How to Groom a Dog with Thinning Shears

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

To a professional dog groomer, thinning shears are their "go to" tool. Yet at the same time, most people who groom their own dogs at home tend to shy away from them. In general, this is because they just don't know how to use this particular type of shear. Dog thinning shears are specially designed to only remove a small amount of hair with each cut. When used properly, they can take blunt lines between layers or from clipper cut hair to shear cut hair much softer, creating in a more natural flow. Be sure you buy good quality shears, as cheap ones won't stay sharp for very long. 

Dog's Perspective

While it might not seem like it, your dog loves having a nice clean well-groomed coat. From your point of view, cutting your pup's coat gives you a golden opportunity to go over his body from tip to tail looking for fleas, tick, injuries, mats, and overall skin condition. At the same time, your dog may be nervous about the shears and you using them at first, be sure to take plenty of time to let him get used to the tool. This will save you a lot of aggravation later on. 

The Leash Method

Effective
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Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Everything in its place
Start by laying all the tools you plan to use out within easy reach of your workspace. These should include brushes, combs, and thinning shears. This will save you a lot of wasted time and frustration during the grooming session.
Step
2
Dog in place
Choose a spot for grooming, one that you can use every time. For smaller dogs, this can be a table or counter space. For bigger dogs, the floor is best. If the surface isn't non-slip, use a rubber mat to keep your dog from being injured.
Step
3
Attach the leash
Attach one end of a leash to a point above your pup's head at a point where, when clipped in place, he has some movement, but not enough that he can move and injure himself. Be sure he can put his weight on all four feet.
Step
4
Combover
Brush or comb through your pup's hair gently to remove mats or tangles and separate the hairs you want to be cut from those you don’t.
Step
5
Hold the shears
Hold the thinning shears at an angle to your pup's body with the handle end closer and the tip angled away. Cut the hair slowly, working your way from his paws up and from front to back. Let the shears do the work, this way they will cut the hair rather than trying to rip them out of your pup's skin. Keep checking your work to make sure you are cutting the right line and that you are cutting the hairs to the desired length.
Recommend grooming method?

The Clean Dog Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Dryer
Step
1
Bath time
Start out by giving your dog a bath, this will remove dirt, debris, fleas, ticks, and help to reduce the size of any mats in his coat. Using a towel or hair dryer, dry his coat thoroughly.
Step
2
Detangling time
Using a pin brush or mat brush, work your way through his coat and gently remove any mats you find with a de-matting tool. If you leave the mats and tangles in his coat, you will never get the results you are looking for.
Step
3
Clippers first
Using good quality clippers trim larger areas such as his underbelly first. These areas tend to be short on most dogs, so clippers are a great way to trim these areas quickly and evenly.
Step
4
Time to blend
Using thinning shears, work your way along the line between longer hairs and short hair. The thinning shears will give you a much softer line that blends the different lengths together. Regular straight shears will leave you with hard lines that are clearly visible.
Step
5
Check your work
During the entire time you are trimming your pup's hair, be sure to step back from time to time and check your work. It is a lot easier to trim a little more off than it is to try and put hair back once you have made the cut! After all, the last thing you want is for your pup to be too embarrassed to go outside until his coat grows out.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • How often will you need to trim your pup's hair? This depends almost entirely on the breed of dog and how fast his coat grows. In most cases, you should at least check his coat once a month, but the reality is that you should trim his hair when it looks like it needs to be done.

  • Always use shears with rounded safety tips.

  • Never use shears with points, as they easily injure your pup if he moves suddenly.

  • Never use thinning shears to remove mats, tangles, or burrs from your pup's coat.

  • Always use sharp shears. 

  • You can use a fine-tooth comb between the shears and your pup's body both as a guide and a safety barrier between his skin and the shears.

  • Give your pup plenty of time to get used to both clippers and shears before starting to work, this can help to reduce your pup's anxiety, making things go a little bit easier.

  • Slow and steady wins the race--trying to cut too quickly can result in the hair becoming trapped in the shears and being painfully ripped out.

  • Take your time, relax, and make the entire experience fun for both of you. Not only will this help keep your pup calm, it will also result in a much better job.

Conclusion

Why on earth would you want to pay the high price of taking your pup to a professional groomer when with a little practice you can do the same job and pocket all the money you have been shelling out each month? Just remember to be calm and patient, your dog will take his cues from you, making it much easier to get the job done. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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