Charlie is my first dog with non-shedding “hair” rather than fur. He’s also my first curly-haired dog. While I’m no longer vacuuming up fur every night, I do have to maintain this coat on a regular basis. And this requires more than just a quick brush out every few months. Ugh!
I’ve tried a few groomers in the area and have had limited success- if you could even classify the cuts as successful. The first time Charlie visited the groomers we had let his hair just grow and grow. Which apparently was the wrong thing to do since he ended up covered in knots and had to be shaved.
We learned our lesson we scheduled another appointment several months later when all he really needed was a coat trim. It’s summer and his hair was getting too long and too dirty. Well, after hours & hours at the groomers and a story that reads more like a Mel Brooks movie than an actual event in daily life, he came home cleaner but not trimmed. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands. Literally.
I searched high and low for a book that simply explains how to give your dog a haircut. There are many books out there on grooming but none that really satisfied my needs. Charlie is a regular dog. Sure, he’s got some poodle (or similar breed) in him but that doesn’t mean he needs a poodle cut! In fact, he’s just going to roll around in the nearest frog pond 5 seconds after we leave the groomers anyway! He just needs to not be gross. Apparently that is way too much to ask for!
Since I learn best by doing, I decided to grab a pair of clippers and give it a whirl. After striking out at the pet store I tried Wal-Mart thinking I’d get some people clippers and make do. Turns out they have a whole section of pet clippers to choose from. I selected the Oster clippers in the largest size and some blunt-tipped scissors. The clippers included some tips on grooming your dog which were actually the most helpful tips out there.
I started with a dry dog and just went for it. It’s harder than you’d think. He had some knots that the clippers couldn’t quite penetrate so I did the best I could to comb them out and tried to clip them again. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Charlie’s legs were really hard to clip since they were basically full of knots and dirt. After doing my best with his legs, I shaved his belly down almost to the skin to help him stay cool. Last, I tackled his head, ears, beard, and neck. He hates this part. He tried to bite the clippers when I trimmed his beard so I eventually gave up because I didn’t want to hurt him.
At this point my first grooming attempt was over and Charlie had a lop-sided beard, a belly that was unevenly shaved, a flat head, super fuzzy legs, and mismatched ears. Thankfully, he doesn’t care one bit about his looks so I just called the cut “edgy” and left it at that. His hair grows remarkably fast so I knew it would only be a short time before he was back under the clippers for another uneven haircut. In fact, Charlie will receive his second at home cut this weekend. This time I’m going to wash, dry, and brush him first.
I’m confident that I’ll get better at this over time. It will just take a few more bad haircuts to get there!