How do I use clippers to groom a dog?
Using electric clippers to shorten a dog’s coat to an even length is pretty basic stuff, however, certain rules need to be followed to get it right. The hair must always be trimmed in the same direction that the coat grows. To clip against the direction of growth results twice as much hair length being cut off…that is a lot when one considers the following length guide chart. I occasionally use the clippers in reverse ( against the direction of growth) but only as a particular exception may require such as on a tightly matted or to do poodle feet and faces. When I am grooming a dog with very fine hair that refuses to fluff up but rather falls flat everytime I run the clipper over it I use the chart to find the correct length to use against the direction of growth to get the length right. Of course this is not an exact science type of chart but it works for me. The comb length chart may not be accurate for the brand of comb attachments of other brands…they are just for the ones I happen to have. I use a #40 blade under the comb attachments (a #30 blade would do just as well).
#40 blade=1/125 inch of hair left on=#15 in reverse
#30 blade=1/100 inch of hair left on=#10 in reverse
#15 blade=3/64 inch of hair left on=#8 in reverse
#10 blade=1/16 inch of hair left on=#7 in reverse
#8 blade=7/64 inch of hair left on=#5 in reverse
#7 blade=1/8 inch of hair left on=#4 in reverse
#5 blade=1/4 inch of hair left on=#2 comb in reverse
#4 blade=3/8 inch of hair left on=#1.5 comb in reverse
#3 blade=1/2 inch of hair left on
The 5/8 inch blade and the 3/4 inch blade are self explanatory.
#1 comb=5/8 inch of hair left on
#1.5 comb=1/2 inch of hair left on
#2 comb=3/8 inch of hair left on
Photo A. shows the way I back brush against the direction of growth a dog’s coat to fluff up the hair for clipping.
Photo B. shows the way I hold the clippers and run them along the dog’s coat. I try to maintain a steady light pressure as I run the clippers along the dog .
I back brush as many times as necessary to ensure that there are no more stray long hairs sticking out. I make sure to remind myself of the sensitivity of the dogs skin as I back brush. I actually have an Airedale that has such sensitive skin the all I can do is use my hand only to back brush the hair. Luckily I use a #10 blade on him so it works okay.
I take extreme care when clipping around the tuck up area (where the dog’s hind leg and groin join) and the arm pit area. These are danger spots for cuts and nicks to happen. Another area where extra caution is necessary is around the ears. I make sure never to bring the clipper in toward any ear flap. Clipping the ears to a teddy length (same as the body length) requires one hand under the ear and the clipper run down toward the tip with the direction of hair growth…never…ever…against the direction of hair growth or in toward the edges or tip.
Some dog coats look better using the clipper downward along the sides, some look better curving the clipping line with the curve of the hair growth direction down the side, and some look better drawing the clipper along the side toward oneself (going sideways of the growth direction). It is a matter of experience that determines what works best. If I am not sure, I test the coat by using a longer length blade first…that way oddball lines are fixable.
The longer the length of hair to be left on the dog’s body…the more it becomes necessary to scizzor the legs to get an nice even look. I use the clipper with same blade as the body to find the length on the outer side of the leg and then match my scizzoring length to the clipped length.