I've been grooming dogs for over 30 years. I started out easy, with the touch up things that a Doberman gets before entering the conformation ring. A few little hairs trimmed around the ears and nails and a wipedown incase of flakes, you don't want any flakes showing up on those red or black gleaming coats. From there it was stripping and the terrier group, not something I enjoy. My airedale quickly went from being stripped to shaved.
And then I got a poodle; this is what changed the course of everything. No sooner had I learned to groom for show and it was over. Grooming a companion poodle and a show poodle are worlds apart; but what is the biggest difference is the upkeep. That hair, oh that hair. You have to watch it all the time, wrap it, take care that it doesn't fade in the sun, don't let the other dogs pull on it and attempt to keep it from matting.
As a Mom with three little kids living in the country where I was surrounded by nature, keeping my show boy in full coat was not an easy task. The brushing alone is a daunting task but before a show it's crazy. The wash, the blowout, the brushing the scissoring........................too much and I cracked. In one crazed moment it was gone and laying on the floor. I had been prepping for a big show right in my neck of the woods; when I'd had too much grooming and shaved that huge brown coat off. I stood looking at the mountain of hair on my floor wondering if I was going to regret this move in the very near future. I have never; not for a moment looked back with regret.
Today my guys are in a very small group of the shaved poodle club; they carry no pom poms and are basically poodles in disguise. No one knows what breed they are and when they find out they are always amazed that poodles can look like..........well not poodles. They still take grooming but it is a bare minimum compared to the poodley poodles. I keep their feet and face shaved clean for ease. Faces hold food stuff and feet pick up burrs and things so they are both kept with the bare minimum of hair.
Tilley getting her face shaved.
Life is a continual motion forward.