Grooming 101 - How to Clip Your Own Dog
On: 31 March 2020
Clipping your dog is not as simple as it sounds! This beginner guide can aid you the first few times you choose to groom your dog yourself. Needing to trim your dog's hair yourself? This great beginner guide can teach you the ins and outs of dog grooming, including the tools, terminology and processes.
What You'll Need
To Cut or Not To Cut
Many dogs have 'hair' that is in a constant state of growth, like Oodles, Maltese', Shih Tzus, and many more. These coats can come in a variety of thicknesses, some curly, some fine. These luxurious coats are sort after for their lack of shedding, however they make up for it with a high maintenance coat that needs regular brushing and clipping.
There are also dogs that should not have their hair cut at all; double-coated dogs often are left with a ruined coat after a shear. Dogs like Huskies, Japanese Spitz, Samoyed etc have a soft undercoat that acts as an amazing insulation. Cutting out this undercoat can wreak havoc for your dog's temperature control and it often grows back coarser and loses its functionality.
If your dog has long hair that requires cutting a good set of Pet Clippers is a great addition to your grooming bag. However, these are not to be confused with a Trimmer, which are not designed to cut large amounts of hair.
Here are our most popular dog clippers/trimmers :
Wahl KM2 Speed - up to pretty much any task!
Nifty 2000 - great if you're on a budget
The Rocket - Perfect battery Trimmer for touch ups
Wahl KM Cordless - the next gen of clippers, completely cord-free
Blades & Combs
On the head of the clipper you can find two parts - the 'blade' and the 'comb'. Normally, professionals avoid the use of the comb and use the clipper with just the blade. The comb adds distance between the blade and the skin. Using the clipper without a comb is fine, however for beginners we would recommend using one as a guide while you get used to it.
The larger the number, the shorter the cut (yes, it's the opposite for human clippers, it's annoying, we know).
The universal blade size is 10. You'll find this size comes standard with pretty much every professional pet clipper out there. The 10 blade cuts the hair very short; we recommend this size blade for the belly, feet and face only. If you want your pet to have a little length, a 3 or 4 blade is great.
Much like a car engine, the blade consists of metal rubbing on metal very quickly which generates heat. It's important to keep the blade cool to improve blade efficiency, longevity and stop the chance of accidental burns for both user and pooch.
Every 10 minutes during use you should be checking the blade's temperature. Touch the blade to the inside of your wrist carefully, if it is too hot then apply a small amount of blade ice (which helps to disinfect the blade as well as cool it down quicker) and let the blade rest for a bit, or swap it out for a cold one. Be sure to remove hair as it builds up.
Do not wash the blade in water as it will cause it to rust. Store in a cool, dry place.
Before you Groom
Be sure to wash, brush and blow dry your pooch before you start grooming. We love the Squirt grooming range, they smell devine!
Use a comb on your dog to locate knotted hair and then use a slicker brush to gently remove those knots. Sometimes it's easier to cut them out if they don't come out easily. You're going to cut the hair off anyway. One of our favourite combs is the Gripsoft Rotating Comb.
A soft, clean coat is much easier for the clipper blade to travel through than a dirty one, so wash and scrub your dog thoroughly.
Before grooming lubricate your blade with one to two drops of Blade Oil onto the front of the blade (not the moving part). Wipe away any excess oil.
Okay, so now you have the basics it's time to get to it!
Grooming is a profession and it can take a few goes to get a rhythm going. The tips below can help put theory into practicality, however really the best way to learn is to go ahead and jump in.
- Wash and brush your dog before attempting to clip, as you will struggle to clip a dirty dog and also blunten your blades
- Ensure your dog is completely dry before you start
- With the grain, we repeat, with the grain!
- Stop every 10 minutes to check the blade's temperature, lubricate / Blade Ice if required
- Have lots of treats on hand to give your dog
- If you or your dog gets frustrated, stop and try again later
- Have a bin or vacuum nearby to dispose of the hair
- Wear an apron
- Take extra care around the armpits, genitals and ears
After the Groom
Pat yourself on the back then go have a shower, because you're probably covered in hair. Yeah, that part isn't fun. Actually, most of it isn't fun.
It's also a good idea to brush your dog once more to remove any stray hairs.
You'll also need to clean out any hair from the blade and then clean the blade with blade ice. Once you're satisfied it's clean, dry it with a paper towel.
Make sure you choose a safe place to store your blades in a safe, dry place. Only put your blade away once it's completely try to avoid rust.