Getting the perfect paw can be difficult, especially when you have matts and dog parents to content with. Read my blog about how to get the perfect paw and how to educate your owners to ensure your clients paws are in top condition.
Don’t aim for pawfection
Paws are just one of them things. No dog’s paws are absolutely identical which can make it tricky in finding a system to reach pawfection. There have been many times I just keep snipping in the hopes I uncover the most perfectly shaped paw one could imagine, but unfortunately it usually ends with me being scissor happy and creating more of a claw than foot. How do we as groomers avoid this? Before you begin to trim or shape the paw; have an image of want you want it to look like by the time you're done, you can use your comb to help you with this by styling the unwanted hair in a way or shape that guides you in the perfect way to trim it. You also want to use a good pair of thinning scissors for trimming the paws as they are very forgiving; I use the Groom Professional Sirius Thinning Scissors.
What to do when the pup doesn’t want their paw preened.
I always say that the end result of a dog's groom reflects how the owner cares for the dog. For example, if the dog has come in and hasn't been brushed in weeks and has matts hanging from his paw pads, he probably isn't going to be too happy with you spending time trying to get the perfect paw; he may be agitated, and it may make your job a lot harder if he is wanting to eat your hands while grooming him or if he keeps pulling away from you. If this does happen, I suggest, instead of holding the paw, which may be causing aggravation, hold the dog's leg up towards their body. If you have a canine client who is always very touchy around their feet, encourage the owner to spend time handling the paws when the dog is in a calm, relaxed state. Doing this can help to desensitize the dog and it makes your job A LOT easier!
Educate your owners
A big part of keeping a dog’s paws healthy is ensuring the nails are trimmed regularly; nails that are too long can cause the dog to become lame and put unwanted stress on their joints. I have had dog's come into my salon looking like they were in agony trying to walk because their nails were so long. This truly breaks my heart because there isn’t any solution for the dog to help himself or herself. If you are a groomer, you will already know this information, but my point here is to teach your clients this information. Some of them won't know the nails even effect the way their dog walks or that it could be causing them pain, but if a dog comes into your salon with offensively long nails, tell the owner how wrong it is. If they get defensive and say it's because his nails grow too quickly, encourage them to come in as often as possible to get the nails trimmed. You're here to help your furry friends and encourage owners to be the best owner they can be.
Paw Balm is your best friend
Coming into winter us groomers may start noticing some dry, cracked and very sore looking paws. In my salon, when I see a paw that needs some TLC, I massage on some. It is 100% natural, and it is the equivalent of using lip balm on sore cracked lips. Dry paws can be dangerous for dogs as it is hard for them to get grip on some flooring, causing them to slip which could lead to a more major injury. Paw Balm sounds to me like a cheap and effortless way to avoid unwanted vet bills too!
Overall, it is important that you teach your human clients about your canine client's needs. A lot of them want to learn and our happy that you have passed on your knowledge as they do not want to be bad pawrents.