So you want to start trimming your dog's coat at home? Whether you want to do simple touch ups between trips to the groomer or wish to learn the whole process, start to finish, the first step is to research and purchase a quality clipper or trimmer.
Clipper vs. Trimmer
The difference between a clipper and a trimmer is that a
clipper is used for heavy-duty, all-over body cutting. A trimmer, on the other hand, is designed for close-cutting in smaller areas, like trimming around the ears and eyes, the base of the tail, and other "finish" cutting.
Consider Cordless Freedom
The main advantage to a cordless clipper is that you don't have to worry about the cord getting in your way as you maneuver around your pet when trimming. With cordless trimmers, however, you have down time when they are recharging. For most home applications this isn't a problem.
Blades are often categorized by their use and/or cutting length. Generally the higher the number of the blade, the closer the cut. For example, an Andis #40 blade cuts as close as 1/125", while their #9 cuts 5/64". Blades like Cryotech or
Ultra-Edge are designed for stay-sharp, longer-lasting performance, while Zerion and Ceramic Edge are designed to stay cooler while trimming. It's best to only use blades recommended by each manufacturer.
Generally, trimmers also have a selection of snap-on combs that help blend various sections of hair. They too have sizes and will help to keep the cut even and consistent. To help you with technique, there is often a how-to video or DVD in clipper kits to show you the basics of trimming your pet's hair.
Keep the Grooming Session Comfortable
When you've selected a trimmer and begin to prepare for your first trimming session, there are a few important points to keep in mind. Because your pet has to sit still during the trim, it's a good idea to take your pet outside for a walk or some exercise before the session. This helps get some of her energy out, so she's more apt to sit still for the trimming session. Soothe and reassure your pet as she gets adjusted to the sound and the feel of the clipper. Give her lots of praise if she keeps still for you.
Remember always to end each trimming session on a positive note. Give your pet more praise, and if you feel it appropriate, a small treat will get her freshly-groomed tail wagging again in no time.