How to Trim Dog without Cutting Whiskers

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Hard
20 - 30 Minutes
2 Months

Introduction

Most dog breeds have whiskers. They can be on the chin, nose, above the eyebrows, and above their upper lip. Trimming them is not going to cause any pain to speak of as the nerves are located under the skin, not in the whisker itself. While some breeds do still use their whiskers to hunt and play, trimming them will not cause long-term problems. It might slow them down a little, but only until they grow out. To a certain extent, dogs do use their whiskers to sense the size of an opening, feel the air currents, and so forth, so if you want to avoid cutting them, there are ways of doing so. It's up to personal preference whether or not you'd like to go around the whiskers without cutting or trimming them shorter.

Dog's Perspective

Rudy still uses his whiskers in much the same way as wild dogs have been using them since the beginning of the dog species. But since becoming domesticated, their usefulness has slowly faded. While trimming them may feel to Rudy like you have just plugged his ears and put a blinder on him, it will only last until they grow back out. It can be very difficult to trim a dog's face without trimming his whiskers, but it's not impossible. 

The Grooming Shears Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Step
1
The right shears
Start by using the right shears for the job. The best tool for this job is a pair of grooming shears with rounded-tip and safety shears with a sharp blade. This style of shears has a serrated edge on the one side and the blade on the other.
Step
2
Clippers are not a good idea
While you can use clippers for other areas of his head and body, you should not use them on his face and muzzle as this can be very dangerous and bring the risk of injury or cuts.
Step
3
The trick is going slow
There really aren’t any great secrets to trimming Rudy's face. The most important thing to remember is to go slow and take your time as you learn to master the skill. You may snip a few whiskers here and there as you practice, but keep at it and you'll slowly get better.
Step
4
Start at his eyes
Start out by trimming the hair around his eyes. Use one hand to cover his eyes so you can trim the hair above them. Keep the hair around 1/4-inch in length.
Step
5
Care and patience
Now that you are ready to trim Rudy's muzzle, this is where using the shears instead of clippers really comes to the forefront. Using the shears in one hand, use your other hand to hold each individual whisker as you trim the hair from around it. This is going to take some time and effort. Be sure to take plenty of breaks to keep Rudy from fussing and give him treats to let him know he is doing a good job.
Recommend grooming method?

The Electric Clippers Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Clipper
Step
1
Wash and brush first
Start by using a warm washcloth with a little bit of vet-approved shampoo to wash Rudy's head and face. You can do this while giving him a bath or separately, in between baths. Use a slicker brush to brush out his hair and remove any tangles, food crumbs, and mats. Allow him to dry.
Step
2
Check your clippers
Check your clippers to make sure they have a clean, sharp blade that is properly lubricated installed. Turn them on and let Rudy get used to the sound of them running before you try to use them.
Step
3
Start on top
Start by trimming the hair on top of Rudy's head around his cheeks, under his ears, and along the top of his muzzle. Go slow to avoid snipping any whiskers in the process, but don't be afraid if you catch one or two of them accidentally.
Step
4
Trim the underside
You can use the clippers to trim under his chin and his beard. If at any time you come across whiskers, you have two choices. If your hand is steady enough, you can try to trim the rest of his hair without cutting the whiskers or you can put the clippers down and use shears to trim around them.
Step
5
Trim around the nose and muzzle
The same applies to the areas around his nose and muzzle. If you have a very steady hand, you can use clippers to trim the area or if not, use shears. Hold each whisker out of the way as you trim around it. Finish up by praising Rudy for being good and give him a treat.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Unless you have a very steady hand and a very relaxed dog, using clippers can be very dangerous and result in injury. Avoid using them if you're not very experienced with the clippers.
  • Be sure the clipper blades are sharp and well lubricated. Do not use clippers if you don't have the appropriate blades or lubrication to maintain them, as this can cause cuts or other injuries.
  • If you are using shears, be sure they are sharp and have rounded safety tips. This will prevent any cuts or nicks around his face. 
  • Take your time, take frequent breaks, and use plenty of calming chatter to keep Rudy relaxed.
  • You can also use treats as rewards along the way and at the end of the grooming session in order to encourage Rudy to stay still and patient throughout the process.
  • Shears are a much safer, if only a little slower, method of trimming your dog's face without cutting his whiskers. You may choose to alternate between shears and clippers, but ensure that you're taking your time either way. 

Conclusion

Your dog's whiskers do grow back very quickly and it really won't bother him overly much if you do accidentally trim them. But, by taking your time and going slowly, you can successfully trim his face without cutting his whiskers which can maintain the look that you want him to have before and after his groom. Don't stress about any accidental cutting of the whiskers, as Rudy will get them back in no time. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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