This section will walk you through the step-by-step process of grooming your Aussie. Bear in mind that this is a full grooming routine – you can modify this or use parts of it if your dog is not in need of a complete groom. Sometimes a bit of maintenance on certain parts of the coat or the nails is all that's needed.
1. Use your rake to remove loose undercoat hair. By removing this loose hair, you make the job easier for yourself once you start to bathe your dog. If you don't remove that loose hair first, it will end up in the bath – meaning it will get in your way and mean a bigger clean-up job afterwards.
2. You can also give the dog's coat a quick once over with the pin brush, and then the slicker brush, to remove more loose hair.
3. Coat trimming is the next step. You can do all this with a pair of thinning shears, although this won't give you a high level of precision. If you want to trim the feet and ears precisely, you'll need some smaller styling shears as well.
4. The tail is the best place to start when it comes to trimming the coat. Many Aussie owners like to clip a crescent shape under the dog's tail nub. You simply clip off a bit of hair, then brush down with the slicker brush to remove what you've just clipped. Clip a little bit of hair at a time so you can progress slowly. The less you clip each time, the less likely you are to make a big mistake.
5. Once the tail is done, the feet and legs are the next natural progression. For the feet, you should try to clip evenly all the way around if you have precise enough shears. Also clip any hair growing through between the pads on the bottom of the dog's feet. For the backs of the legs, brush them with the slicker brush, then trim lightly with the thinning shears, then brush again. Brush and comb as you go so you can clearly see how the leg is looking before you make the next cut. This applies for all four legs and paws.
6. When it comes to trimming the ears, you need to be very careful not to do more harm than good. If you're not confident with the shears, leave the ears alone. Use the shears to trim off any dreadlocks hanging for the ear hair. Aussies ears are supposed to be fairly hairy, so don't remove too much hair. Trim the backs of the ears first, then lightly trim the hairs on the inside. When it comes to the outline of the leather part of the ear, again, only attempt it if you're confident and your dog is calm and still. Just trim any hairs that are sticking out so the outline of the ear is nice and uniform.
7. Nail trimming is the last aspect of a regular groom. You won't have to do it every time, as nails simply don't grow that fast. Use your clippers or other grooming tool according to the instructions for that tool. Whatever you're using, be careful not to damage the dog's quick. That's the soft part inside the nail which contains all the blood vessels. If your dog's nails are clear, you can see the quick – it's the pink part inside the nail. If the nails are dark, you won't be able to see the quick, so be very careful not to trim too much. If you cut the quick, the result is pain for your dog and probably some blood.