I’ve always been interested in grooming so I can certainly understand the hype of people wanting to groom their own dogs. Though, I think a lot of people don’t realise just how hard it is. There are lots of little things that aren’t written on the backs of any packaging, some, aren’t even written in any of the books. There are things a groomer just knows. Either from the school they went to or the person they were taught by or from experience on the job.
If you’re keen on grooming your dog yourself, that’s great! It’s awesome! If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it for work. 🤭
In saying that, do be careful. It’s not as easy as just grabbing a pair of clippers and going to town.
Points to Consider
1. Have you prepared the coat properly?
Clipper blades and scissors won’t work on dirty hair or knotty hair. The dog must be washed and brushed thoroughly prior to cutting. Unless you are shaving very short – say #7F or #10 blade. For everything else, you’re going to need to do some prep work.
2. Have you got the right tools on hand?
Not only do you need scissors and clippers, but, you’ll also need: Styptic Powder or Gel, Ear Cleaner and/or tissues, nail cutters for your dog’s nail size, steel comb, slicker brush, shampoo and a dog drier. The tools you use differ based on the type of hair your dog has and what you’re trying to do.
Why a Dog Drier?Noooo! Not my hair drier!!!
The average human hair drier gets way too hot and it can be hard to judge the temperature with one, making it easy to burn your dog. Human hair dryers are also not designed to be on for hours and hours so you will lose the longevity of your hair drier as it can take 1-2 hours to thoroughly dry your dog.
3. Do you know how to cut your dog’s nails?
There are lots of pictures on the internet that show the correct cutting line of a dog’s nail, however, what they don’t show are the differences in nails and how to modify the diagram to suit. Some dog’s nails are super tough and some crumble easily. Some have a very long ‘quick’ and some are short. Some are dark and some are almost see-through. All of these must be handled slightly differently.
4. Are you aware of the anatomy of the dog?
There are a few key areas of loose, thin skin to be careful of. These are areas you can’t always see 100%, but, if you know where they are you can remember to trim them safely.
Some areas are the ‘Flank’ or ‘tuck up’, the pouch of the ear, your dog’s private bits and their paw pads. You can easily knick or slice your dog in these areas especially due to the thin bits of skin that can get caught in the clippers or easily knicked with the scissors.
5. Do you know how to remove mats & eye gunk?
If ‘eye gunk’ is left for too long, it dries in a clump on the dog’s face and can be quite tricky to remove.
If knots are left for too long they entangle themselves and form solid mats which are also tricky to remove. You can attempt to lift both away from the skin with a comb so that you can trim them out without knicking the dog’s skin.
6. Will you clean their private bits properly?
Yeh, I know. It sounds gross but someone’s gotta do it! It’s a really important area to keep clean. Urine and faeces left on your dog’s privates can cause infection so thorough rinsing and washing is imperative for cleanliness. Trust me, It’s not uncommon to wash the poop off a dogs rear… 💩
The reward after grooming a dog is instant. They bounce around wagging their tail as if to say “thanks! I feel better now!” and I truly believe they do. Any groomer will be able to tell you a story about a dog who might have been heavily matted or had a lot of compacted undercoat to be removed and how the dog seemed to have a real pep in their step and bounded around the room after being groomed.
That’s the beauty of grooming a dog. That little glimpse of appreciation from their wagging tails and flailing tongues.