Our friends at EGRC keep promising us a Grooming Seminar, but due to an inability to find an appropriate site, they instead sent us a link to a grooming tutorial. This grooming tutorial will give you the basics to groom your own dog like a champion, without having to pay a professional groomer! We are starting here with ears, and have slightly modified the actual tutorial, as presented by and with permission of Morningsage Goldens. We will be printing the remainder of the tutorial over the course of the next year, but if you are impatient to learn more, visit the website,
medium/fine tooth steel comb
a slicker brush (wire pins)
good quality straight scissors (7½” size is good)
High quality Thinning Shears (46-tooth/serrated on one blade only)
Toenail chippers, or a Dremel tool for grinding nails, or Oster Nail Grinder
Grooming table or rubberized matting on an old table
A cool drying blow dryer
Pin brush (no balls on the end of the pins)
Dental cleaning tools
Stripping knife of Mars Coat King.
Start grooming with a clean, dry dog, freshly bathed or at least, thoroughly brushed. First we will start with the EARS. Be sure to read everything before starting.
This is a relatively ungroomed ear. See the fine fuzzy stuff on the top (or base of the ear, as well as the long straggly fluff behind the ear.
Start with the fuzzies behind the ear.
Hold your thinning shears vertically as shown, and get the blades under the fuzzy stuff fairly close to the skin.
Make about 3 cuts with the blades, then stop, brush out and look. You will probably need to repeat this several times, but note, we don’t want to totally remove the hair, we just want to thin it, and trim the straggly stuff so it will lay down nicely on the neck.
Normally, you would be holding the dog’s ear forward and out of the way while doing this.
Trim with thinning shears from the starting point shown, toward the face. On most dogs, not much is needed here. You do not want to trim the inside of the ear flap totally smooth and short or you will create a very ”hard look” for your dog. The exception would be on a dog with extremely heavily coated ears (inside and out) in which case you may wish to thin quite well on the inside of the ear flap.
Next trim the hair in front of the base of the ear using the same method with the thinning shears; thin, brush, look, repeat. The hair immediately around the ear opening should be trimmed close, or plucked with forceps, taking care not to have bits of hair fall inside the ear canal. The hair under the fulcrum of the scissors in this picture, actually on the dog’s neck, should be thinned this way from about 2” below the ear, up to the base of the ear.
Unless you have a dog with heavily coated ears inside, you will only need to make one “light” stroke with the thinning shears here, at the most one stroke this direction, and one stroke close to the skin under the coat going the opposite direction (towards the dog’s nose).
Notice, by looking at your dog’s ear, that the hair naturally grows longer at the top, and shorter towards the tip. When trimming the hair, we want to neaten and shorten, but in essence, keep the “natural effect.” Take too much off, and again you will change the “soft” facial express of your Golden, to a very “hard” look.
So with that in mind, do this trimming in small increments, over a period of several days, in which time you have the opportunity to look at your progress, without having “butchered” the dog. In the photo above, notice the angle that the thinning shears are held, so the cut will be shorter at the tip of the ear (lower hand), and longer at the top of the ear (actual base of the ear).
First use the thinning shears underneath the longer hair on the top third of the ear, close to the skin, and make a couple of strokes with the thinning shears vertically across the width of the ear, and comb.
Secondly trim the length of the hair on the ear with the thinning shears, but do so only about ¼” (or less) at a time; comb out, look and then do a little more. This is the most critical part of grooming the ear, so work slowly, stop, and look at it for a day, then do a little more if necessary.
The few long curls that run the length of the front rim of the ear take very little thinning and trimming. If you cut this short, again you will spoil the soft expression of your dog’s face. Use the thinning shears close to the skin, going vertically up under these hairs, and trim ONE stroke or thinning cut only. Comb or brush it out. Then brush or comb these “decorative face framing hairs” straight out from the ear, and angle you thinning shears so you trim closer at the tip of the ear, and yet leave these hairs longer at the top or base of the ear by the eye, just as it grows naturally.
See the white, blue, and orange markers, directing the approximate lengths that the hair on the front of the ear is trimmed.
Trim the outside edge of the ear with quick repetitive cuts with the thinning shears, all around the ear, from the position shown, around the tip and up to about the thumb on the top hand in the photo. Don’t go any further up the inside front of the ear. Holding the ear out and away from the dog’s head, so the same with the hair from the fulcrum of the shears and just above the thumb of the hand holding the shears.
Here we have a good example of a “neatened”, natural looking ear.