Grooming with Balance, Symmetry, and Style

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Shannon Moore, NCMG  |  Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products, Grapevine, TX

What exactly does this mean in the wonderful world of dog grooming and showing dogs? In both worlds, I have had the privilege to see many beautiful and fancy dogs of all varieties, sizes, and breeds.  The trims on many breeds are getting quite fancy, and even straying away from the breed standard.  Let’s face it, hair in the right places can camouflage even the worst faults.  In the dog show world, judges are being forewarned to “look beyond the hair” and to put their hands on the dog and feel for the fault.  However, in the grooming world, if we can camouflage a serious fault and make the dog look more structurally correct, our clients love it! And we should do just that!

However, even when we are camouflaging a fault (like a bad front or rear), the trim should still exemplify some balance and symmetry.  In order to achieve balance and symmetry, every hair does not have to be the same length, and the front and the back do not have to be identical.  However, the front portion of the dog and the rear portion of the dog need to balance each other out. Don’t be afraid to step back and take a look at the dog.   Is it too top heavy? Does it have so much hair on the front half compared to the back half?  Does it look like the dog is going to fall forward because it has so much hair? It is always a good idea to stand back and take a good hard look on every dog that you groom.  Can the dog move without the front and back legs touching? Develop an eye for these little things and train your eye to understand balance.  Maybe even snap a picture of the profile with your phone.  Even if you are not doing a show trim, which most of the time you won’t be, use the same set of guidelines and rules for pet trims.  Just because you “only groom pets”, doesn’t mean that you can’t make little changes leaving more hair in some places than in others to hide a fault. Try to groom the dog to breed standard but much shorter so it is easier to maintain.  After all, you are an artist! Take a few extra minutes and make the dog look fantastic.  This will set you apart from other pet stylist in your area.  This will help you drive repeat business and get referrals.  Stepping up your grooming a notch and continue to strive to improve and learn.  That’s what it is all about. Happy grooming!

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