How to Trim a Dog at Home

Easy
30 - 60 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Perhaps your dog hates going to the groomer for a trim, but does not seem to mind staying at home for one. The sights and sounds, not to mention the smells, at the groomer's might be stressful for your dog, but if he doesn't mind being groomed at home, learning to trim your dog at yourself may be the perfect solution, and it’s cheaper too. 

If you are going to trim your dog at home starting with a simple cut, at least at first, is probably advisable. Most professional groomers will be willing to give you advice on how to groom your dog. Also, you should probably be fairly tolerant of possible haircut "faux paws” at first while you are learning how to trim your dog.  If having a perfect “do” for your dog is a necessity, a home haircut may not be the best option for you and your diva dog.

Dog's Perspective

Although some dogs love to go to the groomers, many would prefer to give it a miss. It’s noisy, smells funny, and other dogs can be intimidating.  A nice trim at home may be far preferable to your pooch; he is comfortable with you, can take a break if he gets tired, and there are no strange dogs to deal with.  If your dog would rather give the professional groomers a miss, maybe an at-home haircut is just the ticket. After all, your pup probably isn't very self-conscious about what he looks like if you don’t get his cut perfect the first time anyway!

The Trim with Electric Clippers Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Brush
Thoroughly brush your dog out before clipping. If possible, place your dog on a grooming table for better access and use restraints.
Step
2
Hold clippers parallel
Place clippers with the flat side parallel to your dog's body. You should not need to exert pressure. This will help prevent nicking your dogs skin. Run the clippers in the direction of the your dog's coat growth.
Step
3
Clip head and body
Start clipping at the top of the head and then down the neck and shoulders. Clip under the ears, the chin and throat, and the chest area. Clip down front legs; pick up legs and hold them out straight to get all sides of the leg and underneath. Clip over the back and down the sides and under the belly. Clip the hind legs. You will need to lift hind legs one at a time to get the inside of the hind legs. Clip about an inch down the tail.
Step
4
Clip backside
Switch to a short blade to clip the anal area. Hold the tail up and clip around the anal area and down under the backside area.
Step
5
Finish with underside
Last, clip the tummy area, Remember to check the clipper blades frequently to ensure they do not overheat and use coolant and oil blades as necessary.
Recommend grooming method?

The Trim with Scissors Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Prepare correct tools
Determine which scissors you need, straight, curved, blunt ended, or thinning scissors, and make sure scissors are sharp and appropriate for cutting hair. Blunt ended scissors are good for fidgety dogs, straight scissors are good all purpose scissors, curved scissors are good for contouring, and thinning scissors leave hair long while removing fullness. Place your dog where you can easily reach all sides--a grooming table is ideal. Brush your dog thoroughly. Brush hair along your dog's topside backwards so you can see uneven ends.
Step
2
Trim body
Hold a section of hair between your fingers held parallel to your dog's body and trim excess hair sticking up to the same length using your fingers as a guide. Hair can be dampened with spray first. Continue along the back and sides of your dog. Trim the chest. Always hold scissors parallel to your dog's body.
Step
3
Trim legs
Comb the legs and continue trimming with scissors the same as for rest of body, holding hair between your fingers and cutting on the top side away from your dog's body until your dog's hair is the desired length. Brush hair back on your dog's paws and trim hair from around the top and bottom of each paw.
Step
4
Trim face
Comb the hair on the top of your dog's head between the ears straight up. Hold with your fingers and trim above your fingers to the desired length. Work in rows down to each ear, then to the eyes. Use your fingers or a small comb to hold hair around eyes and nose and trim on the other side of comb or fingers. Rounded scissors are good for working in this area. Trim under the chin and bottom of the head. Trim ears evenly and trim hair from under ear near the entrance to the ear canal. Hold ears out or put cotton balls in your dog's ears so hair doesn't fall into ear canal.
Step
5
Trim tail, backside and belly
Trim tail along bottom to desired length and then twist the hair at the end of the tail and cut it straight across. Be careful not to nick the tail skin. Trim backside and belly. Continuing to work in sections using your fingers as a guide and holding scissors parallel, never pointing at your dog.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Use sharp clipper blades or scissors suitable for cutting dog hair.
  • Use guides combs on clippers to avoid nicks.
  • Use clipper coolant, not water, to cool clipper blades if necessary, and check frequently to ensure that blades do not overheat and burn your dog.
  • Always hold scissors parallel, never pointing at your dog.
  • Use rounded scissors when working on the face, or if your dog is liable to move around.
  • Use neck and haunches restraints if possible to hold your dog still while trimming. A grooming table or elevated surface that allows you to easily access your dog is ideal.
  • Take your time. Do not rush, as this can stress out your dog or cause injury.
  • Give your dog a break if he needs one and finish later,  your dog doesn't care what he looks like in the interim.

Conclusion

Trimming your dog at home can be a great way to save money and keep your dog from stressing at the groomers.  Plus, it can be a great bonding time for you and your dog if he enjoys you grooming him. It may take a little practice to get the desired results--don't be too picky at first, remember your dog probably doesn't care if he does not look perfect. Clippers or scissors used at home should be appropriate for the job and in good condition just like at a professional groomer's.  Good equipment is a must!  Give it a try you might just be sold on a new way to get your dog trimmed by doing it from home.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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