How do I: use a comb attachment for long natural look
This post is an answer for Julie’s question about how to get a nice smooth long hair look on a drop coated dog such as a Havanese. I had planned to use a Shih Tzu to demonstrate the technique. But as you will see in the photos what I ended up using is a Chihuahua/Shih Tzu cross…the Shih Tzu came in totally matted for a shave off.
This is an easy technique to master (with practice) excellent for pet trims but not for show dog coats. To maintain that long flowing hair look is done by using a comb attachment in as long a length as you wish the coat to be. Now, if the longest that you have is a 1 inch comb attachment and you want a longer length; it does not matter. It is the way that you make use of it that makes the difference. I always begin with a freshly washed and thoroughly dried dog. Any dampness in the coat will create tugging and an uneven look so a clean crisply dry coat is important. I take some time to figure out the direction of hair growth and how it falls naturally. This determines the direction that my clippers should go. If I am unsure, I do a test run without turning on the clippers to get the feel of how I need to proceed.
Ordinarily when using a comb attachment I bring the comb in contact with the dog’s body and it creates an even short-as-the-attachment look that has a fairly natural drop. I follow the direction of hair growth carefully. For a totally different look occasionally if I want the coat to sit up shorter and less naturally dropped I move along the side toward the rear instead.
For a longer naturally dropped look I “skim” the coat in the direction of the hair growth which is usually downward as in photo (a). The comb attachment itself does not come in contact with the body. Notice how the teeth of the comb are barely touching the outer surface of the coat. For the purpose of blending and ensuring evenness, I then simulate a dog’s natural shaking movement with a body roll by grasping the coat and flesh as in photos (b) and (c).
This effectively rolls the loose skin back and forth and creates a shake out of the hair. I do not back brush at all to raise the hair but use this shake out method and skimming repeatedly until I get the length and smooth blended look I want.
It is a very effective technique but it does work best on dogs with fullness of coat rather than thin haired coats. I remember at all times to maintain the downward and natural flowing lines of the drop coat and avoid at all costs any sideward swipes. Those sideward swipes will create a twice as short swath through the coat.
I keep in mind that any scissoring that I use to take care of random hairs sticking out is always with the scissors pointed downward. The blending down into the legs is also done with the blending shears pointed downward.
This technique worked well on this little fellow. His owner only wanted a “tidy” and “don’t touch the face” for him to have that wild, natural look.