How to Groom a Dog Using Scissors

Hard
15 - 60 Minutes
2 Month

Introduction

The idea of grooming your pup's hair using a pair of scissors can be a bit intimidating, especially if it's your first time. There are several very good reasons to learn how to groom your pup using a pair of scissors instead of electric clippers. The noise clippers make tend to scare most puppies and can make them difficult to handle during grooming. Using a pair of scissors is also a good time to bond with your pup and you can be far more creative, especially if your dog is one the many breeds that have specific cuts. 

Dog's Perspective

If your dog is like most, the noise and vibrations from electric clippers are very scary and often cause unnecessary anxiety. When he sees that the only things you have in your hands are a comb or brush and a pair scissors, he is far more likely to be calm and relaxed when grooming time comes. 

The Basic Method

Effective
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Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Brush and bath first
It can be very hard to groom a dog with long hair that is dirty and matted. Give your pup a nice bath and once his coat is dry, brush him out to remove mats and tangles. Don't worry about any you can't brush out, you can trim them out during the haircut phase.
Step
2
Choose your style
Now that his coat is all clean and brushed out, it's time to decide how short you want to trim his coat and what style you want it to be. Bear in mind that with long-haired breeds, you don't have to cut all your pup's hair to the same length. For example, you can leave the sides longer than his belly hair.
Step
3
Get a head start
Start by trimming the hair around your pup's eyes. Use one hand to hold the hair out of his eyes and keep his eyes closed, this will help him remain calm. Then trim around his ears, around and under his muzzle, and then down his neck to his shoulders.
Step
4
Move along, please
Slowly and carefully cut his hair to the length you have decided on, working along his back to his tail. Then move to the sides and legs, before trimming his belly. Take plenty of time in the more sensitive areas to avoid snipping more than just a few hairs.
Step
5
Finishing up
Once you have his hair trimmed to the desired length, you can brush him out and check for high or low spots, use thinning shears to remove any mats, and take off those little touch-ups along the way. Give him one final brushing, tell him what a beautiful pup he is (yes dogs do have feelings), and give him a treat.
Recommend grooming method?

The Step-by-Step Method

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Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Step
1
Comb out first
Start by combing out your dog's coat from front to back so that it all lays flat. A dog's hair all grows in one direction.
Step
2
Muzzle
If your pup has long hair under his muzzle, pull down on it gently and trim as needed. Take your time here to make sure you get it even. Small cuts are better, as you can always cut more off, but you can't cut less off.
Step
3
Top of his head
Gently pull the hair on top of your pup's head forward and trim it back until it is no longer hanging in his eyes. Trim the hair on your pup's ears by using one hand to hold his ear and ensure you don't cut his ear when you are trimming the hair on his ears. Cut it close, but stay far enough away from your pup's ears that he is not at risk of being cut.
Step
4
On to the neck
Comb the back of your pup's neck and trim to length, you can use the comb or your fingers as a guide. Move from here around to the front of his neck before moving on to his chest. If your pup has a thick coat, you may need to use a pair of thinning shears to cut this area. Pick up one of his front legs and comb the hair, trim it until is level and neat. Put the leg down and trim any other hair that needs a touch-up. Repeat for the other side. Use thinning scissors to trim the fur between his toes and on his feet. Repeat this process for his rear legs.
Step
5
Comb and trim his back and sides
Once again, comb out his back and sides. Start by trimming a short amount first to gauge how long you want his coat to be. It is far easier to trim it a second time than to end up having to cut his coat far shorter than you want. Of course, if this does happen, all you have to do is wait, as the fur will eventually grow back out.
Step
6
Cleaning up the rear
Finish up by trimming any excessive hair around your pup's derriere and then his tail if needed. Finally, give him a nice brushing, trim any high spots, and give your dog a nice treat. Be sure to give him lots of praise.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • First and foremost, use sharp scissors. Dull ones will snag the hair and pull on it, hurting your pup.
  • You will need straight, curved, and rounded-tip scissors, as well as thinning shears.
  • Be sure to keep the scissors nice and sharp, as well as oiled, to ensure smooth, even cutting without pulling on your pup's hair.
  • Think about getting a grooming table with a restraint, it will make the entire grooming process go more smoothly if your pup likes to fidget.
  • Be very careful when using thinning shears, as the teeth can snag your pup's skin grinding into it, which is very painful.
  • Give your pup time to get used the scissors before getting started, this will help to alleviate his fears. There is no set time for this, your pup will let you know when he is comfortable with them.
  • Remember to take your time when grooming your pup with a pair of scissors. Not only will doing so result in a better cut, but it will also help keep your dog nice and calm during the process. 

Conclusion

The last thing you want is for your dog to end up looking like he had a run-in with an electric hedge trimmer. Your pup has feelings too and the last thing he wants is to be the laughing stock of the neighborhood. Go slow, pay attention to what you are doing, and make sure you give your dog plenty of praise and a handful of his favorite treats when you are all done. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions