Dog groomers do a wonderful job of making sure our dogs’ coats are healthy and beautiful. Unfortunately, the fees charged by some groomers can cause a gaping hole in your wallet. There are so many different factors, mainly about breed and size, that affect dog grooming prices these days.
If you have discovered you are paying exorbitant amounts in grooming bills, you have two options. You could stop grooming your dog and let its hair get poofy and long. (Not a good option.) Or, you could do the smart thing and learn to trim your dog’s hair yourself.
Thankfully, you do not need special training to operate dog hair clippers. You also do not have to be afraid to trim your dog’s hair. With this guide, you will learn everything you need to know so you can feel confident trimming your dog’s fur.
Bathe Your Dog First
Your dog’s coat needs to be clean and free of tangles before you trim it with dog clippers. After cleaning your dog’s hair, allow it to dry, and then brush the dog thoroughly. While your dog is drying, put it in a dog crate to ensure it does not get dirty again or wet your furniture.
Brushing removes all the loose dog hair and leaves behind healthy fur—it stops dogs from shedding excessively. You should inspect your dog’s skin for any signs of irritation before using the best dog hair clippers.
Gather the Right Dog Grooming Tools
You will need some supplies to help ensure your dog’s hair is trimmed safely and effectively. Choosing the right dog clippers may seem like a daunting task, but is not overly difficult. Once you know what to look for in dog trimmers, you will feel more confident making a purchase.
Choose Dog Clippers According to Your Dog’s Coat
If you have a dog with a continuously growing coat, like a poodle, cocker spaniel, or Yorkshire terrier, choose dog trimmers that offer multiple blades. With various blades, you will always have the option of keeping your dog’s hair longer or shorter.
What to Look for in Dog Hair Clippers
There are a few things you will want to look for in dog hair clippers. Purchasing the right pair will keep you and your furry friend safe. Consider the following before purchasing.
- Choose dog clippers that feel solid and weighty in your hand but not overly heavy. If the clippers are too light, this likely means they are made from cheap materials. If they are too heavy, your hand will grow fatigued as you clip your dog’s hair.
- Do yourself and your dog a huge favor and choose a quiet model. Many dogs are afraid of loud noises. You will need a clipper that is as quiet as possible. Test out different models or read reviews on the noise level before purchasing.
- Many dog owners find cordless models to be easier to handle, especially if their dog is prone to being rambunctious. If you choose a cordless dog hair clipper, make sure it offers a long battery life.
- Make sure the dog hair clipper has a good grip. You will want to be sure you can hold the clipper without fear of it slipping. Many dog clippers offer silicone grips.
You will also need a pair of dog grooming shears, a slicker brush, and a comb. Now that you have the right tools, these tips will make trimming your dog’s hair much easier and less stressful for you both.
Helpful Tips for Grooming Your Dog with Hair Clippers
Days before washing your dog and trimming its hair, help it grow accustomed to being near the clippers. Allow your dog to examine and sniff the clippers while they are shut off.
Turn on the clippers while petting the dog. Offer a treat. Make sure your dog feels relaxed and as comfortable as possible around the dog clippers.
A Word of Caution
If your dog’s hair is unkempt and very matted, this is a job best left to a professional groomer. Please do not clip a dog’s matted hair. It will cause the dog discomfort and could make it so frightened it will no longer let you use clippers.
Avoid Pulling Hair
Pulling your dog’s hair while giving it a trim can be painful and traumatic. The main reason this happens is when the blades of the dog trimmer have become dull. Sharp blades easily cut through dog hair without pulling it and causing pain.
When trimming your dog’s fur, move slowly. Moving too fast will often leave lines in your dog’s coat that does not look attractive. Fast movements also lead to a greater risk of making mistakes. Take your time and be patient as you cut. Any impatience will send negative signals to your dog, which could make it stressed.
Cut Toward the Hair Growth
One of the biggest mistakes dog owners makes when new to using dog clippers is cutting against the direction of growth. Dog hair grows in different directions.
Pay careful attention to the direction of hair growth and move slowly. Taking your time and cutting with the direction of hair growth will ensure a smooth, even cut. While it takes more time to trim your dog’s hair in this manner, it will leave you with professional-looking results.
Choose the Correct Blade
If your dog has long hair, you may need to use multiple blades and comb guide combinations for different areas. Shorter-haired dogs may only require a single blade. Read the instruction manual because it will probably offer blade and comb suggestions for different breeds and hair lengths.
Check the Blades for Heat
Dog hair clippers can sometimes become hot after long periods of use. A hot blade can cause serious burns on your dog’s skin. Please get in the habit of checking the temperature of the clippers regularly. Shut them off and wrap your fingers around the cutting area. If it is too hot, take the following steps.
- Allow the blade to cool. You can place it on a piece of metal, such as an aluminum baking sheet, and it will cool quickly.
- Spray the blades with cooling spray or lubricant.
- Change the blade.
Check the temperature of the dog clippers often. Take breaks between trimming areas to allow the blades to cool down. While waiting, this is a good time to offer treats and comfort your dog. It is also a good time to check on your progress.
You may also find your dog is ready for a bathroom break. Don’t forget to dispose of dog poop responsibly!
Understand How Your Dog’s Breed Should Look
Do you know how your dog’s breed should look? It never hurts to research. A good starting point is your dog’s breed club website. Here, you can see pictures of the breed and even view grooming tips.
For instance, poodle grooming requires specific haircuts such as the English Saddle clip. It is fine to get a little creative, but your dog should look like its breed. If you have a sound idea of the outcome, you will be more likely to trim your dog correctly.
Start as Early as Possible
Training a puppy is much easier than an older dog. Puppies are typically more adventurous and less afraid. Starting early will allow your pup to grow accustomed to being trimmed, so when they are older, they will not behave poorly during a grooming session.
You can groom a puppy as soon as they are at least twelve weeks old. This is a good time to introduce bath time and nail trimming. Now is also a good time to start crate training with your puppy.
What If Your Dog Seems Afraid During Grooming?
Some dogs are naturally more nervous than others. It is important you know the signs your dog is anxious. If your dog is exhibiting any of the following behaviors, knowing how to comfort it is important.
Dog grooming should not be a traumatic experience for your dog . If your dog has ever been through an unpleasant experience with a professional groomer, you will need to take things much slower. The following offers some steps you can take to make your dog feel much less afraid while being groomed.
- Train your dog before grooming. There are areas of their bodies where dogs are more sensitive to touch. The paws, groin, tail, ears, muzzle, and eyes are all no-touch zones for many dogs.
- Try using a vocal command, such as “Ears”, and then touch your dog’s ears. Give your dog a treat after each interaction. Use a gentle touch and move slowly. Training your dog in this way will prevent it from becoming upset when these areas are touched during grooming.
- Make grooming time as fun as possible for your pooch. Offer treats and pet your dog often. It helps to only groom your dog when it is in a relaxed state. If your dog is already anxious, it will probably become more anxious during a grooming session.
- You should examine your dog’s responses throughout the grooming experience. With dog grooming, some dogs dislike water on their heads, so a wet wipe may be preferable for cleaning the facial area. Thinking outside the box can help to ensure your dog is comfortable throughout the dog hair trimming process.
- You may need to consider a muzzle if your dog is snapping or trying to bite while getting its hair trimmed. If you end up needing a muzzle, this will involve further training first.
Many dog trainers recommend placing a small treat inside the muzzle, so the dog willingly puts its snout inside. Gently work with your dog until it is accustomed to wearing a muzzle before proceeding to groom your dog at home.
While the above tips will work in most cases, all dogs and their experiences are different. If you try the above tips and work with your dog consistently, you will see improvements. If you try diligently and your dog is still being overly anxious during grooming sessions, it may be time to consult your veterinarian.
What to Do If Your Dog’s Haircut Looks Terrible?
You are new to grooming your dog, so you may make mistakes, especially in the beginning. Even if you completely do a terrible job at cutting your dog’s hair, it should grow back out in around a month.
A good pair of thinning scissors can do wonders for a bad dog haircut. This kind of scissors has teeth, so it does not cut big chunks of hair. It will allow you to clean up any uneven areas and make your dog new do much more attractive.
Just remember that you are going to make mistakes in the beginning. If you give your dog a horrendous cut, laugh it off and learn from your mistakes. Take a picture after each dog trim to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made. Your dog will not mind looking a little silly from a bad haircut!
FAQ About How to Trim Dog Hair
Owners often have a lot of questions about trimming their dog’s hair. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions.
1. How do you trim a dog at home?
You will need a battery-powered or corded dog clipper, comb, thinning shears, and regular dog shears. Learn about your dog’s breed to ensure you know how its hair should look. Take things slowly and keep safety in mind always. Make sure to cut in the direction of hair growth, and check the blade temperature often to ensure it is not growing too hot.
2. Can I trim my dog myself?
You absolutely can trim your dog’s hair yourself. As long as you have the right equipment and know the steps to take, you should have no trouble. It may be helpful to watch some grooming videos to get a good idea of the steps you should take. You can also take your dog to a groomer and have them instruct you before you try it at home.
3. Do I cut my dog’s hair wet or dry?
You should cut your dog’s hair while it is completely dry. Unlike humans, your dog’s hair does not need to be wet to get a good trim. When using clippers, the hair needs to be dry. Bathe your dog first and then allow its coat to dry before you trim.
Do Not Be Afraid of Trimming Your Dog’s Hair
Now, you have the tools and knowledge to give your dog a beautiful trim. Try to remain calm and patient. Take things slowly and do not sweat over minor mistakes.
Before long, you will become a pro at trimming your dog’s hair with clippers. Just think of all the money you will save by completing this chore. In the end, you and your dog will both feel more comfortable grooming at home.