How to Use Dog Clippers


Does your dog need a haircut? If so, you’re probably wondering how to use dog clippers! Many different breeds need their hair trimmed from time to time and having a pair of dog clippers on hand can make your life much easier! Read on to learn how to use dog clippers, what dogs need them, and how to teach your dog not to hate grooming time!

What Dog Breeds Need Their Hair Clipped?

Dogs who do not shed their coats need to have their hair clipped. Just like sheep, a breed that doesn’t shed their coat must have it trimmed or it will only keep growing… and growing… and growing!

Some breeds that need frequent haircuts include poodles (of all sizes, standard, toy, or miniature all need regular trims), most “doodle” mixes also fall into this category, Maltese, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, and more. You can also clip the hair of some other breeds if you’d like. However, a few breeds should not have their coats trimmed!

What Dog Breeds Should You Never Clip?

Dog breeds who have double coats that they use for insulation should not be clipped using dog clippers. These breeds have longer guard hairs on top that protect them, and shorter, softer undercoats that act as insulation. Their coats keep them cool during the summer and warm during the winter.

Clipping double-coated dogs can impact their coat’s ability to insulate properly. This can result in overheating during the summer or the inability to keep warm during the winter when the coats do not grow back properly.

Some examples of breeds that should never be clipped with dog clippers include Rough Collies, Huskies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and more.

How to Use Dog Clippers

If you have a breed that needs or can tolerate regular trims, you should probably know how to use dog clippers! Dog clippers are typically very simple to use, no matter the make and model. Some have a corded power connection, while others use battery power to clip hair. If you have a rechargeable pair of clippers, make sure they are charged before you need to use them!

Most dog clippers are equipped with a simple on and off button that you use to turn them on or shut them off. Simply flip the switch and get clipping! You also typically have combs of different hair lengths, so that you can get a trim at whatever length you want your pet’s hair.

These combs usually pop on and off the clipper easily, but use your manual to see which kind you have.

During the trimming process, you should use the clippers in the direction of your dog’s hair growth. Trimming “against the grain” so to speak, can cut or burn your dog’s skin. Use extra caution when trimming your dog’s abdomen, as both male and female dogs have nipples! Always operate your clippers carefully, being careful not to nick your pet’s skin and hurt them.

We offer a simple dog clipper in our Shop!

Other Essential Grooming Tools

Trimming hair is just one of many different necessities when it comes to your pet’s grooming needs. Dogs of all breeds also need their nails trimmed on a regular basis to prevent breakages.

Most breeds also need regular brushing of some kind to remove shedding undercoat and detangle finer areas of hair such as the ears and feet. You should also brush your dog’s teeth or provide them with chews specifically designed for dental health as well! You can find a number of grooming products in our Shop.

How to Desensitize Your Dog to Grooming

Teaching your dog to tolerate grooming can take a decent amount of time and patience. Dogs do not enjoy anything that causes them pain, and oftentimes grooming can be a bit of a painful experience! Working out tangles in your pet’s coat, particularly around sensitive areas such as the face, can quickly cause an aversion to grooming.

To properly desensitize your dog to grooming, you need to make sure you address two important elements: reinforcement and prevention. The first element, reinforcement, involves making sure your dog has a positive experience during the grooming process.

Pairing grooming with a strong reinforcer can make all the difference, and can sometimes help keep your dog occupied as well. For example, using peanut butter on a lick mat can keep your dog busy and provide a reinforcer to help make grooming a more positive experience.

The other element, prevention, involves taking extra time and care to prevent uncomfortable grooming situations. Carefully trim out tangles that will not come out easily with a brush, and use extra caution when working in sensitive areas to prevent painful interactions.

Additionally, use should use the tools for short periods, or even just bring them out when you don’t plan on grooming your dog, to help keep your dog from associating them with pain every time you use them.

For Severe Cases of Grooming Hatred

The finer details of fixing an aversion to grooming can take a lot of time and effort to work through. Unfortunately, some dogs quickly develop a hatred for grooming, and it can take lots of time and careful training to work through that.

For example, a dog who needs daily grooming of the tangled hairs on their face can quickly become aggressive when you approach them with a brush. Exposure to punishment over and over causes swift associations to develop.

In these cases, you need an understanding of all the core training concepts to ensure you’re training your dog properly. More importantly, you’ll need personalized help from a professional dog trainer.

When it comes to more severe cases of dogs hating grooming, you typically need a professional to look more closely into the situation and develop a training plan based on your individual dog. We can assist you with that in our Ask the Trainer program, and help you work through these issues with your dog.


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