How to Clip Your Dog's Facial Hair

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Home dog grooming can be more convenient and cost-effective than taking your dog to a professional groomer, but cutting your canine's facial hair is often tricky — especially if it's your first time or if the dog is jumpy. Use safety precautions and appropriate tools and techniques when clipping dog fur, and opt for professional grooming if you lack confidence in your abilities or the dog's behaviors.

Cutting your canine’s facial hair is often tricky.
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If a grooming injury happens, stay calm and administer first aid. If washing a dog beforehand, dry the fur thoroughly before clipping, because wet fur can jam the clipper blades and shorten their duration of usefulness.

For full grooming, look at photos of similar dogs for ideas on breed-specific facial haircuts. Refer to a dog grooming manual for general and breed-specific grooming tips.

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Clipper blades become hot and can burn a dog's skin. Periodically test the blade warmth against the skin on your inner wrist, and change blades or stop if the blade is hot. Dog grooming injuries can happen regardless of grooming experience or level of caution; contact your veterinarian immediately if an injury occurs.

Step 1: Tire your dog out before the haircut

Walking your dog daily is essential for his health, and provides physical and mental benefits to your canine. Doing so before grooming can help them get tired out and feel more relaxed for their haircut. A 30- to 45-minute walk can improve the dog's cooperation with the process, because it reduces anxiety, provides a bathroom break, and tires them out so they'll be more relaxed.

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Step 2: Confine your dog

Confine your pup in a small room with you so that they cannot run off, or employ the help of another person to hold and gently restrain the dog. You can restrict them to a designated area during this process with the use of a baby gate or dog pen.

Step 3: Get the knots out

Brush the fur with a slicker brush, going with the grain of hair growth, and then brush the fur away from the dog's eyes. The slicker brush separates and smooths the hairs, which eases the clipping process.

Step 4: Choose the proper sized dog clipper blade

Fasten a plastic comb attachment to the main clipper blade.
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Fasten a plastic comb attachment to the main clipper blade. The proper size of the attachment depends on your desired length of fur: A longer attachment leaves longer fur. Steady the dog's head by gently gripping the "beard" fur with your free hand. Avoid digging the blade spokes into the dog's skin, especially on the face and neck.

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Step 5: Trim the dog's upper brow

Turn on the clippers, and place the clipper head flat against the top of the dog's head with the blade spokes facing the rear of the dog. Pull the clippers toward the dog's rear to clip fur away from the upper brow. Always point scissors and clippers away from the eyes.

Step 6: Clip along your dog's muzzle

Clip along the muzzle by beginning at the bridge of the nose and pulling the clippers down toward the dog's mouth or the floor.

Step 7: Cautiously trim between dog's eyes

Clip between the eyes by placing the clipper head flat against the forehead with the blade spokes facing the nose, and pulling the clippers toward the noise. Use extreme caution with this step or skip it, because the blade spokes can injure the dog's eyes if the dog jerks its head.

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Step 8: Trim your dog's 'beard'

Wrap your free hand around the dog's muzzle, gently point it toward the ceiling, and hold it in place. Place the blade head against the chin with the spokes facing the throat, and run the clippers toward the throat to trim the dog's "beard."

Step 9: Clean up leftover fur with dog grooming scissors

Trim leftover hairs with blunt-nosed dog grooming scissors. Hold the fur between your fingers and trim above to reduce the chance of cutting into the dog's skin.

Step 10: Trim ear fur and reward your dog

Hold the ear tip between your fingers so that fur — and no skin — rests above your fingers.
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Hold the ear tip between your fingers so that fur — and no skin — rests above your fingers, and trim this fur above your fingers with the blunt-nosed dog grooming scissors. Do not trim the inner ears with scissors. Repeat along the edges of both ears, and you're done! Clean up any fallen fur and give your dog a treat as a reward for letting you do the trim.

Things You'll Need

  • Slicker brush

  • Clippers

  • Assorted plastic comb attachments

  • Blunt-nosed dog grooming scissors

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