First I hold the tail straight out from the dogs body and make sure there are no mats or tangles, if there are I brush or comb them out. Then I put the tail down and brush it real good from the base to the end. I use a cheap pin brush (drug store variety) with rubber tips for this, the dogs don't seem to mind as much as a hard wire pin brush. When this is done, take the end of the tail in your hand and grip it like you would a glass, bring you hand all the way down to the tip of the tail bone. When you find this spot, put your thumb and index finger just above the tip and I cut the excess fur here. This should leave you about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch to work with. Never cut flush with the bone, you will get a very blunt ugly look to the tail. Next I grip the end and make like a pom pom with the fur. This should be sort of round or circular in shape, I then take my thinners and clip, clip around this to make a less defined end to the tail. Once that's done I shake out the tail and hold it out from the dog, with the thinners a trim any excess fur that looks stringy or straggley at the base. I gently trim these with the thinners just to neaten up the look of the tail. You always hold the thinners parallel to the tail when I do this. Never hold them up and clip!! I then take the thinners and check the fur around the base of the tail. I trim off about 3/4 " to an 1 " from the base near the anus. This keeps that area much neater. I use the thinners and clip, with them parallel or points down to trim fairly close to the tail bone in this area. You can also and I do use my thinners to get all the fuzz fur that grows around the anal area into the feathering. You know that long fluffy stuff that always gets poop in it. Trim this with the points of the thinners in the direction that the fur grows. Once all the general grooming of the area is done. I take the tail and look at it's overall shape. The edge of the Goldens tail should be gently rounded, not a definite point like that of the setters. So if the tip looks too blunt I take my thinners and clip only the very edge at a diagonal for about 3/8" to 5/8" of an inch. This gives a much softer look to the edge of the tail. I find that this last step just seems to make that tail look a little less trimmed and more natural.