Dog Breed Info

Thinning

With excellent thinning techniques and good quality thinners, the professional can create a finish on many of the coats types that cannot be matched by any other technical skill in the wonderful art of grooming and styling. The overall finish on the coats will appear very natural as though they have not been touched by any artificial means. In fact, the overall appearance of the coat looks as though it has grown that way naturally and because of this unique ability, this tool is often times referred to as the "eraser." Thinning shears are held and used basically the same way you hold and use your scissors, the only difference being that they are "more forgiving" due to their design. A good quality thinner is an excellent tool for the beginner to practice not just the art of thinning but also to practice scissoring. In fact, thinners are now available with longer blades and are designed to take the place of scissors when working with coat types that easily show scissors marks.

Because thinners are used for various purposes such as blending and bulk thinning, often times the professional will jerk the thinner back and forth to "assist" the tool in these techniques. This is a bad habit that you do not want to start. Thinners are also used to tidy various areas on the dog's coat, so the professional has a tendency to jump from one area on the dog to the other. Again, thinning shears are used just like scissors and in order to create the ultimate finish, the same technique must be used. Once you have mastered this amazing skill, others will watch in awe as you create your masterpiece.

Most professionals, attempting to utilize thinning shear techniques, purchase a lower quality thinning shear that is not sharp enough to remove the coat efficiently and end up picking up a pair of clippers or scissors to finish the job, simply because the tool is not functioning properly. Using low quality or dull thinners feels like you are chewing the coat off rather than cutting and can be very frustrating, especially when you are trying to remove coat in an efficient manner. To master this technique and achieve excellent results, with a tool and a technique that you can use daily, investing in quality thinning shears is a must.

Why
Thinning shears are used to create a more natural finish and are used on dogs that require this type of appearance. They are also utilized as a blending tool on drop coat types that show clippering and scissoring marks. Thinners are used to assist in dematting coats and are used to reduce the volume of coat by bulk thinning.

When
Thinning techniques are used during the finishing phase to complete the overall grooming and styling. They are also used to assist in dematting coat during the prepping phase.

Where
Thinning techniques are applied on the grooming and styling table.

Bulk Thinning
Bulk thinning is a magical way to remove excessive coat without taking length.

Procedure:
The thinner is placed under the coat, as close to the skin as possible with the point of the thinner toward the root (base)of the hair, not the tip of the hair when bulk thinning. Several cuts are made holding the thinners in basically the same area. No more than 2 to 3 cuts should be made in this particular area before removing the thinners and combing or brushing the coat to check to see how much coat was removed. The number of cuts that you make with the thinner is determined by the density of the coat and the amount of coat you need to remove to reduce the volume or thickness of the coat. Keep in mind, if too many cuts are made, the coat will appear thin and sparse and often times the skin will show.

You can focus on one specific area at a time by making your cuts in this area and then brushing and/or combing the coat to check the amount removed, or you can work on several areas and then check the results. The procedure that you choose depends upon what task you are trying to accomplish. For example, if you are removing excessive bulk around the neck, you may bulk thin several areas around the neck before brushing and combing, but if your task is more detailed such as creating a level topline, you will focus on one area at a time.

The size of the dog also determines the procedure you use to bulk thin. If you are working on a large dog with lots of coat, which means you have a lot of area to cover, you will work around the dog first by bulk thinning and then go back and brush and comb the areas you have thinned.

The density of the coat can also determine the approach that you take as to whether or not to focus on small areas or the overall dog. For example, if the dog has a massive coat around the neck and trouser area that has to be thinned, you would concentrate first on the neck area and then the trouser area.

Common areas for bulk thinning to reduce the volume or mass of coat are the ears, neck, shoulder, trousers and topline. Creating level toplines by bulking thinning is one of the best kept secrets of the professionals who are masters in the art of thinning. Humps and dips are magically removed and breathtaking toplines created by this wonderful tool utilizing proper techniques.

Blending
Blending with thinning shears is a technique used to graduate shorter coat into longer coat. Common areas that this technique is used are the transition lines blending the shorter coat on the body to the longer coat on the skirt such as on the English Springer Spaniel and the Gordon Setter. Other areas that a blending technique works wonders on are the eyebrows and beard on the terriers and the crown on the Cocker Spaniel. Thinning shears are also used to lightly go over the entire body and legs on a coat that shows scissoring or clippering marks.

Procedure:
The thinner is place with or against the lay of coat, never across, on the transition area when blending the coat. Take care to not over thin taking too much coat. The best rule of thumb to follow when blending is to work the area lightly and then check by brushing and combing. The coat can be combed or brushed with and against the lay of coat to accomplish a more blended area.

Top Thinning
Top thinning is a technique used to remove excessive coat length utilizing thinners instead of scissors to create a more natural untrimmed finish. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier which has a loose curly coat type, is an excellent example of a breed that thinning shears are used rather than scissors to create a more natural appearance.

Procedure:
The thinner is placed on the tips of the coat to remove length basically the same way you would apply your scissors. In fact, the same rules apply when using thinning shears and scissors. Always use your thinners on drop coat types with or against the lay of coat as much as possible to achieve the ultimate finish. To stack a drop coat, however, place the thinner across the coat rather than with the lay of coat, such as on the topknot on a Lhasa in a pet trim.

Line Thinning
Line thinning is a technique used to remove excessive length using thinning shears instead of scissors in order to create a more natural line. Excellent examples of line thinning are the skirts on the West Highland Terrier and the Scottish Terrier. Thinners are used to trim the length of the skirt to create a more natural line rather than a clean "scissored" appearance.

Procedure:
When line thinning, use the thinners the same way that you would use your scissors to create straight, but natural lines.

Dematting
Thinning shears are used to assist in brushing out matts that are not right next to the skin.

Procedure:
The thinner is placed on the matted area and a few cuts are taken to "break the matt up" and the coat is then brushed. Thinners cannot be used on matts that are tight and right next to the skin because you cannot get under the matt safely and you cannot pull the matt upward because you will pull the skin up and cut it rather than the matt.

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