Experimenting with an English Cocker pattern on a puppy

11 Dec

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This is Rico, a 6 month old cocker puppy. This is his 2nd groom and he’s extremely submissive and anxious. He tried to bite my coworker when she checked him in for me and she came in shaking her head and giving what some might consider a death sentence: “they want a cocker cut”

I’d already given him an A+ for his first puppy groom and the go-ahead to attempt a full haircut the next time. I waited for the bathing area to quiet down, then greeted him in his kennel. I think he remembered me because he batted his 3 inch eyelashes at me and army-crawled to me.

Using low water pressure, a Happy Hoodie, and lots of praise I was able to bathe and velocity dry him straight through without incident. I used a Furminator first to pull any puppy fuzzies first. For the haircut I used a wahl #2 at first, then made a higher pattern using a 5. Because he has sparse furnishings I decided to attempt an English pattern and used a photo like the one attached as a guide. I was taught all cockers get a hula skirt so I had some serious misgivings about that angle. Im cautiously happy with it as a puppy’s first breed clip, but still uncertain if I interpreted the pattern right.

His ears and face are not as neat as i’d like but he was flinching and nervous and risking his eyelashes. I put the clipper on low and just lightly massaged near his head with them til he was calmer, but he was still obviously getting anxious. Rather than end a perfect groom with a power struggle, I called the experience a success and scissored what I could from his face. His mom was thrilled, he was very happy and proud to be alive, everyone went home satisfied.

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2 Responses to “Experimenting with an English Cocker pattern on a puppy”

  1. Brook December 11, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    He looks good but when i do my english cuts i do more of a diagnal kinda like a schnauzer just not as drastic. Maybe saying more springer like is a better way to describe it. On english cuts the front part of the front leg is smooth like the body not fuller like the american cut.

    What made you decide to use a comb then a 5? Depending on hair type i typically use a 7 or a 10.

  2. charity December 11, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    I was taught, same as you I’m sure, that cockers and schnauzers are supposed to be done in a 10. Since branching out to grooming forums and visiting dog shows and really studying the dogs showing in Westminster and the Eukenuba shows, I almost NEVER go shorter than an 8 1/2 (and that’s only on schnauzers). My reasoning behind this is because when you see the patterned breeds beautifully groomed for show they usually have quite a bit more coat than a 10 or 7 would leave. Granted, these are dogs who are carefully and tediously stripped, plucked, carded, or rolled from puppyhood, but these are also supposed to be the finest specimens of the breed, the closest to “breed standard”. As a professional, I want my work to look as close to those champions gaiting across the green carpet… even if what I have to work with is backyard bred, knock-kneed and flat footed. To me, a longer blade (and more often, a clipper comb!) Looks much closer to handstripped than a 7 or 10. And for westies and Scotties, I simply refuse to use anything shorter than a Wahl 4cc, especially if it’s young and still has a harsh coat.

    Many groomers dabble in educating themselves but are too set in their ways to change their “style”… especially if they’re the only one in their shop who wants to do patterns to breed standard instead of to local preference. I can tell you this: I have terriers that have patterns 2 inches lower and several blade lengths longer than they were a year ago, and they can see and LOVE the difference. Not too many can put a finger on what exactly is different, but they like it. I’ve never had anyone complain when I used an 8.5 or 7 when someone else used a 10. I do lots of fixes from other shops, and its a drastic change. 99% of the time, it’s a hit… especially because I have the knowledge to explain with confidence why I am changing their dog’s look so drastically.

    There are always clients, usually older, who prefer hula-skirted 10 blade schnauzers with furnishings to the floor. They may not like how I groom, and I’m okay with that. Such things are a matter of taste, and if they want lots of excess and defined lines there are 3 nearby shops who can provide that service happily. I never knew I was doing it wrong til I swallowed my pride and asked online. Now that I know, I can’t go backwards.

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