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Home Dog Clipping Instructions

How to Clip Your Dog at Home

Dog clipping basics - dog grooming and health care adviceFor most dog breeds, you need only brush the coat, but some other breeds also need to have at least some of their fur clipped. Shih Tzus, Poodles and other breeds get hair in places they shouldn’t, and are easier to care for with short coats.

Learning the skills of home dog clipping, will save you money. Plus, dog clipping for style and beauty is a fun benefit to these dogs.

Getting Started with Dog Clipping

You should do upkeep on dog clipping once every 4 to 6 weeks. The tools for the job will vary between strippers, scissors and clippers, depending on the styling needs and the breed.

You can learn exactly how to cut your breed’s standard dog clipping “hairdo” with an illustrated guide like “Groom Your Dog at Home.” Visiting a dog groomer once, and asking them to let you watch, will also be helpful to you when learning dog clipping.

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Get Dog Clipping Tools

A guide covering your breed’s specific dog clipping steps, will also tell you which tools you need. Here’s a list of the usual tools for dog clipping:

  • Which dog clipping supplies will you need?Brushes and combs, including slicker brushes and pin brushes, strippers, and a few other tools for removing shed fur or hair. A dog should always be brushed before a clipping to remove dead fur.
  • Clippers. Clippers made especially for dogs will give you the best possible results; but you can also use clippers made for human hair. The more often your breed requires a clipping, the more you’ll benefit from a sturdy pair of clippers made just for dogs.
  • Clipper maintenance fluids. A product called Clippercide will sterilize the clippers before and after use. A cooling lubricant will be useful to keep the metal parts from becoming hot during dog clipping.
  • Scissors. Some areas have to be cut by hand, so a pair of scissors made for hair will be handy. Look for dog scissors made especially for your dog’s style of coat, for the cleanest cut.
  • A dog grooming table will make the job much easier, especially if you’re styling your dog.

Your First Dog Clipping

Remember: Every breed has different dog clipping needs, so read up about that before you set blade to fur. With that said, here are some tips:

  • Important notes about your first dog clipping at homeWork your way from bigger blade guards, to smaller ones.
  • Pull the clipper in the same direction that the hair grows, to avoid injury.
  • Pull the clipper gently; forcing the clipper to move can cause heat to build up quickly in the clipper’s metal parts, and that means a risk of burning your dog. Burns are especially risky near sensitive skin.
  • Use a plastic guard whenever you can to avoid burning your dog. If part of your dog clipping process needs the naked blade, do that part first. If the blade ever feels hot to the touch, let the clippers cool off before you continue grooming your dog.
  • Be especially careful around the groin and belly. Find your dog’s nipples (boys have them too) and avoid them with care.
  • Pull your dog’s skin taut so that folds don’t get caught in the blade guard.
  • The bottoms of dogs’ feet need trimmed. You might need scissors to get the hair growing between their toes or out from under their pads.
  • Don’t use clippers to remove tangled or matted hair. The hair can get caught in the clipper, and the clipper can get pulled tight against the skin! Use brushing, scissors, or mat-breakers instead.

Other Notes for Dog Clipping Beginners

If you’ve got a manicured breed such as a Poodle, you’ll save a lot of money if you learn to handle dog clipping at home. All it takes is the right tools, a detailed illustration of the finished look, and a bit of time in learning to pull it off. Your dog will prefer to be groomed by you, instead of a stranger, and it will save you time when you aren’t making trips to pay the groomer.

There is a “practice dog” product made by Top Performance that lets you hone your dog clipping skills on a dummy instead of a live dog. If you’re worried about mistakes, one or two of those will help you get comfortable doing dog clipping.

Shih Tzus, Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers are typically hand-scissored, rather than clippered. Other terriers should be stripped with a stripping tool, rather than clippered. In the case of terriers, you should definitely watch a coat stripping being done by someone who’s had some practice, before you try it at home.

Return to how to train your dog, or go back to dog grooming advice .

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