Hair clipping is an aspect of dog grooming that is most commonly associated with the grooming of Poodles and other similar breeds that, as outlined in previous chapters, either do not shed or shed very little and thus need our help to maintain a manageable and healthy coat.
However, it is possible to clip all breeds to ensure that their coats remain healthy.
There is one point worth noting in relation to the breed that needs to be said before going any further.
If you dog has a double coat then you should not clip him or her during the summer months because the undercoat actively cools the skin, just as it insulates against the cold in winter.
However, spring or fall clipping is advised to ensure that the coat stays trim.
Single coated dogs, on the other hand, should be clipped as and when necessary with absolutely no worries about the season.
Their cuts can be given on an as and when needed basis.
Before you start to even considering clipping your dog though, there are certain elements of this area of grooming that you should think about before starting. Some of those elements are outlined below:
Age – You should start clipping your dog as early as possible because puppies will react better to clipping than older dogs. Puppies are far more open to new situations and are naturally inquisitive so it is much easier to get your puppy used to noisy clippers than it is to get your older dog used to noisy clippers.
Of course, no matter what age your dog is, you have to get them used to the idea of clipping slowly but you will find it easier if you introduce your dog to it at a young age.
The Clippers – Not to mention that you need a clipper that is considered one of those important dog grooming tools you need. There are so many types and brands of clippers out there that it is easy to choose one if you just wander into the shop and pick some up.
However, this is not the best idea because you should do a little homework first. You have to choose the quietest clippers available and the smoothest as well. Both the noise level and the ease of use will not only affect your experience of clipping but also your dog’s experience.
The more pleasant your dog’s experience, the more open they will be to a repeat experience at a later date.
Breed – The breed of your dog is not only important as a result of the breed standard but also as a result of the type of cut that you give. Poodles, terriers and other breeds all have specific cuts that are designed for that breed. As such, you should do plenty of homework in advance rather than just attacking your dog with the clippers!
Another element to consider is whether or not you are brave enough and feel confident enough to be able to clip your dog properly. Even if you make a mistake first time it is no big deal because it will grow out.
However, if you feel tense and are nervous then that will rub off on your dog, who will in turn have a worse reaction that you. Always remember that your attitude will rub off on your dog and this will of course cause issues if you are nervous.
HOW TO CLIP YOUR DOG
Clipping your dog for the first time is not an easy task. As such, there are some guidelines that you should follow to ensure that you get it right first time. Obviously, you should get your dog used to the clippers in advance, both turned off and turned on.
If you clip your dog the first time that you introduce him or her to the clippers then the likelihood is that you will have a wriggling and uncooperative dog to tend to as well as an unfamiliar experience.
Get used to holding the clippers as well and try running them over your dog’s body without switching them on so that you can get used to the motion you will need to employ to clip your dog successfully.
When you are ready to start clipping, do not start on an area that will stand out in case you get the blade wrong or find that you need more time to get used to the clippers. It is worth starting out by clipping hair under the belly or right under the neck because you can easily test out the clippers and the blade to see how much it will take off the fur.
If you find that it takes off too much or not enough then it is easy to change the blade and try again without making a complete mess of your dog. Practice makes perfect after all!
In terms of the blade, you should remember the one golden rule – the higher the blade number the shorter the cut will be. As such, if you are in doubt then choose a lower number first. You can always change it a little later on and refine the cut.
To make the whole process easier, follow the step by step guide to clipping your dog below:
Firstly, inspect your dog’s coat for matting, tangles and foreign objects like dirt. Remove them all before proceeding. The techniques can be found in previous chapters. Your dog should be brushed well before even attempting to clip him or her because there is nothing worse than trying to clip your dog after he or she has had a bad previous experience of clipping.
Take your time to choose the trimming attachment and snap on comb that you want to use. The number of the attachment should suit your dog’s breed standards because clipping too short can leave your dog vulnerable to the elements. If you are unsure then err on the side of an attachment that may leave the fur too long instead because you can always remedy that.
Turn the clippers onto the correct setting and begin at the front end of your dog. Move towards the back with gentle strokes that move along the coat in the direction in which it grows. You can actually trim your dog in any way you like and should indeed look at the breed standard and advice that is specific to it.
Ideally, you may want to start at the base of the neck, moving towards the back legs and leaving awkward areas like the tail and ears until last.
When it comes to doing the ears, lay one of them flat against the palm of your hand. This will help you to avoid cutting or hurting your dog in any way. Move the clippers gently along the ear, moving away from the head.
Repeat this step on the other ear and indeed on the tail. You should always move with the growth and thus away from the body whenever you clip your dog.
Finally, use a good pair of sharp scissors to tidy up any stray hairs that you may see in addition to trimming the areas of your dog’s body that should never be subjected to the clippers.
These areas are the anal region, the mouth and the eyes. Always be careful not to snip the whiskers because you essentially damage sensory perception should you do that.
When all of the above tasks are complete, brush your dog from head to toe, ensuring that all hairs are removed. It is at this point that you apply conditioner if need be, according to breed standards of course. Then give your dog a treat and tell him or her how good they were!
No matter what, hold your nerve and take your time. Always reward your dog if he or she is good through the clipping process and ensure that he or she is happy. If you adhere to the rest of the information here then the clipping element of dog grooming need not be difficult. In fact, you may well find it easier than you would otherwise have thought.