When it comes to dog grooming for some dogs, all you have to do is brush them a couple times a week with little or no trimming whatsoever required. But there are some that will need to be trimmed once every few months; and others more often once every 4-8 weeks. Some dogs such as the wire-coated dogs should not be trimmed but rather hand-stripped once to twice every year.
Depending on a few things such as your dogs’ daily activity (whether its outdoors often), your dog’s type of coat (fur) and how much time you have to set aside for dog grooming, these will determine the type of cut you want to get at the groomers.
A simpler cut will be easier to maintain. Then afterward, you can determine which parts of the styling you could do yourself at home to keep your dog neat and tidy between trips to the groomer. Depending on the dog’s type of coat, you could be alright if you try trimming around the edges of your dog’s coat. Do anything more than that such as attempting to give your dog a full haircut put your dog at risk of injury and an embarrassing hairstyle.
The best thing you can do for your pet between the dog grooming trips is to keep the coat clean and combed out any mats or tangles on your dog’s coat. These not only maintain the dog’s skin and coat better, they will make the groomer’s job a lot easier the next visit.
If you are thinking of trimming your dog’s coat with scissors in between trips, you should first speak to your groomer, they will know what’s best for you and your dog. You might even get some free advice from your groomer as to which part of your dog’s coat you can help out with.
If you want to do it all by yourself, ask your groomer to give your dog a simpler cut that you can maintain on your own. There are some groomers that have special days where they teach pet owners how to take care of their dog’s fur. Sign up for one such session to familiarize yourself before any attempt to do it on your own. You find it a lot easier with some prior knowledge.
Choosing a Set of Dog Grooming Scissors for You
Before you begin, you will also need to get all the tools you’ll need to trim your dog’s coat. In selecting your set of scissors, there are a few things to think about when you go buy the scissors for trimming your dog’s fur.
- What will I be using the scissors for (Straight cut, curved cut, thinning etc)?
- How often will the scissors be used (depends on you dog breed)?
In addition, think about how heavy or light you want the scissors to be and if you will need a left- or right-handed scissors.
Ask yourself whether you want a good pair of scissors that is made with harder steel which would be more durable. These premium types will also stay sharp longer and can usually be resharpened to extend their life.
A professional groomer will usually have a set of scissors for different purposes to make sure they can do the best job possible for their customers’ dogs.
If your intention is to trim your dog’s fur yourself to maintain a basic cut, all you’ll need is a few good pairs of scissors and a metal dog comb:
- Straight Grooming Scissors: These are the most popular of all scissors because they are made in a large selection of sizes and weights and have various blade lengths. Buy one that suits you and your dog. You’ll need to use sharp scissors for cutting because dull scissors will pull the dog’s fur.
- Thinning Scissors: Thinning scissors are used to thin out hair on a thick coat. They have one fine-toothed blade and one cutting blade, so if used to snip through the dog’s hair, they will only remove some of the hair, thinning it out, rather than cutting it away. They can also be used to blend different lengths of fur on the coat unlike a straight scissors which will leave a defined edge.
- Curved Scissors: These scissors are curved slightly towards the tip of the scissors. They are needed to easily trim and shape the fur around the contour of the dog’s body.
- Rounded Tipped Safety Scissors: These special type scissors are used to cut around certain areas such as the paws and face. They are also great for trimming between the dog’s pads if you have an active dog in particular.
- Metal Dog Comb: For combing out tangles and knots.
- Dog Grooming Table: Consider getting one so that you can restrain your dog during the trimming. Besides, an elevated position is much better treatment to your back than trying to trim your dog on the floor!
Step-by-step Instructions To Trimming Your Dog With Scissors
1 – Comb the dog’s fur on his face and body in the direction of the fur’s growth so that all of it lays flat.
2 – If the dog has long hair under his muzzle, pull it down lightly so you can see what it looks like. You can then use scissors to shape it up, always comb the fur after each small cut so you can see the change.
3 – Starting at the top of the dog’s head. Pull the hair forward gently and trim it so there is no fur hanging in front of the dog’s eyes.
4 – When trimming the ears, hold the ear in one hand so that you can feel the edges of the ear. With the other hand, trim slowly to an evenness around the ear and try not to get the scissors too close in case you nick your dog’s ear. Do the same for the other ear.
5 – Move down to the neck, combing the back of the neck before moving to the front of the neck and chest. Use a thinning scissor to thin the coat if you have a dog that has a thick coat on its chest.
6 – Move on to the fore leg on either side of your dog. Lift one side of your dog’s leg up so you can see underneath the leg. Then comb the area. If there is any unevenness, trim the area lightly to remove any stray hairs. Put down the leg and check the leg itself. Use grooming scissors to tidy around the leg by trimming any feathers on the leg to a neat edge. When it comes to the feet, use the straight grooming scissors and trim around the edge horizontally by first pulling the fur up and then trim any excess hair. For the fur between your dog’s toes, do likewise but use the thinning scissors instead to give it a soft finish. Remember to point your scissors away from your dog at all times and exercise caution – see where you are going to trim before your “squeeze” the handle.
7 – Trim your dog’s side, comb the hair first and make necessary small adjustments. Trim a bit off first, as you can trim more later if it’s not right. If you trim off too much at one go, you can’t attach the fur back if it’s too short. If this happens, do not panic, the fur will grow back in time.
8 – Repeat Step 5, this time on the hind leg of the same side.
9 – Do the same thing from Step 5 to 7 for the other side of the body.
10 – Now work on the dog’s tail fur. Comb the tail. If the hair under the tail is untidy, use a thinning scissors and trim off excess hair to give a soft finish so that the dog’s tail look natural.
11 – Check the fur on your dog’s rear by looking at the dog from its side. Trim off any hair that is too long and making your dog’s rear look messy.
12 – Make a final pass over your dog’s coat and check for any stray hair. Trim it off if necessary.
A Final Tip
Scissors are one of the most essential dog grooming equipment. It is used for giving haircut and for removing hair that cannot be removed by any other tool. By saying that, we mean that you should consider clipping your dog if you opt to maintain your dog’s fur on your own in the long run.
While using scissors throughout the trimming process is totally possible, it is tedious work and will not give you as good a result as clipping (i.e. trimming with an electric clipper). An electric clipper comes with blades or guide combs that help you trim your dog’s hair to an even length easily. With scissors, it will be more difficult to achieve that.
Therefore, if you just want to maintain a basic cut between the trips to the groomers, it’s fine to adopt the dog grooming procedures here, but it you would like to undertake the task completely, we advise to go for clipping instead, and use the scissors as an added tool for hard to reach parts.
If you’ll like to find out more about how to clip your dog, there’s an eBook on How to Groom a Dog where clipping is discussed extensively along with many other dog grooming procedures.
Top – Andrew Vargas / via Flickr