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Professional pet grooming guides: learn how to groom the head of an American cocker spaniel.
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We are going to start off with clipping the head and for this; we use a normal pair of clippers. On this occasion, we are using an Oster 10 blade. We start by clipping the top 3rd of the head towards the top of the skull. Just go straight up there and open up the top. Pull in the ear, around the back of the ear just into the nape of the neck no further but do not decide that the skull id going to straight up the skull and straight up the top. We do not want anything left on the side of this head at all. Straight, do not go round the head just go straight to go and clean up the side. Open up this little flap of skin. Clip inside there. Just clean any of these bits away so there’s nothing hanging down. And open up his ear, we’ll clip round the ear canal. Just have to keep going in different direction so we can get it shortest as possible because the hair grows in all sorts of different directions inside the ear and then down, put the clippers down. Just clean out the top about an inch round the ear canal.
Quite important that from just from a making it look neat and tidy from an exhibition point of view but also that makes the air to circulate in the ear because Spaniels are notorious for getting—with ears. So you could clean all that out. Now we are going to start with the side of the cheeks and again we want it flat against the gray.
You put your thumb into his mouth and just stretch the skin of his lower jaw so that you can clean all along there. It’s all ruffled up the skin so if you stretch it, it just means you can get rid of all the hairy.
We start by putting blade tight between the corner of the two eyes; the inside corner of the two eyes and scoop out towards the nose. And then holding him, we want the chiseling to hide the highlight underneath his eye. Clean right out just take in the blade, scoop in out underneath the eye and then we are going to clean off the sides of his muzzle. Along the muzzle, we use the edge of the clipper blade rather than it being flat, we are using the edge. And we want good cushioning. Very important as well to get that hair off from in front of his nose and underneath there and again it just starts to just push this velvety pushiness; this thick lips that we want to highlight. A bit enough the sides of the cheeks. We want really flat cheeks. The head wants to be a brick shape when we are finished so the sides of the head are fully balanced through this nice thick push muzzle.
Off the top of the head and very important, the sides of the eye. We do not want anything sticking out all on the sides of his head. Since most people believe that this is a continuation of the eye brow sticking around and just spoils the expression on the shape.
Depending upon the dog is the dog’s got a long foreface. We leave that line across the eyes. If he’s got short foreface, we are actually taking inverted “V” in there. This dog’s got a mud rip foreface. A quite nicely balanced head; the length of the muzzle should be approximately a third of the length of the whole head from the front to the back. So he’s quite a balance and then he has got these nice thick lips. Of you want to accentuate things further, that’s why I brought a 15 blade today, we can take more off the front here with a 15 blade and if this dog has good chiseling under the eye, you can say that he’s got the bone structure in to the eye gives this nice, you can see his lower eyelid. If that was not as visible as it is. When I went there underneath there with a 10 blade, you would go underneath with the 15 and that would accentuate that. I do not need to do it. This dog has got quite nice chiseling under the eye because it’s going to blend the top of the head now with the thinning scissors.
And I just brush the coat all to one side. Let me get the thinning scissors and then we cut along the side of the head. Remembering that we do not come round the head at this point; we want everything that’s sticking out the side so in doing so, any long hairs were taken down side; we are going right down the side of the head. And then we’ll just brush it the other way.
Now again, when we look at the top knot, you have quite a nice high rise over the skull on an American Cocker. If you’ve got something with an exceptional high rise, you do not have to leave very much of this top know on at all. If you’ve got a flat skull, then you need to build it up. I would say one of the most common things that people leave as far as grooming is concerned. The peoples’ tendency to leave a lot of hair on the top knot; this should not have a lot. This should have as little as possible really but you have to build that into the dog depending upon his head shape. And again, this dog’s got quite a reasonable height over his dome. So we do not leave a great deal there.
We are just going to blend that in now. You can see that whether long or short, made it still a little bit of a line. So we are just going to blend in with a thinning scissors. You can see the effect that we are trying to achieve the nice rise over the skull going to gently tape it towards the back. If this top of the head is wavy, he’s got nice straight coat there on the top, if it’s wavier as well to actually hand strip that into shape. There’s a curl in the middle there you use the thinning scissors. You just end up taking it down so that there’s no coat left so try to get rid of the wave of the curl; where as if you hand strip that, you can pull that into the shape and that you’ll straighten the coat more easily.
Now, we finish the top of his head and we are just going to take his eyelashes off because we do not want them because again, they stick out. So take the eye lashes just cut them down and if theirs any little bits that you’ve missed with the clippers because he was being awkward to the clippers, you can just take them off with a straight edged scissors.
Now the ears; this is important because again, everything’s for neatness and this fold of skin. When you’re done with the clippers there was this long hair, fringe of hair running down the side and if you actually look at it now, you got this untidy piece. I’m going to take that off with the scissors and you can see how neat that would look. I always hold my finger and thumb right close to the edge of the ear. So you have no chance of actually cutting them. This is good for the ears—straightens the coat. You can see that we’ve got this nice head shape now, it’s balanced, it’s like a brick, the back skull has this refined. The foreface is nice and chunky with nice thick lips and you’ve got this push effect with no edges sticking out. Everything’s clean, clean cheeks, clean underneath here.