Firstly you will need a pair of decent scissors, a wide-tooth comb and a brush. Depending on your dog breed, there are mainly two brushes, a pin brush and a slicker brush. With these three items, you will be able to groom your dog at home with no trouble.
There are many reasons why it’s best to cut your dog’s fur at home yourself. Maybe they are old, perhaps your dog is scared of clippers, or can become aggressive towards unknown people, perhaps you don’t have the money. Whatever the reason is, you are more than in the right to cut your own dog’s hair at home.
With the steps below, you can have the confidence to make your dog look beautiful or handsome without using the clippers and in the comfort of your own home.
It all starts with a bath.
Grab the doggy, shampoo an old towel and head to the bathroom. Be sure to read the label for the amount of shampoo you should use. Start with wetting your dog’s fur, getting rid of any lumps of mud/dirt, and then start the shampooing process, just like you would with your hair. Don’t get any shampoo in your dog’s eyes and ears, as this can cause discomfort.
If you don’t have a showerhead, then you could think about filling up the bath with a little lukewarm water and using a jug to rinse out any dog shampoo as and when you need to. Fill it up just a little bit past the lower half legs. You can also directly use the taps to fill up the jug each time. I find this a little slow as you have to wait for the water to fill the jar on each rinse.
Those with a showerhead can use this to rinse off the dog shampoo quicker. Check the water temperature now and then to ensure it hasn’t changed. Keeping them entertained with a toy in the bath will help any anxious dog.
Never leave your dog unattended in the bath.
Should I dry my dog before I scissor cut them?
Yes, either by towel drying and waiting for your dog’s fur to dry independently, or you can use a hairdryer to speed up the process. Some dogs can be a little scared of the hairdryer. That’s if your dog is okay with using a hairdryer.
If it is a winter’s day, don’t let them outside with wet fur
Time to brush, but which brush to use
When your dog’s fur is fully dry, you can then start brushing them, using gentle strokes the same way the coat grows, and getting out any knots. Use a pin or slicker brush for the body and a comb for the face area. Please be careful of their eyes and ears.
Use this brush if your pet has a thick or wiry coat. It helps penetrate deep matted dogs with double coats. Also, perfect for deep matted coats like the Cocker Spaniels or the labrador.
Use this brush if your dog has thick, long or curly coats like a Poodle or a Bichon Frise. The wider gaps between each pin help stop hair pulling, which can be painful and damaging to the coat.
Now your dog’s fur is clean and smooth, and it’s all ready for trimming, get the scissors ready!
Using the scissors the right way
Never point your scissors at them, or let them play with them in their mouths. I’m sure you won’t, but I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t write this in and something happened.
Start with your dog’s head first, and you will find that your dog will be more fidgety as time goes on, so best to get the head and face done first.
- Face, using your comb brush towards you and cut to the length you’d like. Use your fingers to get between skin and scissors. Then you know that you won’t cut them by mistake. Be cautious attention to how fur falls near your dog’s eyes and around the mouth. If in doubt, don’t cut
- Ears, find the edges of your dog’s ears and cut around them, leaving a small gap. Depending on your dog’s breed, you will also need to cut under the ears. You do so by lifting the ears and trimming the hair on the underside of the ears.
- Neck and body, hold the scissors parallel to the skin and don’t point at the skin. Always know where the skin is by using your fingers if needed. Or, if you have a dog that wriggles around, take your time, stop and calm them, and try giving them a toy they can quietly chew whilst you get to work. Trim parallel and straight in a downward motion, and comb in between cuts to blend any lines your scissors create.
- Legs, brush the fur around to one place, hold the coat with your fingers and cut downwards. Repeat on the other side of the leg, repeating this on all legs.
- Sides and back, cut your dog’s fur at an angle with scissors pointing down. Comb in between to make your scissor lines blend.
- Tail, depending on your dog’s breed, you can decide on the length you’d like to see on your dog. The best way is to lift their tail and trim their backside using downward motions with scissors pointing down.
After completing the above, please give them a once over, snipping any stray hair. Give your dog a treat and a good big boy or girl voice. Always have patience with your dog. Never get angry or cross with them because they don’t keep still. Keep calm, and they will be.
The above isn’t breed-specific; it is a general how-to guide so before you start on your journey, make sure you research as much as you can on your specific breed. I know that youtube has plenty of videos on this.
Good luck and happy snipping, guys!