Cutting your dog’s hair with clippers isn’t as scary as everyone makes it seem to be, but I get where the stigma is coming from. If you are a bit wary about using clippers on your precious dog, then just use scissors. Today, I am going to tell you how to groom a dog at home with scissors.
Don’t let the tame look of scissors fool you. They can give your dog a great trim and is a great tool to use until you’re more comfortable with using clippers. The task doesn’t have to be intimidating if you train your dog to see it as a positive thing.
How to groom a dog at home – Introductions
- When to start
- First Date
When to start
The first thing to do that will make your life easier, is to start giving regular trims to your dog when they’re still young. Any time after they’ve turned eight weeks old is acceptable, but not before that.
Set up a first date
Dogs are curious creatures mostly due to their keen eyesight and sense of smell. If you start cutting the hair around their eyes, they might wiggle around out of curiosity to see and sniff that new shiny object and get hurt in the process of doing so.
That is why it is essential to take your dog and trimming equipment on a first date. Let your dog see and sniff all the equipment for a few seconds. Open and close the scissors, so the dog acknowledges where the sound is coming from, and register it as a nonscary sound that calls for a fight or flight mode.
How to groom a dog at home – Tools you will need
This goes without saying, but brushing your dog’s hair daily is a must to reduce shedding. Of course, the frequency depends on the type of their coat, so make sure to do some research first. Moving on, the tools you will need are :
- Scissors: Use short blade scissors
- Scissor oil: To oil scissor and thinning shears after multiple uses to prevent dull blades.
- A Comb
- A brush
- Thinning Shears: This makes your dog’s coat edges look natural.
Comb versus brush
To comb or to brush, that is the question. The choice mostly depends on your dog’s coat type. The easy answer is to make brushes your daily go to, and use combs on certain occasions.
Reserve the comb for de-matting and shedding hair removal purposes only. The de-matting and shedding combs break up any matty fur and remove loose hair respectively. This recommendation exists because of the sharp nature of comb teeth; this might irritate your dog’s skin.
Use a widely spaced comb for dogs with long hair, or dogs who have double layered fur.
Which brush to use?
It all depends on the length of your dog’s hair. A dog could come from a:
- A short coat breed
- A medium coat breed
- A long coat breed
If your dog has short hair, you will have to use a brush that has rounded, polished tips. These are also great for dogs with sensitive skin since the brush’s tips won’t be abrasive on their skin.
Short haired dogs don’t require daily brushing. Three times a week is more than enough to maintain your dog’s short hair healthy.
Pin brushes are great for dogs with medium haired dogs. Groom brushes are ideal for when you bath your medium haired dogs.
A slicker brush is great for long-haired and curly hair dogs because of their gentle wire-pins.
How to groom a dog at home – Ten simple steps
Step one: The location
Create a grooming station at your home. Giving someone a haircut messes up the place, and it is even worse with dogs. Pick a table that is at a comfortable height for you, then place your dog on top of it. Make your dog comfortable in their grooming setup by offering them some treats.
Step Two: Brushing
Brush your dog’s hair with a suitable brush. We have discussed earlier which brush is suitable for which hair length, so make sure to pick up the correct one. Since you’re going to trim your dog’s hair, grab the comb and detangle any matted hair. Always brush in the direction of hair growth.
Praise your dog’s patience and give them more treats.
Step three: Scissor handling
- Put your dominant hand in a handshake position and straighten it.
- Balance the scissors or the sheath on your index finger. It is usually at the screw point of the scissors.
- Roll the shear or scissor up, and keep it centered using your index finger. The index finger stabilizes the scissors.
- Insert your thumb finger into the upper opening and your ring finger into the lower opening.
- Open and close the scissors using only your thumb finger.
This curved scissor is great for trimming around head, ear, eyes, fluffy legs and paws. The chunker shear is to thin the thick fury animals. The straight scissor is to cut long hair and fur on the body.
Step four: Let the trimming begin
Start with your dog’s back and comb their hair. Use a comb as a guide to hold up the hair and protect your dog’s skin, then start trimming the hair coming out of the comb. Trim one bit at a time instead of removing all of the undesired hair length with one big chop.
Step five: Trim the tail
Trimming the tail could be a bit scary, but if you are careful, then you’ll be fine. You will use the same technique used on the back, but do it on the sides of the tail. Make sure that you are at least an inch away from the dog’s tail bone.
For the end of the tail, feel for where the tail’s bone ends, leave an inch of hair after that, then use your finger to ensure that you’re only cutting the hair and proceed with the trimming.
Step six: The legs
Brush the hair on the legs and feet in a downwards motion, then use your fingers or the com as a guard, and trim. Give your dog some treats after each leg you trim.
Step seven: The ears
Ears are very sensitive, so be careful while working on them. Hold the ear gently, and brush it downwards. Leave at least an inch of hair after the actual ear ends, and trim the hair after that.
Step eight: Around the eyes
This is probably the hardest part, but you could pull it off. If your dog moves a lot, secure them in pace by holding their muzzle. Pick up your sheath, leave half an inch of hair, and trim around your dog’s eyes. Hair poking into a dog’s eye could seriously damage their eyes.
Don’t forget to trim their necks, cause that is where a lot of crumbs and dirt get stuck.
Step Nine: Brushing, again
Your journey is almost over, just pick up a suitable brush, which depends on how long your dog’s hair is now, and brush your furry buddy.
Step 10: Time to reward your dog.
They deserve a huge reward for being good while getting their hair did. Give them more treats, and spoil them with an extra playtime session.
If you are curious to see specific grooming needs and hairstyles for long-haired dogs, then read my Which Dog Has Long Hair and Their Grooming Needs blog post.
Do you prefer using scissors over clippers? What are your concerns when it comes to clippers? We could do a post addressing all of your questions in future posts, so make sure to leave us a comment down below.