Grooming and trimming your best pal is a necessity in today’s day and age. Groomers can be expensive and require you to schedule around busy appointments that could conflict with yours.
That’s why learning to cut your dog’s hair yourself is a great skill to have, as you can keep your best friend fresh in the summer and looking sleek. So, let’s take a look at how to cut a dog’s hair with clippers.
Is Grooming All That Important?
In short: Yes! Wild dogs are evolved to have fur that matches their environment, which matches the length and thickness they need. However, since domestication, dogs have come to rely on us to take care of some of their qualities that Mother Nature would have before.
One of these things is controlling their fur. Keeping your pet’s coat in clean condition means a healthier, more hygienic lifestyle for them.
The term “grooming” can refer to something as simple as getting a trim, or as complicated as cutting the hair, cleaning the ears, brushing the teeth, and trimming the nails. The most basic and one of the most important aspects was the first, the cutting of the hair.
Keeping their hair short means they can stay cool in the summer and won’t suffer from ticks and fleas as much, and it makes bathing and brushing them a lot easier.
Cutting Your Dog’s Hair
So now that we know that grooming your little buddy is vital for their health; let’s cover the most basic form of grooming.
Before you start, you’re going to need a few basic things and do some research. By research, I mean that you will have to look up your dog breed and decide how best to cut their hair. For a breed such as the Cocker Spaniel, who has long shaggy locks hanging at their sides and legs, the best cut would be to keep their hair short and neatly trimmed.
Poodles, on the other hand, you’ll want to cut most of their hair down so that it is neat and fine while leaving the classic tufts of hair the breed is well known for. Knowing how to trim your pup will let you know just what trim they need to remain clean and healthy, without the lack of hair a potential detriment.
With the knowledge of what your goal should be, you can also look at equipment. While many breeds require different tools for their different cuts, the essential list of items will look like this:
- Dog hair groomer clippers
- Dog brush and comb
- Grooming scissors
- Dog tub, or your own bathtub if you don’t mind the hassle
- Dog shampoo
- (Optional) blow dryer
The clippers and scissors are self-explanatory; you’ll be using them to do the cutting and trimming. The brush and comb will let you work out the kinks and mats in their hair, which will make the cutting a lot more comfortable for both of you.
When it comes to cutting and trimming their fur, you’ll also want to do a post-bath. Afterward, dry them off with a towel and let them on their merry way. Optionally, you may want to blow dry them, especially for a breed that might have specific trims.
The Cutting Bit
So now that we know what cut we’re going for, and we have what we need, we can begin the process.
Begin by calming and brushing out the fur of your pet. It is important your dog isn’t energetic during this process. This is the time you untangle the hair and undo any mats that would prove difficult to cut out. You can also use this time to “chart your path” on where you’ll be trimming and how short you’ll be going.
Once properly brushed and calmed, it is time to begin using the clippers. Quieter clippers are best, as the noise is less likely to agitate the dog. Start from the back of the neck and work your way down to the hind legs, trimming the back and sides.
Make sure you work slowly so that you don’t agitate the dog. Make sure you keep your strokes even as you make your way down from the back to the belly so that the fur is evenly cut.
Once you are finished with the clippers, and you’ve cut and trimmed down the majority of the fur, you can switch to using grooming scissors for the more challenging to reach areas. These would be the face and around the paws. It is incredibly important only to do this when your pup is absolutely calm.
Now that you’ve trimmed your pet and you’ve got a stack of fur to dispose of, don’t forget to give them a good wash. This is to get rid of any loose hair and any dirt that may have been left in the fur. Again, ensure that you use appropriate shampoo, as you don’t want to irritate the skin.
You can use this time to comfort a more agitated or traumatized dog further, showering them in both water and praise. Once they’re calm and clean, thoroughly dry them with the towel, and perhaps the blow dryer, and give them a final brushing and combing to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
You should now have a nicely trimmed and clean pup who is ready to face the world with their new, sleek coat!