How Can I Hold My Dog Still So I Can Trim Hair Around Her Eyes?

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Keeping your dog's hair groomed and trimmed is part of pet care, but just as with people, those bangs may need a trim in between official appointments. Many dogs will tolerate their guardians snipping carefully at the hair around their eyes, but careful considerations should be made with even the most patient and still canines. To get the best trim for your dog in the safest manner, keeping your dog still, restrained, and calm will be your best bet. If you can't seem to make it work or if you're just too nervous to give it a try, consulting a groomer is always an option as well.

Keeping a dog calm

A huge part of keeping a dog still when cutting the hair around her eyes is helping her remain calm, which is best done when you recognize what is calming to that particular dog. Some dogs may be overstimulated by loud noises or may become irritated by the presence of other animals in the home or a lot of movement around them, so moving to a quiet room may help in that situation. The unfamiliarity of a particular situation can also trigger many dogs, so before you begin trimming her hair, allow her to sniff the materials you'll be using for the haircut, like scissors, towels, or brushes. To get your dog acclimated to being handled for a cut, use positive reinforcement to teach her that hair cuts are fun by offering a reward, like a treat, when she sits still for you.

Other dogs may simply need a distraction for a minute or two while you trim away at their hair. Common distractions are food, toys, praise, or just generally showing attention, and the right distracting tactic will depend on the specific dog and what works for them. Enlisting the help of another person will not only offer an extra set of hands to help hold your dog still, but can also provide someone to pay attention to and engage with the dog while you get to clipping.

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Cutting hair around dogs' eyes

When cutting hair around a dog's eyes, safety is of the utmost concern, so opting for dog grooming scissors or shears with rounded tips will make trimming hair around the eyes as safe as possible. Additionally, positioning your dog on a non-slip surface, or creating a DIY grooming table, can help keep you in better control of your dog and may prevent injuries. Take extra care to note where your dog's whiskers are around his "eyebrow" area, and be sure to avoid cutting these hairs as they assist your dog with sensory observation. It shouldn't hurt a dog if these whiskers were accidentally clipped, but be sure to not tear or pluck them out as they are connected to nerves, and removal is painful.

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Before you begin cutting your dog's hair, use a comb or brush suited to his hair type to detangle any snags and remove any debris that may be caught in his mane. Then, have a friend hold your dog still, particularly around his neck and head area, so that you can begin trimming. Hold the hair in between your fingers so that your hand is between the scissors and your dog's eyes, and cut carefully. Trimming the hair around your dog's eyes should only be done on long-haired dogs whose hair may hang over their eyes and obstruct their vision.

When to consult a pro

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If you're at all uncertain about tackling such a project as trimming the hair around your dog's eyes on your own, it may be best to leave things in the hands of a professional dog groomer. Leaving your dog's haircutting needs to a professional usually works out better for everyone as they are trained to understand how to cut the hair on your dog's specific breed, have better equipment for holding a dog still during cuts, and have the right tools to get the job done.

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