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How To Give Your Dog A Haircut

There are all kinds of dogs with all kinds of coats. This means that thereís no one way to trim a dog or give your dog a haircut. How you groom your dog will depend on a number of factors.

What Kind of Dog and Coat?

If you have a shorthaired dog, such as a Beagle, then grooming your dog will be very easy. You wonít actually have to give your dog a haircut. There is no clipping or trimming involved in caring for the coat of a shorthaired dog.

On the other hand, if you have a dog with long or curly hair, or wire hair, then you will probably need to do some trimming, depending on the breed.

Longhaired dogs include Maltese, Afghan Hounds, Setters, Springer Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers and so on. In some cases these dogs may have coat that flows to the floor. For show dogs, who have people who care for their coats on a full-time basis, this is the way these dogs are supposed to look. If you are a pet owner with a dog with a long coat you may find it inconvenient to have your dog keep his coat so long. In that case a haircut may be in order.

Curly-coated dogs include Poodles, Bichon Frise, Water Spaniels, Portuguese Water Dogs and the like. In many cases these dogs are groomed and given haircuts to make them look tidier and more presentable. They donít have to be trimmed. Water Spaniels, for instance, have coats that will form tight curls and they are quite comfortable like this and ready to go in the water. But Poodles and Bichon Frise are usually trimmed.

Wirehaired dogs such as Schnauzers, Wirehaired Dachshunds and many terriers are either hand-plucked (for showing) or trimmed by clippers. They donít usually have to be trimmed very often ó every few months. But they do look better when their coats are kept trim.

Personal Preference

No matter what kind of dog you have, or what kind of coat they have, your personal preference will play a role in your dogís haircut. For instance, you may choose to keep your Yorkieís hair long and flowing or you can have her trimmed to keep it short. The choice is yours.

Tools Youíll Need

The tools youíll need to give your dog a haircut will vary slightly from breed to breed but, basically, you will need a steady surface so your dog canít jump around; dog clippers; straight scissors for grooming; and thinning scissors. Professional groomers and show groomers use a grooming table with a pole to hold dogs steady and in position. You will need a similar table or something in place of one. Most dogs do not like clippers at first and your dog will probably protest when you start to use them. Itís easy to gouge your dogís coat and make unsightly holes in the fur unless the dog is steady.

You can purchase pet dog clippers for a modest price or you can buy professional clippers like the ones dog groomers use. Naturally you will get a better result with the professional clippers. You will be able to change grooming blades and leave the hair longer or shorter as you choose, for example.

Good scissors are not inexpensive. You can find them for sale at beauty supply stores or by checking online at dog supply sources. Straight scissors cut sharp and straight. Thinning scissors make a more natural cut and blend the hair. Groomers use both kinds of scissors when grooming.

Before You Groom

Before you give your dog a haircut you should find photos of how you want your dog to look when youíre finished. Tape the pictures next to your grooming area so you can refer to them as you groom. It helps to keep the finished picture in mind as you work.

Giving Your Dog A Haircut

Remember that itís best to take off less rather than more. You can always go back later and do touch-ups but you canít put back hair once you take it off. So go slowly and remove small amounts of hair as you work. Stop often to look at your dog and see how he is looking overall.

If your dog is resistant or puts up a fuss keep giving him treats as you groom. Speak in a soothing voice and tell him that heís a good dog. If your dog hasnít been groomed before this may be a very scary experience for him so go very slowly and donít try to do too much.

Most people start grooming at the dogís head and work backwards along the body, doing the neck and stomach.

Be very careful when you work around your dogís face and ears since these are sensitive areas and the noise from the clippers may seem very loud to him.

Try to remove any mats before you put your dog on the table. This will make it easier to use the clippers on the coat and you wonít have to pull the coat or skin.

After you have used the clippers on the part of the body you wanted to use them over, go back and use the thinning scissors to blend any long hair with shorter hair.

Use your straight scissors to trim around your dogís paws and tidy them up.

Finishing Up

After you have finished your dogís haircut you should stand back and give it another look. How does he look? Have you missed any places? Do you need to fix an area?

You'll learn more with each haircut. You can always ask a professional groomer for some tips or ask if you can hang out in the grooming shop for a little while to see what you can learn.


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