How to Groom a Dog's Face with Clippers

Medium
15 - 30 Minute
4 Week

Introduction

Grooming your dog’s furry face can be quite intimidating, especially if you are using clippers. Getting anything sharp near those sweet little eyes, that little, wet nose and those tender cheeks is nerve-wracking. But your dog's fur grows and if he has a lot of it, especially on and around his face, he will begin to look scraggly quickly. Teaching yourself how to groom your dog's face with clippers will make your life easier and your dog cuter. It will only take a few tries before you have this grooming task mastered. There are some tricks of the trade that you should know before you attempt grooming your dog's face with clippers, though. 

Dog's Perspective

If your dog is not used to being groomed, especially by you, he may be a little apprehensive. Having clippers so close to his face may feel a little scary. Clippers are loud, and they feel funny up against your dog's skin. You can help ease your dog's tension by having a partner help you introduce your dog to the clippers before you use them on his face, and finding a pair of clippers that are as quiet as possible.

The Gentle Approach Method

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Scissors
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Prepare ahead
Gather all the supplies you’ll need to groom your dog’s face. You may need a pair of straight edged thinning scissors for some areas. A wet wipe might help with cleaning eyes or wiping loose hair off the face.
Step
2
Plan
Have your dog sitting in front of you either on a table or on the floor sitting face to face. Hold your dog’s face and plan your style and cuts. Will you be keeping the fur above his eyes longer or shorter? Will the fur along his muzzle be short while the hair between his eyes and ears stays longer?
Step
3
Clippers
If you plan to change blades on your clippers during this grooming, be sure to have them all handy. Start with the muzzle and the shortest areas. Try not to place the clippers directly on the skin. For the first few times, you may find it easier to work one side of the face and then the other side instead of one area at the time.
Step
4
Steady
Gently hold your dog’s head and clip in the direction the fur falls on your dog’s face. This may mean starting near your dog’s eyes and moving the clippers down the muzzle. From the top of the muzzle, move downward toward the jowls.
Step
5
Ears
Lift your dog’s ears and clip the spaces between the ears and eyes, moving the clippers down.
Step
6
Above eyes
With a comb or scissors, lift the fur above the eyes and clip to the length you’d like.
Step
7
Tidy up
With a comb and scissors, you may need to tidy up the face from stray hairs or untidy lines.
Recommend grooming method?

The Right Tools Method

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Scissors
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Get Ready
Have your tools and your dog ready for a face grooming before you start. Your dog should be bathed and brushed out before clipping. You may also need a comb and scissors handy.
Step
2
Clippers
Holding the clippers in your hand, let your dog sniff them. Turn the clippers on away from your dog’s face and let him hear the sound. You can also hold the clipper’s handle up against your dog’s body so he can feel the vibration the clippers make. Be sure your blade is set and sharp. A dull blade could pull your dog’s fur, causing pain.
Step
3
Direction
Even for the face, you will want to clip in the direction the fur grows. This may mean moving the clippers along in different directions while doing the whole face.
Step
4
Hold dog
Harness your dog or hold him still so he doesn’t move around. A sudden jerking motion could cause an injury.
Step
5
Muzzle
Starting on top of the muzzle, gently move the clippers downward in the direction of the fur.
Step
6
Cheeks
Lift the ears to access your dog’s cheeks. Again, be sure to clip in the direction the fur is growing. This will prevent snags and pulls while creating gentle, soft lines.
Step
7
Above eyes
Use a comb or scissors to lift the fur above the eyes. Without touching the clippers to the skin, cut the length necessary, a little at a time, around the eyes.
Step
8
Wipe
Once your dog’s face is tidy, wipe it down with a wet wipe to remove any excess loose hair.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Depending on your dog's breed and how tidy you would like your dog's face to appear, you may need to groom his face with clippers every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • If your dog is a long-haired dog and you want to keep his face short while allowing the hair around his head to grow longer, you will need to groom more frequently.
  • Avoid placing the clippers directly on the skin as these may irritate your dog's skin while also startling your dog.
  • A small to medium-sized dog may do better sitting or lying on a table while you groom his face.
  • A large breed dog can lie on the floor on a towel or a blanket with you sitting in front of him or behind him, depending on how you need to reach around his head to get to his face.
  • Be aware of where your dog's eyes are relative to the clippers as you groom his face.
  • The top of your dog's muzzle typically does not need to be groomed, however, the sides may need to be. Just make sure you do one side at a time and point your clippers in the direction of the hair growth.

Conclusion

Each dog breed traditionally appears different from other breeds. Before you go to groom your dog's face with clippers, be sure you know what the typical dog looks like within your dog's breed. But also, have no fear. He is your dog and he will still love you, even if for the first time you are practicing grooming his face with clippers, he doesn't look exactly fur-tastic.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions