How to Cut Dog’s Hair At Home
If you know how to cut your dog’s hair at home, you are in an elite minority. Most dog owners either don’t have the time or the patience to tackle the home grooming themselves. If you are thinking of trying the home process, you could be in for some serious savings. Dog groomers are not cheap. Deciding to buy a hair clipper over a trip to the groomer could save you hundreds in the long run.
If you want to learn how to cut your dog’s hair at home, there are some things to consider. You obviously know your dog quite well. You will be familiar with the type of coat they have on their body. However, if you have a new doggy arrival in need of his first trim, you should spend some time researching their fur type. This way you can figure out which grooming approach would be best. This is important when starting to learn how to cut dog’s hair at home.
If you do know your dog well but you are unsure of the type of coat he has, you should also research to know whether the task will be possible with home tools. Some breeds such as boxers have short slick fur which doesn’t require grooming very often, if at all. Other dogs such as schnauzers have longer shabby fur which would need to be trimmed quite often.
If you are a new dog owner and would like to have a hands-on approach to your pets grooming, while also saving money in the process, then knowing how to cut dog’s hair at home will be a great asset to you.
You should start the process of getting your dog comfortable as early as possible into their life. You should train your dog not to be startled or defensive whenever you touch any area of their body. This can be done as a slow training process to help them remain calm while you cut their hair.
To train your dog, fix him with a leash and begin to run your hands along his body. Obviously the head and back will get more positive reactions than negative because dog’s love to be petted! Coming towards the hind legs, paws, anus and belly are a different story though. Some dogs may not be comfortable being touched in those vulnerable areas.
If you have identified an area where your dog doesn’t like to be touched, there are ways to make your dog more comfortable. The key is slow and incremental gains towards the desired result. If you try to touch your dog’s paws and they pull them away or lift their feet, this is an area you can work on.
Start by running your hand along your dog’s leg and figuring out exactly where they begin to become uncomfortable. The key is to praise your dog whenever he lets your hand get closer to his paw than where he was previously uncomfortable. Move your hand slowly and be sure to praise your dog as he lets your hand get closer, and stop praising when he pulls away.
The key is to teach – “if you let me get closer to your paw, you are a good boy.” This process will take some time and effort, and may be needed for other areas of the body too. Once it is done however, your new puppy will be comfortable being touched anywhere on his body by his gentle master. This is the most important step towards being able to cut dog’s hair at home.
It is critically important to be mindful of your dog’s safety while cutting their hair at home. You will need to fix them in place with a leash to ensure that you can work quickly and safely for both of you without your dog running around.
Be more concerned about your pet’s safety than their coat, it will grow back! Don’t worry about making their hair look gorgeous on the first round of clipping either, it may take a couple of goes to get it right, especially if you’ve never done it before.
So, you’ve decided to go ahead and purchase a hair clipper to tackle the task of home dog hair clipping. Congratulations!
There are 4 steps to make it an easier process for both of you.
Be sure how you want it to look before you start.
Now you have done your research into your dog’s coat or if you brought them to the groomers before, you should have seen the results. You should now have an idea of the length their coat should be after and how it is supposed to look.
Secure your dog if possible. It may be helpful to put them in the bathroom for easier cleanup, you can put a towel on the floor to catch the hair or just lead your dog into the bathtub. You can get a special leash that attaches so the shower wall with a suction cup.
Start from the neck and work backwards to the legs. It is easiest to work with the flow of the hair and it is the most comfortable for your dog. You should start on a small inconspicuous area to test the cutting length. Take the clipper and clip somewhere that will not be too noticeable, such as under one of your dog’s arms in an area that needs neatening up.
You can then decide on the length you are looking to go ahead with for the rest of their body. You now have a plan to work with to and will be well on your way to being able to cut dog’s hair at home.
Now that you know how long you want the hair to be, do you just start cutting away? Well, not just yet! You should take a few more minutes to brush your dog’s hair thoroughly. This will do two things, remove any excess dead hair caught up in their fur, and also remove knots in the fur which would have seriously tangled your clipper.
It is critical to remove knots before you start, getting a knot caught in the clipper will not be a pleasant experience for either of you. A painful pinch for your dog will do nothing to calm them and may make it even more difficult to cut their hair in future.
We don’t want any pain points in this process so spend the time to completely clear up any knots with a good brushing. Depending on the type of dog you have you may need a certain kind of brush. Shorter haired dogs should be okay with a soft or medium strength brush. Longer shabby dogs may need a good strong brush to get rid of any knots in their fur.
When you do start clipping though, a brush can also help to remove lines. If you get a line in your dog’s coat, you can brush along the lines against the grain and then shave over them again. This should remove the lines from your dog’s fur.
It is also helpful to have a scissors close-by for any hard knots. If brushing can’t loosen them up, you can just cut them right out.
The next thing to be aware of if the type of clipper you buy. The best ones are made specifically for dogs and are different to human clippers in one important way, the noise.
The doggy clippers are much quieter to make sure your dog is not startled by the noise of it. We all know dog’s hearing is much more sensitive than our own, imagine your barber coming up behind your head with a clipper that sounded like a chainsaw. I’m sure you would be less than thrilled.
Use a sharp clipper because a dull one will pull your dog’s hair and cause pain and discomfort. Get yourself some clipper oil and coolant. These are crucial tools to have on hand when you cut dog’s hair at home.
You need oil to keep it working and lubricated and coolant in case it gets too hot. You don’t want to burn your dog when the clipper gets hot, which it will. Extended use causes friction in the blades and friction causes heat.
Your dog will definitely not take to home grooming if they get burned. If the clipper is hot, spray it will come coolant and put it on something metal that will absorb heat fast, e.g. a baking tray!
Now for the actual clipping, the best way to begin is to start from the neck and work backwards. Do one side fully, moving along their back and also including their hind legs. It will take about 10-15 minutes for each side.
Move slowly and methodically, there is no need to rush. The most important thing is to keep your dog calm as you move along its body with the clipper.
Once you have one side done, you can move over to the other side. Try to keep as much symmetry as possible by following the same procedure on one side as the other.
To get the hard to reach areas, you may need to lift your dog up by front legs to do their belly if you can. As for areas like legs, it is most important that you made your dog comfortable with touching their paws at the start, but you can clip down as far as they will allow.
Again, by clipping with the flow of the hair you will avoid making lines on your dog. But these are easy to remove with a small comb. You can brush against the grain where the line is and then clip over it again to remove it completely.
In regards to their face and places around the anus, these are the most difficult areas. If you feel confident enough you can use a shears with a dull point for these places. Point the tip of the shears away from your dog’s body so you don’t give them a painful poke. Clip carefully and only when your dog is perfectly still.
If you do not feel confident in clipping these areas, or your dog does not seem comfortable, don’t force it. You can get a groomer to do these tight areas at a much lower cost than a full grooming, and you can be confident in your dog’s safety. You could also ask the groomer the best way to attack these areas at home in the future.
Deciding to cut dog’s hair at home is a big step, and one that should not be taken too lightly. It’s not a simple transition and you may have some mistakes in the learning process. It is worth trying for yourself though, not just for the financial savings, but you also get a chance to bond with your pet in a very unique way.
Having them comfortable with you touching them in their sensitive areas shows a great deal of trust between master and dog. It is a rewarding experience when you can help their dog look their best. You can have them at their most comfortable too.
By starting the journey early in their life and getting them comfortable with the process, you can save yourself a lot of time and money down the road. It is not impossible to start it when your dog is a little older though. Especially if you have a strong bond and they are comfortable with you touching their body.
The learning process is slow but as with anything in life, the rewards for great effort are huge. Hopefully this guide has made the effort seem a little less daunting to start. It’s important to take it step by step and not to expect it to go perfectly from the start. Planning is key and with enough practice you will be as good as a professional in no time.
Give your dog the best Christmas ever with ScoobyBox.