How to Cut Your Dog’s Hair

For the first time, I am posting this exclusive “How to”. I have knowledge, and I am a generous person, willing to share this knowledge.

I have small, hairy dogs.

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Many people I know also have small, hairy dogs. When we discuss our small, hairy dogs, the topic of haircuts frequently comes up. One of the problems of small, hairy dogs is that they require frequent hair cuts as their hair just keeps growing and growing. If you wait too long to get their hair cut, its gets messy. Sticks and leaves will stick to their hair, as well as poop. It is not fun to remove poop stuck to dog hair.

I cut my dog’s hair. I started doing it because it’s expensive to get dog haircuts every 8 weeks. I don’t even get my own hair cut more than twice a year. I paid $70 a few times before I decided it was not worth it. A set of dog clippers only costs about $120. It couldn’t be that hard, I thought.

And it’s not. It’s awkward at first, but practice makes perfect. I’m still not an expert, but I’m pretty good, if I ask myself. So here is my guide to cutting your small, hairy dog’s fur.

Things you will need:

– Dog clippers. As I said, they cost around $100, more or less. I don’t know how to pick them though, I’m on my second pair and it makes weird noises. I probably should do some kind of maintenance on them. I just oil them occasionally.

– A compliant dog. My dog, Paxton loves getting his hair cut. He lays down and makes himself comfortable while I do one side, then he flips over for me to do the other side. He is sensitive around his paws and his face, but he’s small enough that I can out muscle him. My other dog is tiny and weak. I can easily hold her in place.

– An easy to clean area. I choose my kitchen because it already  needed cleaning. The floor that is, I walk through there after walking in the pasture, so think literal dirt and leaves. Lose the thought of flies and cockroaches.

– Pants that are either easy to clean, or you don’t mind being covered in dog hair. I think dog hair is partially made out of glue, because that stuff sticks to you and will not come off. You will be covered.

Put on your dog hair cutting pants and move to your easily cleaned area. I choose my old blue workout pants in my non-photographic kitchen. WP_20141108_003I picked my first victim. Since he actually likes his hair getting cut, he’s not much of a victim. Until I get to his paws and face. Then the desperate struggle to get away starts.

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Catch your dog. If you’re not sure how to do this, good ways are to trick him with a treat, trap him in a bathroom or closet, or pretend you’re doing something really interesting to get his attention. Luckily my dog gets really excited when I pick up my grooming bag because it means it’s time for him to get pampered. So tip one is to make sure your dog likes being groomed. I don’t know how to do this however, other than perhaps make your dog really itchy. Maybe cover him in cornstarch.

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Have your clippers ready. I choose this pair of clippers because it was pink and it seemed like a reasonable price. I don’t put any of the covers on it because I never figured out how to attach them. It always seems like they are not the right size. I don’t know why this is. I just use the clippers at their default setting which seems to be “very short”.

Place yourself and your dog in a comfortable position. Paxton likes to rest his head on my leg. I think it adds to the pampering experience.

Turn on the clippers, get over the loudness, and start cutting. Just slide the clippers down the back, with the grain of the hair. Don’t go against it. That makes it cut way too close, and can give your poor pup razor burn.

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Just repeat for the next half hour or so, rotating the dog as needed. Get all the way down to the base of the tail, and down the legs. You don’t want your dog to have to walk around with a bushy butt or pantaloon legs.

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They get squirmy around the legs and face. Their faces have whiskers which make them very sensitive. I have to rotate Paxton and hold him to keep him still to do it. Even then, I usually don’t get it all. The real trick here is to not expect perfection.

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Just get it the best you can. Do a touch up later, if you care enough. I usually don’t care enough.

And then give up! You’re done! Now you have one happy dog!

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And enough hair to make a dog effigy, or try some black magic!

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So remember the tricks to doing this:

1. Have a dog that doesn’t mind getting its hair cut.

2. Be prepared for dog hair everywhere.

3. Be physically stronger than your dog.

4. Accept that your dog will be weird looking until you cut it again… and probably after that too.

And there you go, that’s how you do it. Just pick up your clippers, and get to work! Just think of the happy dog you will have afterward!

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And be prepared to clean dog hair out of your lint collector.

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