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Basically, do you have any tips that you can pass on to a novice that will make my little darling stand out from the rest.   

Alternatively, have you had any disasters just before a Breed Championship Show that still brings you out in a cold sweat.  Have you learned the right time to put down the thinning scissors or are you still battling the urge to take just a bit more off the top.  We've all been there...and then you hear that voice in the back of your head,

"you shouldn't have done that!" 

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Buy a working dog and you don't need scissors at all! :-D

Buy a staight coat dog and throw away the hair dryer!

Hi Lesley,

Firstly I would ask your breeder to help and advise you and show you how to trim. 

Secondly,  You trim to enhance.  No two dogs will be trimmed the same way as no two dogs have exactly the same coat.

Start on the neck, ears and hocks about two weeks in advance.  That way if you make a mistake the coat has time to grow back.  You can always keep cutting and tweaking if you haven't done enough.  Do not cut the long hair at the hocks too hard.  It can make them look spindly.  Don't cut the ears back too hard you don't want to make them look butchered.  Keep everything looking soft and natural.  Only use hairdressing scissors to trim around the feet, use thinning scissors on everything else, including the hair between the toes.  Trim the feet a few days before the show so they look neat.  The rest is just practice.  The more you do it the better you become.

Good luck!!

Hi Lesley, I own your pups sister! I would definitely recommend that you speak to his breeder about trimming. I remember Teresa giving demonstrations many years ago and I learnt a lot from them! Unless you see somebody doing it correctly and up close it is difficult to describe. Different people use different methods but I would agree with Evas description above. Having owned three generations of beautiful Suteresett setters I can confirm that you have been very lucky with your choice of Irish Setter, so make the most of Teresas knowledge!

Teresa has been very helpful, in fact I'm meeting up with her at Cruft in a few weeks.  

I am getting to grips with the trimming, I know what I should be doing but I need to practice and I'm sure I'll make mistakes.  I've also got a very good poodle parlour near by.  I took Benson to her for many years but she won't trim show dogs (which is fair enough), but she also has been very helpful.  I must take some photos and post them tomorrow.  

Lesley it is wonderful that you are preparing your own dog. It does take courage. My boys always had their necks clipped by a professional groomer and with the help of a breeder who is also a professional groomer I 'learnt' the rest. Finally it just seemed obvious to have a go at all of it. My boys are more relaxed as one in particular used to hate going to the salon. Murphy has thrown his head once which resulted in a line that was not complimentary (worthy of a paperbag over his head)!  It grew back. I don't show them very often but I do love to have them looking good. Practice away, take a lot of photos and notes if you are lucky enough to have a great breeder to help. Most of all enjoy another aspect of owning an Irish Setter.

Warning I have set a limit on how many grooming tools and size of grooming box I will have. Tool purchase can become hobby in itself! Some of the grooming boxes at shows are worthy of prize themselves.

Dear Lesley,

Here in SA owners of my pups may live hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres away, so to help them keep their Irish looking smart I devised the attached file of information, plus a couple of photos.  I am sure others have different methods and products which they use, but as a self taught clipper, I found this procedure works for me.    


Thanks everyone.  

I agree with you Rhonda.  I've got stuff I've never even used or you grow attached to a certain brush only to find it chewed up and spat out (mention no names Rigsby), but then you get no sympathy from Hubby who just says you shouldn't have left it on the floor! 

Gorgeous girl, Bridget.  I think trimming a young dog is the trickiest...what with the squiggling.  You definitely need three hands.  One for scissors, one to hold the ear back and one for scratching ones own head wondering what to do next. 

That at the moment is my main concern.  Rigsby's coat is still fine as he's a pup and trying to get a seamless look is tricky.

Wish my puppies would read the advise about not trimming to the breast bone, they have chewed James's bib for me !!!   Wait ages for him to get a full coat then it disappears in minutes.

Lesley, if you look in Teresa's grooming bag you will get an idea of the kind of tools you will need. We do not use clippers on Irish in the UK and we do not take the whiskers or eyebrows off but you might want to remove some of the thick white ones. Whatever tools you get it is worth investing in good quality. Most people use thinning scissors with one toothed blade and one plain blade. Try to get medium length hairdressing scissors as the big ones are cumbersome for trimming feet. Cushion bristle brushes are the best. There are some very good Mason Pearson look alikes at a third of the price. Get a pair of good quality nail clippers. I personally do not like the "guillotine" type but that would be your choice. Diamond Edge will be at Crufts. They specialise in grooming equipment. Have a look there. They will help you.
Just to take up on a point Michelle made regarding trimming down to the breast bone. If you have a long necked dog then her advice is good but if the neck is short then you do want to go right down. When a dog is stacked the hair/skin on the neck does ride up so you have to make allowance for that. We have all made mistakes so don't worry...coat grows back.
Oh also get yourself a little box of latex finger thingies (what ever they are called). They make plucking out dead and unwanted hair, especially on the head, much easier.

Rigsby is coming up for 11 months old and I've noticed that he's started to get a lot of untidy, long hairs, especially on his back and shoulders.  They fall out very easily when brushed so I assumed it was old puppy coat or is it new adult coat coming through?




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