First, spray the Shetland Sheepdog’s coat in the area where you will be brushing. You can use either plain water or a good canine coat conditioner to make it easier to brush out tangles and mats. Spray as needed throughout the grooming process to keep your dog’s coat damp as you brush it.
Brush out your dog completely before attempting to do any trimming. This will remove excess hair and help to prevent matting of the undercoat. Brushing also makes it easier for you to see how long the hair actually is. Work your way through all parts of the coat, and don’t neglect the backs of the legs and the area around the tail.
Trim the fur on the underside of each of the dog’s feet. Shelties tend to get a lot of fur growing there, and it can make it uncomfortable for them to walk. Cut the fur back so that it doesn’t stick out past the dog’s pads.
Cut the long hair on the top side of the foot to give the foot a rounded, compact appearance. Trim any long hair growing on top of the foot or between the toes until nothing sticks out beyond the ends of the toes. Feet that are not properly trimmed tend to look long and gangly.
Comb the hair on the back legs, from the foot up to the first joint of the legs, so that the hair stands out. Cut the ends off with sharp scissors to make the back legs look neat and minimize how much debris can get caught there.
Use thinning shears to reduce the amount of fur your Sheltie has on the back legs from the hock up to the tail. If your dog has a thin coat, you can skip this step, but for many Shelties this is an essential part of staying neat and clean. Cut parallel to the legs, clipping in several places where the hair is thickest, and then brush or comb out all the cuttings. Repeat the process until your Sheltie is left with a nice appearance and a manageable coat.
Snip away any straggling hairs in and around the ears to give your Shetland sheepdog a neat and alert look. You may also want to use the thinning shears around the base of the ears if your dog has a lot of hair there, since this area tends to mat easily.