It is always nice to keep your dogs coat trimmed, for the show ring it keeps them smart and presentable, defines shape and gives an overall finish to the dog, as a pet it will keep coat neat and will stop any problems with knots.
There are many different scissors to do different jobs, cut different coat lengths and give different finishes to the coat.
While trimming also have your brushes and combs available to brush away any lose hair so you can see how much you have taken off. Only trim a little bit at a time and take it bit by bit.
A lot of people use grooming tables for grooming their dogs, it can ache on the back a bit after if you do it with the dog on the floor, however not everyone has a grooming table but it has been my god send and have no idea how I coped without it!
I will talk you though my normal routine of doing things. I will normally do one of my dogs in one go, but why not do it over a couple of days so not to stress the dog out too much if they are not used to it. Remember I am doing this for the show ring and I want everything perfect for a particular day.
Firstly I start with the dog on the floor to do the neck. All the hair on the front of the neck to the chest needs to be thinned out using the thinning scissors, I use the double thinning rather then the single. (You could use clippers and shave the hair off but the end effect is no-where near as stunning and tends to ruin the coat). First of all I will sit the dog down and hold the head up vertical. I will be positioned behind the dog.
I will start from the top side, on the under ear, and work down the neck, slowly taking a little bit off at a time and using the bristle brush to brush away all the lose hair. Like all grooming it will take time, keep thinning the hair until it is short, neat and tidy. It's hard to describe but I hope the pictures will help.
Next is where the dog goes onto the grooming table at a nice height
Next up is the ears. To start their are two options I will give you, the first being to hand strip, the second using the fine tooth comb (better with pictures)
To hand strip take the ear as shown and with thumb and first finger, "pluck" the coat, this will take out any dead hair. Do this even on both ears and all over the ears. You are not aiming to get the hair short, but more to thin it out. You will notice the coat will lay better and look a lot neater.
You're other option is to get the fine tooth comb comb, brush the coat to detangle it, then, from the top of the ear, put the comb in the hair, but your thumb over comb and hair and pull, this will take out any dead hair like the hand stripping job.
Next is trimming and shaping the ears. Their is two ways to have the ears, one is shaped where the hair is trimmed to the shape of the leather, giving a very neat "sculptured" effect, you you can leave them more natural. I personally used to think I liked the natural, although my mum liked "sculptured" until I left Maisie's ears to grow and realised it didn't suit her, so now I go on what suits the individual dog.
To "sculpture" the ear you will need your small, straight scissors. Trim the coat to the shape of the leather approx 3-6mm away.
For the natural ear, leave it, hence natural, however every now and again the ears will come too long, even with regular care and this is where I find you use the thinning scissors lightly on the hair to make it shorter, but not even, I recommend you do this at least 5 days before a show if you show your dog(s) to let it grow out a little bit more. While on the ears, check the inside of the dogs ears. If the hair is looking too long and is going in the ear, trim it back a bit to help keep the ears clean and this will help prevent infection.
If your dog is prone to dirty ears a product called "Thornit" really does work with cleaning out ears and leaves them smelling better. It is a powder left in the ar to work it's 'magic.' I don't think I can rate it enough.
Next job is the feet, this can always be a challenge if dog has ticklish feet. To trim the feet you will need your small, straight scissors.
Start with under the pad's as shown. Having a build up of hair under the foot will give a dog less grip on a smooth surface. Hold the foot out and trim all the hair away to level with the pad. Your dog may be more comfortable laying down while having his/her feet trimmed.
Once you have finished under the pads do the top of the feet. With the straight scissors still, left all the hair from between the toes and cut straight up the paw to level the hair . This will prevent the hair in between the toes becoming so thick and the feet splaying.
Next step is the pasterns. This is the equivalent of our wrist and ankles on a dog in a way. On the front pasterns you want to get the straight Scissors and trim up to the stopper pad (about 1-2 inches up).
The back pasterns need the hair being brushed up and with the thinning scissors take all the hair off. to leave the hair short, similar to the neck.
The trimming to the feet and pasterns helps a lot in winter when it is muddy. Mud get traps in hair easily. If your dog has less hair on it's feet it will bring less mud into the house.
You will also need to regularly trim your dogs nails. Hold the paw and use the nail clippers to trim them. Most red and whites have white nails so the Quick is easy to see (where the nail goes a pinky/red colour). Try not to cut the quick. But if you do, don't worry. They do stop quickly and it's something everyone does, including myself!!!!
Remember that hair on a dog grows back.