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In Pursuit of Well-Groomed Feet - Tips?

1096 Views 22 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Megora
In my intro thread I shared that I rode horses for 40 years. One of the only ways I could piece that together was to do my own grooming (and also I loved that aspect of it). I actually worked for horse trainers and was paid to do this for many years, I was able to do it a pro level.

SO with my first dog Bitsy, I am starting from zero, and trying to learn the ropes of at least some grooming basics for Goldens. One of the things I have seen and can’t unsee is what a properly groomed Golden foot looks like. It just looks so nice when it’s done well. It’s my goal to get really good at it. Got a long way to go but I enjoy practicing and learning. I have been trying to get better and better each time I have the chance to trim up Bits.

Some tips I already have received are:
  • Get a grooming table. Lucky to have a friend who has a dog grooming business, she recommended a budget friendly one. It certainly does not have electronics or hydraulics so we also use leftover hamburger and my old mounting block from horses (i.e. steps) for Bits to hop on and off. She’s agreeable.
  • Have a variety of scissors, including the curved scissors. Got ‘em, they might need to be nicer, I cheaped out on Amazon for my first go-round.
  • Try to trim the foot like a cat’s paw (using the slicker brush against the hair) - so hard.
  • Effectively, groom considering each toe, vs. thinking of it as one foot. This was a tip from B’s breeder who is a great + professional groomer; it helped to think of it in this way.

My biggest challenge is taking too much out between the toes and making them look cloven. Working on that.

I hope I get great at this as I learn more and time goes on.
If anyone else is into grooming feet, feel free to share some other tips.

Pics of a recent attempt - it’s impossible to hurt my feelings about this, I know I’m just a beginner.

1. Bitsy on the table - this is just for up/down agreeability. She’s secured in the nooses when she is being groomed.

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2. Back feet, took out too much of the “in betweens” and made them too cloven.

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Front feet: dang, that cat-paw look is tough to ach


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Excellent tips, Megora, thank you! I also have been my Wahl clippers on the bottom of the feet and right behind the pads to be quick about it, because I want it to always be a positive experience for Bits and she tolerates it, but I wouldn’t say she zones out, takes a nap, or likes it. She allows it. So I try to be speedy and/or do it in phases over a day or two so I don’t burn out our happy-ish time up there. I see what you’re saying about less hair making the cat’s paw more difficult. I would say as a dog Bitsy is not terribly long-haired and has a shorter coat in general, at least at this age (9.5 mos). But also, I’m a noob, so I can’t blame the hair; we can safely blame the amateur wannabe groomer in this scenario, lol. I’m sure I need lost and lots more practice.

I still vacuum every day and twice a day on holidays, so if she has less hair from a length or volume standpoint, this does not translate to shedding any less!
 

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Good Sunday morning (east coast time) and thanks for the feedback. I’ll keep practicing. It’s really fun for me to learn all about these types of things.

I will stop short of showing you guys what I did to the butt hairs/pantaloons last week, overzealous with the thinning shears. Let’s just say 1. Nothing will be getting stuck in there anytime soon and 2. I’m glad it’s just hair and it grows back! 😂
 

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** spoiler alert, this is about the business end so stop reading if you are enjoying your morning coffee and not ready for that level of talk yet today**

We had an issue with a couple of poo balls getting stuck on them last week. And then she was terrified by that, and spinning around in a circle, and then her next instinct was to SIT on the entangled poo ball. So I took some corrective action to, let’s say, make some room. It wasn’t for aesthetics, and good to know that is not needed in general! This was a special circumstance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
👋 to fellow horse people, @Bradenton&ME and @Goldens&Friesians! And thank you for the kind words. This is a challenge to learn the ropes but overall still easier than my 16.2 horse who loved mud and was adept at encrusting his whole body like The Swamp Thing! There were days that I approached him in the paddock, assessed the situation, and just turned around and let him stay that way, lol.

The oval foot shape that a few folks have mentioned is interesting and makes sense. I’ll have to read about that some more. I do think I need better - or at least sharper - round scissors so I may look into that also!

And now for a gratuitous Bitsy pic from the park. We are counting the days until pitchers and catchers report. Go, Phillies!

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Collar Dog supply
 

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Kate, thank you so much for that article (and that site seems like a good resource). Your dog’s feet look awesome! I don’t think I will ever get that poof due to her reduced level of hair. But I will definitely keep those feet tidy and stop making them look like cloven hooves which has been my biggest mistake to date, near as I can tell 😳. That’s been happening when I push the hair up through the toes and then trim it (with scissors, probably dulling scissors). As suggested, there simply just isn’t that much hair and I think I should slow my roll on that. I’ll continue to snap some better pics as well as I attempt to improve, and get better angles.

As I have left horses after 40 years and just have my toe in the water in the world of dogs, it’s really interesting to me how many parallels there are, importance of foot structure and associated care being a big one. I have always been fussy about my service providers - has to be a fit, same philosophy, mutual appreciation for a good partnership. My farrier when I had horses almost became a civil engineer when he was younger - that’s how scientific and specific the work needed to be for each horse. I always found the science so interesting and this curiosity translates into what I am starting to learn here about dogs. Meaning, I think there’s hope for me, lol.

Separately: I have noticed here and there a few people referencing horses. I did a search of the forums and haven’t found a recent thread on it. Maybe I’ll cast a net on the Other Pets board to collect the current group, if anyone’s interested.

Sarah (and Bitsy)
 
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