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Discussion Starter #1
I need help from you conformation groomers. For some reason I am having trouble getting my boy's ears looking good. Specifically, the ear flaps and the area right in front of the ear canal. I've been trimming, but it just isn't turning out right. There is lots of short hairs sticking out between the top of the ear on the head and the start of the ear ( the base?). Also the area right in front of the ear canal. I thinned and trimmed but not he looks like he has cauliflower growing out of his ears. Can someone show me pictures and explain? I've had goldens for over 30 years, but for some reason I'm having problems now. Please help!
 

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I don't show, but do the same grooming a show golden would get. You generally do ears with Shears not scissors. Then you have to make sure you're using the right size shears. You want a fine shear something like a 46 tooth shear. It's all I use for ears and get a totally natural soft ear.



Here is a site with good information to start with and will help with positioning of the shear (generally vertical, not horizontal.
Morningsage Goldens Grooming
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have seen the grooming tutorial. I have 46 six tooth grooming shears, I have the DVD by Deb Oster and the DVD by Strickland. I have shown goldens in the past, got my first show dog in 1990, but for some reason I'm having trouble with the afore mentioned areas. I haven't seen them particularly addressed....What can I say? I'm having senior moments......
 

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Kate
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Deb... if it helps (if not - I trust people who have been doing this for ages like Anney and others will post in the AM!) -

A. I brush out the ears with a slicker. Down/out towards the edge where I'll cut.

B. I trim that edge of the ears smooth and tight. That's with the underside of the ear facing me while I cut (so the cut line isn't showing above the ear leather like if you trim with the outside of the ear facing you).

C. Flip the ear and use a mars stripper to thin out going down the neck. Then that area beneath the ear flap but kinda in front of the ear hole, I go back over and trim close in front of the ear canal (under the ear flap) with thinning shears.

D. If I've let the ears get hairy, I'll use a stripper and thinning shears, but if not I'll use a stripping knife to smooth out the new fuzz growing on the ear flap. And I'll use the stripping knife as a finisher under the ear too, just smoothing things out.


Generally speaking, I don't mind leaving some of the fuzzy hair on the ears as long as it's smoothed out.


Now what you were describing, I really wasn't sure where the problem is? Maybe you just need to smooth out with a stripping knife....? Stripping knives can sometimes fix errors...

Under the ear you can trim pretty close to the ear canal. It's tough to guess without seeing the ear. I know some dogs have pretty thick hair on the necks and around their ears.
 

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Ears are the hardest to get right, imo-
in front of the ear, I pull the ear back (open and basically held against the back of the skull), and kinda lay the thinners against the back of the dog's cheek to get that hair growing @ front of the ear canal. Some of them don't have a lot, others have so much it takes as long to get that hair as it does the top of the ear. The ones that have a lot of hair I aim for a half moon shape of thinned hair here.
Then I do the edges, from just in front of the tip all the way to the back of the ear. I don't trim the front of the ear at all.
Then I bevel that edge toward the body of the ear.
Then I brush the hair back so it's standing straight out, and use the thinners to make that hair all the same length. And get behind the ear, pretty tight, down the neck.
 

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Kate
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Ears are the hardest to get right...
Gotta say one of the things I learned or found is that ears are the easiest to overdo if you are trying to do too much in one grooming session. :)

I do worry more about the feet because there's 4 of them and only 2 ears. :laugh: There's always 1 foot that drives me crazy because the dog moved and I accidentally took out more than I wanted.
 

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Ears are the hardest to get right, imo-

Amen to that.



I read all the tips and tricks here and have also read that tutorial (though I am going to read it again now that I have the link in front of me again!). In about six years of doing Shala's ears, I have only done it one time that I was pretty happy with (the most recent time, so maybe I'm getting better?). Just the difference in holding the shears vertically made a big difference. But I know from the people I train with that this is a widespread challenge among Golden owners who don't show their dogs. We all want our dogs to look clean and well groomed, but man, if only ears were as easy as paws!
 

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Kate
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Here's another one since I'm dragging my feet about running to the store to get necessary groceries for supper tonight! :) And this is less for Deb who knows all this since she showed her dogs before and more in general.

I had Bert come over and let me take a pictures of the underside of his very untrimmed ear. :D

Pic on the left, you can see what an untrimmed ear looks like. And pic on the right I have marked up per the below -

a. I trim with clippers or straight shears (my cheap conairs). I prefer the shears because I think they get razor burn with the clippers. This is to open up the ear canal. A lot of dogs get very hairy here and it can probably cause more ear infections when they go swimming....

b. I trim back with thinning shears. As Robin said above, this can get trimmed back quite a bit. It's all hidden under the ear flap. I would take it back very close up by the ear canal, and within reason as you work your way down along the curve (more blending there).

c. Hopefully just 1 smooth cut with long straight shears to create a smooth clean line.

d. You are getting more visible sort of behind the ear, so stripper and thinning shears - or primarily stripper and stripping knife, but stopping and brushing to check what it looks like throughout to make sure I'm not removing too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Kate, your pictures directly above show the areas I'm most concerned about right now, the stuff in front of the ear canal/behind cheek. Would you happen to have a similar picture, but with the area trimmed? I'm having trouble posting pictures, but I'll try to get a picture of Barney up later today. Thanks everyone for your help.
 

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:wink2:Debbie, I have no advice, but I would love to see a Barney photo!:wink2:
 

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Kate
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Kate, your pictures directly above show the areas I'm most concerned about right now, the stuff in front of the ear canal/behind cheek. Would you happen to have a similar picture, but with the area trimmed? I'm having trouble posting pictures, but I'll try to get a picture of Barney up later today. Thanks everyone for your help.
I don't know if this helps?

I got Bert up on the table and did a quick clean up. If I were showing in the next couple weeks (he won't show again until September in Goodells probably), I'd fuss more. With the profile pic - you can see a rough spot on the front edge of his ear towards the tip, I'd blend that in a little more (and I still might, but he also needs a bath before I give him a full groom!).

I don't know if it shows up in the pic very well, but you can see the skin around the ear canal is a little irritated - Bert has no ear infection. But Jovi LOVES licking Bertie's ears. Drives me nuts. :laugh:
 

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I was planning to take some pics of the dog I groomed today remembering he had abundant hair there but it was his 'brother' who had it all, this one had barely any so I didn't. I'll get to my boys prob. Wednesday and it'd be good to take some pics anyway even if it's too late for you.
 

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Thank you so much for doing Bertie's ears for me. I see the fringe of hair by the cheek gets trimmed more closely. That helps me to get an idea of what to do. Here are a couple of pics of Barney. I didn't realize how bad he looks until I saw the pictures. I guess I'm over-thinking the whole deal. Feel free to tell me how and what to attack.
 

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Kate
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Me personally (I hope Robin posts what she does though too because I'm always learning!) - I'd strip all that out with a mars stripper, tackle the area in front with thinning shears, and go over with a stripping knife until it's smoothed out.

His bib (down his neck on the sides and front) should really be cleaned up too. :)

Very pretty little guy. Lovely pigment and beautiful eyes especially. <B
 

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I was planning to take some pics of the dog I groomed today remembering he had abundant hair there but it was his 'brother' who had it all, this one had barely any so I didn't. I'll get to my boys prob. Wednesday and it'd be good to take some pics anyway even if it's too late for you.
Thanks Robin!:)
 

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Me personally (I hope Robin posts what she does though too because I'm always learning!) - I'd strip all that out with a mars stripper and then stripping knife and thinning shears until it's smoothed out.

His bib (down his neck on the sides and front) should really be cleaned up too. :)

Very pretty little guy<:
Thanks.:)
The last time I tried to strip his neck with a stripper, I went too wild, not taking my time, and stripped a ton of guard hairs out. It's just finally growing back in. I'll try it again and do just a little at a time. Hopefully I'll have a better pic to show later in the week. I really appreciate the help.:)
 

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:wink2:Debbie, I have no advice, but I would love to see a Barney photo!:wink2:
I apologize, I look a bit scruffy in my pictures, Auntie Nicky. My momma has been letting me down. I want you to please let her know your new address where you landed after you and Uncle Brian flew the coop and took off for parts unknown!.......The Barney
 

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Thank you so much for doing Bertie's ears for me. I see the fringe of hair by the cheek gets trimmed more closely...
Actually - thank YOU for motivating me to get around to grooming the little man. :smile2: Because I'm keeping him out of small shows, he has not been shown much this year. Which means that I'm giving him weekly baths, but not always trimming his ears and feet every week.

The uneven edge in front bugs the heck out of me enough that I'm likely going to give him a bath and full groom before we go to a fun match this week.

As it is though he looks better with the neatened ears.
 

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Following! I agree ears are the hardest to get right-been a professional pet groomer for over 10 years (I've been doing golden "show" ears for about 8 years. And yes, I know there is a world of difference between pet grooms and show grooms!). I still have not done golden ears to my satisfaction. Most of my client goldens I do more trimming on than what would probably be done on a show golden because they don't come that often and I want to prevent matting behind the ears between grooms. But on my own golden, I just can't seem to get it right. I feel like I either take off too much or not enough. And I always hate how it looks under the ears on the neck-my girl gets hair in that area quite a bit longer than the rest of her neck, but it seems like if I strip out the length it looks like a big hole behind her ears; but if I don't strip it out it looks like a big fluffy wing behind/under her ears!

Not sure how to insert pictures with the text, but first two pictures are April's ears about a week after grooming. The second picture shows the fluff under/behind the ears I was talking about-I didn't trim it at all this groom because I stripped out too much last groom and am letting it grow back. I do her ears about every 4 weeks. The last picture is April's ear right after being groomed (sometime last summer I think) and I feel like I took off too much in that photo.

Appreciate any tips/critiques as well! Thanks!
 

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