possible, try not to scissor across the grain of the hair. Comb comb comb!!! All the time...literally. Scissor for 10 seconds, comb, rescissor, comb, rescissor...you get the picture. And don't comb the hair down, use an "egg beating" motion and fluff the hair out straight. With some hair textures, combing up will work better, too.

GROOMING TOOL MAINTENANCE:
11) What's the best way to clean your clipper blades? I've heard the spray cleaners are bad, etc.

Yeah, the spray cleaners are bad, although I occasionally use them as coolant on the blades that I have only one of. I use Oster's blade wash, has always worked for me. Also, an old toothbrush to clean out teeth with. Get a little bit of your blade wash, dip just the teeth of your (running) clipper blade in, let it sit for a bit, then blast out the blade with the HV dryer. OR, just dry the blade off and get off as much hair as possible. Once you are done, put a few drops of oil on them.

12) How often do you sharpen your blades and shears? (After how many grooms...approximately.)[/QUOTE] Honestly, have no idea how many grooms I do between sharpenings. Typically, once every month or two. My scissors tend to last longer. A lot depends on your clipper and blade types. Another thing to think about is blade drives....I replace mine once every month or two, but I'm a professional groomer, my clippers take a beating no matter how hard I try to take care of them. For those of you with one or two dogs....maybe once a year? Something like that...

Well that was fun! Thanks for posting Rowan. :)
 

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[
10) Do you prefer snap-on combs or scissoring for the finished look? What parts of the poodle do you feel must be scissored (topknot obviously)? Is the #30 blade the best choice when using the combs?
QUOTE]

The only thing i can add is..I went to a Jodi Murphy seminar last weekend and she says to only use a 15 blade under the ss combs, she says it makes them much easier to use and she also said something about the 30 blade teeth getting broken off when using them under the ss combs
 

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The main reason the SS combs can break teeth off blades is when the metal tines are knocked out of place. It can happen if you hit a snag in the coat, if they aren't quite sitting right on the blade, or if you drop or bump them, or if your blade itself is not aligned properly. Just be sure to take a look at the tines, they should all be straight and evenly spaced from each other. If, when you turn the clipper on, one of them starts to vibrate (you'll hear it as well as see it), you need to turn the clipper off asap, remove it and straighten the tine out (you can do it just by nudging them very gently to the side with your finger), and re-set it on the blade.

I've used the SS combs over #30, #15, and #10, but I prefer #30. Super thick or coarse coats might work better with the other blades.
 

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[
10) Do you prefer snap-on combs or scissoring for the finished look? What parts of the poodle do you feel must be scissored (topknot obviously)? Is the #30 blade the best choice when using the combs?
QUOTE]

The only thing i can add is..I went to a Jodi Murphy seminar last weekend and she says to only use a 15 blade under the ss combs, she says it makes them much easier to use and she also said something about the 30 blade teeth getting broken off when using them under the ss combs
. Different things work for different people....a lot depends on your blades and clippers too. I've never had trouble with a 10 or a 15 or a 30. I have had soc break teeth on a 40 though. I'll keep what you said in mind though!! And lavillirose has some great points about soc's!!
 

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Grooming Questions

Ok let's see here...
Drying: I dry the head and chest first then work my way back. Try to get as much water off the coat as possible before I start. I don't normally use the power blowers, I have a Oster stand dryer and I get a gorgeous finished coat with that. I imagine if I was in a busy shop, I would have to at least use the HV and then switch to the stand finish dryer because of time.

My favorite tool is a flat slicker brush for drying
To prevent razor burn:clean blades, sharp blades worst case: use a #10 in the direction of the hair growth you should be OK
The trick to keeping a long full topknot up is the way the sides are scissored.
I love scissoring and will scissor as much of the coat as possible.
 

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Love this thread! Can I add a question? Is there any way to keep the back of the bracelets on the back legs fluffy?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Love this thread! Can I add a question? Is there any way to keep the back of the bracelets on the back legs fluffy?
Hopefully the groomers will weigh in with their secrets, but I just brush them out at night with the poodle buttercomb to fluff them up. If they get wet (rain) and then curly, I spritz them with water or grooming spray and then dry them with the Raptor on low. I'm wondering if there's a product that would help keep the hair from curling? Mine stay pretty fluffy even though they sit on them a lot!

Also, mine get bathed every 2-3 weeks while in the Miami so that keeps the bracelets pretty fluffy. :)
 

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Thanks Rowan! It probably doesn't help that Gracie still has her flimsy puppy coat either haha :) I wonder if some spray wax would work, or is that a no-no?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Rowan! It probably doesn't help that Gracie still has her flimsy puppy coat either haha :) I wonder if some spray wax would work, or is that a no-no?
I love CC's Thick N Thicker line. That might help her coat as it provides texture. They have rinses, mousses, and sprays. :) Check it out on the website, including the testimonials.
 

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I have a grooming question! While the CC and Miami cuts are pretty spectacular, I doubt I would ever have the patience to do that to my dog. We spend too much time outside running in the woods. Those crazy coats were part of what put me off from even learning about poodles years ago. Only once I realized just how versatile a dog they are did I start to consider them...and even then, that was only after I met a poodle in a kennel/puppy cut. All of the hair was about an inch, and while the face was cut shorter, it wasn't shaved. The guy who owned this poodle was practicing retrieving for some bird competition.

Are there any threads or links talking about grooming poodles who are used for outdoor utility work...the kennel/puppy cuts that are pretty much the same length all around (with maybe the bracelets because it makes them look like they're wearing bell bottoms and I like that look)? I didn't really find what I was looking for when I searched.

Also, I get why you shave the rear end and the face, but why the neck? Is that to prevent mats from the collar? Is it necessary if the hair is really short?

One last: when the hair is that short, do you have to blow dry the hair? If you're brushing regularly (every few days -> week), will the curlier hair mat anyway?
 

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I have a grooming question! While the CC and Miami cuts are pretty spectacular, I doubt I would ever have the patience to do that to my dog. We spend too much time outside running in the woods. Those crazy coats were part of what put me off from even learning about poodles years ago. Only once I realized just how versatile a dog they are did I start to consider them...and even then, that was only after I met a poodle in a kennel/puppy cut. All of the hair was about an inch, and while the face was cut shorter, it wasn't shaved. The guy who owned this poodle was practicing retrieving for some bird competition.

Are there any threads or links talking about grooming poodles who are used for outdoor utility work...the kennel/puppy cuts that are pretty much the same length all around (with maybe the bracelets because it makes them look like they're wearing bell bottoms and I like that look)? I didn't really find what I was looking for when I searched.

Also, I get why you shave the rear end and the face, but why the neck? Is that to prevent mats from the collar? Is it necessary if the hair is really short?

One last: when the hair is that short, do you have to blow dry the hair? If you're brushing regularly (every few days -> week), will the curlier hair mat anyway?
I'm not a professional groomer, but wanted to weigh in on some of your comments.

The CC is rarely practical and mostly (there are exceptions) only show poodles are kept in this clip. I think you may be confused as to what the Miami is. I attached some pictures of my girl in a Miami, which is the "short all over but with bracelets" clip that you are talking about. I like this clip because it's practical, easy to maintain, but still distinctly poodley. We do lots of outdoor activities as well so it's easier to maintain than something longer like a lamb clip.

Grooming is going to be essentially the same no matter the clip. Longer clips take more maintenance (bathtime takes longer, you spend more time combing and brushing, takes longer to dry) and also take a lot more scissory and fine-tuning than shorter clips to create but that's about it.

Not sure I know what you mean by shaving the neck? Are you meaning the "V" underneath the chin? I leave a tiny bit of a crest on the neck but take it down pretty short because my spoo girls wear collars all the time. Collars cause matting and hair breakage, so I just prefer to keep it short. I do shave the "V" into the neck. I think that looks nicer than not and I'm not sure the real reason behind it, but there has to be some sort of distinction if you shave the face as to where that ends and the regular coat begins. I think the V looks nice, but don't suppose you have to do it if you don't want to. I don't shave the rear end any different than the rest of the body. I keep faces and feet shaved short (#40) because I like that look, and it's much cleaner.

You don't have to blow dry if you don't mind curls. Any coat is going to take regular combing and brushing. All blow-drying does is make the hair straight. Air-drying will cause the hair to form curls as it dries. With daily brushing/combing I think you could avoid mats even without blowing the hair straight, especially with shorter clips.

Does this help?

In these photos, Nova's body and top part of legs are with a #5, face and feet with a #10. I'll be taking her body down to a #7 in a couple weeks.
 

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My three standards are all kept in a modified kennel clip as they are farm dogs the older two of whom compete in tracking over the autumn & winter. They also spend quite a bit of time on the beach which means running in the surf even in winter. I keep mine short all over (the longest they usually get clipped is a #4 blade. I don't leave bracelets on mine as they would attract too much in the way of stuff like grass seeds or sand.
I usually only blow dry with a HV drier when they are really wet or after a bath otherwise they are towelled off. I don't worry too much about a bit of curl. I take the neck hair short too & basically leave only topknot & tails as I want low maintainance, practical coats. I also shave necks as Joey & Sky love wrestling play with each other too. Mine usually only wear collars when away from home & wear tracking harnesses when competing & training. I also shave faces & keep feet short too.
Hope that helps with another experience of an alternate way of doing things.
 

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Hopefully this will work to post a photo. Tia is the chocolate, Joey & Sky are the two silvers. Tia has her Tracking Dog title & will be going for her Tracking Dog eXcellent at her first trial back this season while Joey has his TDX & will be going for his T.Ch. Sky hasn't started her tracking career yet but will hopefully be starting Rally O this year as she is only a year old,
 
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