Tory is an Australian Shepherd, of about 13 years or so. As I work on a senior dog of her size I prefer to not use two grooming loops if the dog is sensible and calm. That is what Tory is…sensible and calm. The reason for this is simply that I prefer to let her sit down and take a rest if she gets too tired. I also watch her carefully for signs of stress and fatigue that would be harmful to her aging constitution. For instance, during the bath, Tory looked a bit flagged so I took steps to help her…I cooled the water temperature from lukewarm down to slightly cooler. A dog that gets overheated at her advanced age is in distress very quickly. I noted that she is not as strong as the last time I groomed her…age is catching up with the girl…it has been 4 months.
The breed trim for an Australian Shepherd has a very natural and balanced looked to it. It is really more of a very thorough bath, brush and comb out with a tidying of the fringe-type hair of the feet, legs and bum.
Photo (A) shows Tory’s full pre-groomed coat; there was a lot of undercoat that blew out during the drying with the velocity dryer. However, there was also a good deal of thick undercoat in places that did not let go. Her entire body and legs had to be worked with a mat breaker to loosen it and then I able to comb it out. Only after the coat is completely combed and all hair is free-flowing can the trimming begin.
Photo (B) shows Tory’s hind feet and legs with one side trimmed and the other in their natural state. To trim the back paws and hocks I back brushed the hair and with the shears pointed downward of the hock and forward of the paws, I trimmed the hair evenly. I trimmed, back brushed and repeated until all was even. I never point the shears upward toward the body or sideways of the natural growth direction.
Photo (C) shows Tory’s front feet and legs from behind in their natural state. I trimmed the front paws in the same careful back brush, trim and repeat manner. For the fringed front legs I combed the hair in a natural flare from the leg towards the hind end. Then with my shears pointed downward I trimmed and repeated combing until a nice even natural curve toward the paw was achieved.
Photo (D) shows Tory’s front paws and legs with one trimmed and the other in its natural state.
Photo (E) shows one side of Tory’s bum trimmed and one in its natural state. To achieve the most natural look I combed the hair toward the back end in the natural direction that it grows. The amount left on in this area depends on the client’s preference. In Tory’s case, she has a bit of incontinence which is pretty well controlled by medication but it is preferred that her bum be trimmed down a lot.
Photo (F) shows Tory with the grooming completed. It still has a lot of the natural flowing look to it but much more tidy and will not drag in as much forest debris at home.