So… you really want to give your dog a hair cut?
The real key to keeping a dog cool in the hot weather - is to brush it's coat regularly… 'cos a well brushed coat acts as insulation in both warm and cool weather.
If your pet's hair becomes matted, you need both hands to get the knots out. Also a decent comb - one of those metal ones is okay, Hold the matted area against the skin, and gradually comb the knots out, a little bit at a time.
If you put the comb into the matted area too deeply and pull too hard… "Youch! That hurts"… so, gently does it. If the hair hasn't been brushed for a while, and the knots are too bad, you may have to cut them out. But with patience, the matted parts can be combed out.
A badly matted coat may cause skin problems for your pet if it's left for too long. Regular brushing stops the hair from knotting up, and us dogs love that.
Shampoo and conditioner
No amount of shampooing and conditioning will stop the hair from matting.
Dogs aren't fashion conscious and we really don't want dreadlocks… they make us hot and our skin itchy.
Okay, you've decided to do it
If your dog really needs a hair cut - shop around - ask questions - talk to someone who gets their pets' hair trimmed. The right advice will make your dog happy.
Do it yourself
Clipping your dog is an acquired skill, and like anything else, it takes practice… so the more often you do it - the better you'll become.
Use the right tools
Buying those cheap dog clippers from the big stores is no good - they usually don't last very long. You need a quality product. The name Oster Turbo A5 keeps cropping up, it has a two speed function, and by all accounts they seem to be the best available.
My Dad tried a human hair trimmer on me once, but it didn't work very well at all - it kept slowing down and clogging up.
Wash your pet first
- Wash your dog thoroughly with a quality dog shampoo
- Towel him down
- Let the hair dry completely
- Brush and comb him
This will make it a lot easier on the clippers and help them to last longer.
Choose a fairly long comb…'cos you can always trim a bit more off - but you can't put it back on. If your clippers don't come with a set of combs, choose the longest setting. The combs I'm talking about are those ones that clip over the cutters. (In one of his past lives, my Dad was a sheep shearer.)
Hold the trimmer flat on the hair up near the skull and trim in long strokes - this stops the tracks from being too bumpy. It takes a fair bit of practice, but you will get the hang of it. Always trim the same way as the hair is growing.
Check the cutters regularly
Don't forget to check the blade to see how hot it's getting, If it's too hot for you… it'll be too hot for your pet. Oil the cutters regularly with the recommended lubricant - this stops them from wearing out too quickly. Let them cool down before continuing.
Give your dog a rest during the cutting
Your dog will be happy to have a rest during his hair cut… and so will you be, especially if you've never done it before. If you have a big dog, it'll probably feel as if your back is going to give out.
The ideal situation is to have the dog on a table… this saves a lot of bending. Have a pocket full of small doggie snacks and give one to your pet now and then during his ordeal.
Don't worry if the haircut looks a bit rough, it'll grow out in a few weeks. The more you attempt to trim your dog, the easier it becomes. See the photos.