Jill of All Trades takes on the dog - and keeps him looking dapper

Jill Washburn, our Jill of All Trades, has shown us how to fix many things that were damaged by the dog. This time, Jill shows us how to fix up the dog itself! Yes, Jill has a few tips to offer to keep your pupper looking dapper.  

One of the main things that makes a dog look sloppy is shaggy paws. Jill says that this is easily remedied - you just need a pair of basic barber scissors.  

Jill spreads an old sheet or something similar on a bed to catch the clippings and gets her dog up on the bed. She starts with the bottom of the paw and trims the hair growing between the pads of the paw. 

You don't have to get down in between the pads. Just trim so that no hair is covering the pads. Many dogs are ticklish but you can make it easier by just touching the pad while you work.

Next, Jill tackles the top of the paw. If there is hair sticking out between the toes, Jill brushes that up so that it's really sticking out. Then she carefully trims it, working from the edge of the paw up to where the toes connect.  If you can, follow the curve of the top of the paw. That give you the most natural look.  

After that, Jill trims around the edge of the paw to clean up the little fringe on the edges. And last, she trims the hair from the back of the paw up to the heel. In the front, that will be up to that extra little exposed pad on the back of your dogs "wrist" (the dewclaw).  In the back, it will be up to the next joint (their ankle joint). This is another spot where you probably have to fluff up the hair to get a good trim. 

Work against the grain of the hair, which means you'll work from the paw upward.

With all that done, the feet should look pretty good, and those paws will definitely track in less dirt, snow, rain, etc. Now it's time to tackle the tail.

If your dog has a fringed tail like some retrievers, or setters, or even some terriers, you may need to clean that up. You'll start with the end of the tail. 

Jill says to look for the very tip of the actual tail and hold it, making a fist around it, so that you don't risk cutting the tail. The hair that is sticking out beyond your fist is what you'll trim first.  That very end of the tail should be trimmed like an artist's brush, so trim all around the hair that you're holding so that you get a flame tip shape to it.  

Once you have that done, Jill says that you can now hold the end of the tail and let the fringe hang down. You may need to shake it out or brush it out , so that it hangs fairly evenly. 

Then, matching the length that the hairs at the tip are trimmed to, carefully trim the fringe of the tail from the tail tip inward. You should have a fairly even fringe. Let your buddy wag that tail a bit and check again to see if you missed any spots. Jill says that you may have to carefully trim some mats out, as well.

At this point, your pooch should be looking pretty good. A good brushing always helps. If you have a breed that sheds, Jill swears by a rake-style dog comb. She says it's invaluable when it comes to pulling out all of that undercoat that normally gets shed around the house. Jill says that a regular run-through with the rake comb will save you from lots of vacuuming.

Don't get discouraged if your dog is not the most cooperative the first time through. It may take a couple of times before he or she learns the drill. Eventually, it becomes good bonding time for you and your pup.  Jill says that her dog, Cooper, now acts likes it's "spa day" when the grooming gear comes out. Plus, it'll save you some cash in the process!


You can watch Jill (and Cooper) go through the process by clicking on the video player above.