How to Groom a Dog's Legs

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
4 Weeks

Introduction

All dogs are different, and various breeds may require a different cut while grooming. You could groom your dog's legs in a generic cut, or use one of many styles for your dog's leg fur, from a cone shape to a tube shape. You can shave it short or cut it longer so it still moves with the wind. 

Whether you are using scissors or clippers, you will want to brush or comb the fur out first. Even if you decide to keep the fur on your dog's legs long, you will most definitely notice a difference because the fur won't look scraggly or ragged once you are done grooming. Once you have finished, brush your dog daily to keep up the beautiful look you have created.

Dog's Perspective

Your dog may be a bit nervous if grooming is new or if he is a young pup. The sound of the clippers could scare him a bit. To combat this, you can turn the clippers on and gently place them against your dog's skin so he can hear and feel the vibration. If your dog is anxious, he may wiggle as well. Harness him and tether to a stronghold so he doesn't jump or flinch, causing himself harm. Talking to your dog and offering treats can also help ease any tension he may have.

The Scissors Only Method

Effective
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Scissors
Comb
Step
1
Command
Begin to train your dog to recognize a command for grooming. This could be as simple as using the word 'grooming' each time you move your dog into a new position for brushing or clipping. Teaching this command will prep him for what's to come and why he's in the position you place him in.
Step
2
Position
Put your dog in a standing position in preparation for grooming his legs. If he wiggles, you may need to tether him to keep him anchored and safe. Some owners find laying their dog on his back gives a better position and access to the dog's legs, but many dogs don't enjoy being on their backs.
Step
3
Comb
With a grooming comb, comb the fur on your dog's legs. If you can get knots out with a comb, do so now. For mats or difficult areas, you may need scissors. Combing upward will help move the fur into position for cutting. If your dog is matted, be careful combing upward, as it may be painful for your dog.
Step
4
Scissors
With a pair of trimming scissors, cut out any difficult knots along the legs. You may also need these scissors to clean up any unsightly lines along the fur after using clippers. If you keep your dog's leg fur long, use scissors to trim any long spots.
Step
5
Comb again
Once you have trimmed long fur with scissors, go over one more time with your scissors, combing the fur upward and then back down to smooth out the remaining fur. This is ideal for longer fur on legs.
Recommend grooming method?

The Clippers Method

Effective
0 Votes
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Blade
Pick the correct blade for your dog's fur length. Do your research on your dog's breed type and the desired length of fur. You may also want to consider getting a blade specifically for between the toes.
Step
2
Front legs
You can use a 'give me your paw' command to get your dog's paw into your hands. Once you have your dog's leg up, shave with the clippers from the armpit down toward the toes. Be careful not to get too close to the skin.
Step
3
Clip
Once you have your dog's leg up, shave with the clippers from the armpit down toward the toes. Again, be cautious not to get too close to your dog's skin.
Step
4
Direction
Change direction of the clippers and go over the same line from the toes to the armpit. This will smooth out any missed fur from the first run and cut fur growing from the opposite direction as the first cut.
Step
5
Circle
Use your clippers to circle around the length of your dog's leg. Be careful of elbows and sensitive skin.
Step
6
Rear legs
Clip back legs from the thigh down towards the knee and back of knee in a zig-zag pattern from the thigh downward, avoiding any nicks on the kneecaps.
Step
7
Back of rear legs
Move the clippers downward except for the back of the foot just above the ankle. Treat this area like the front legs and clip in one direction and then the other direction.
Step
8
Shape
With scissors, shape the leg and clean up any long stray hairs. With scissors, you can make any final shaping or finishing touches.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Your dog may be a bit nervous if grooming is new or if he is a young pup. 
  • The sound of the clippers could scare him a bit. To combat this, you can turn the clippers on and gently place them against your dog's skin so he can hear and feel the vibration.
  •  If your dog is anxious, he may wiggle as well. Keep him safe and ensure he feels safe as well.
  • Harness him and tether to a stronghold so he doesn't jump or flinch causing himself harm. 
  • Depending on your dog's breed and the style you are looking for him to have, you may need to trim his legs every other week to once a month to maintain a well-groomed look.
  •  If your dog's legs have any mats in the fur, you will want to cut these out before clipping with clippers. 
  • Always try to brush or comb through the fur as well before clipping or cutting to make the clippers run smoothly. 
  • Start slow and move the clippers in opposite directions, except in sensitive areas such as kneecaps and ankles or elbows.
  • Keep the clipper blade flat avoiding pressing into the skin to prevent cuts.
  • Your dog's fur will grow back if you make a mistake. And he will still love you if the mistake makes him look a bit silly.

Conclusion

Grooming with professionals can create a beautiful show dog. But if you'd like to do some grooming at home, you can trim, cut, and shave to make your dog pretty too. Get a leg up on your dog's grooming process and teach yourself how to groom your pup. He will look fantastic with a bit of practice. You can groom your dog yourself and make his fur into boots that were made for walking--have fun with the process! Unless he's a show dog, allow yourself to make mistakes along the way and learn the process of grooming.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions