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Grooming 101: The Electric Clipper

Posted Sunday, 9 Feb 2014

Affiché : Sunday, 9 Feb 2014

Laureen Osborne, N.C.M.G.

When it comes to dog grooming, I always recommend professional-quality equipment. A good clipper should last many years, and will require very little maintenance. However, the blades will have to be sharpened from time to time.
 
Do your homework
 
Speak to your groomer or breeder about the correct type of clip for your dog. Ask them to show you how to safely use the clipper. They can also recommend the type of clipper and which clipper blades to buy. You will also need a spray for cooling and disinfecting the blades, and blade cleaner.
 
An electric clipper is similar to a human razor, but a clipper can be fitted with a variety of blades, each leaving a different length of coat on the dog. Most clippers come with a #10 clipper blade included. This blade is usually used to clip the groin area and sometimes the face and feet.
 
Brushing your dog prior to clipping will remove dead hair and loosen mats. This will make it easier to clip the coat and you may be able to use a longer blade.
 
Proper technique
 
Technique is very important when using the clipper. The clipper with the blade attached creates the correct angle for clipping – the face of the blade lies flat against the skin. New users have a tendency to ‘skim’ the coat because they are afraid of cutting the dog’s skin if they get too close. You are less likely to cause an injury if you try to keep the blade on your dog’s skin. Proper technique also includes holding the dog’s skin taut. Unlike human skin, a dog’s skin is quite loose on his body. Gently pull your dog’s skin taut as you clip.
 
By using smooth, even strokes, you should be able to easily clip off an entire row of fur. Don’t worry if you don’t do a perfect job the first time; you will be clipping your dog again after he is bathed and dried.
 
Snap-on combs
 
Many dog owners prefer the look created by using snap-on comb attachments, which leave longer coat length than blades. The attachment fits on top of a very short blade (a #30 or #40). A snap-on comb can catch in matted fur and detach from the blade. This will leave an unsightly bald spot! It’s very important to thoroughly brush any areas of coat that are to be clipped with a snap-on.
 
Not everyone likes the look of a ‘shaved’ dog; indeed, most breeds are not completely shaved. Many breed styles combine clipped areas on the body, with areas that are left natural, or scissored (such as the legs). Styling the head, ears and tail with scissors is an attractive option. Avoid clipping inside your dog’s ears, anywhere near his anus or inside the pads of his feet. These are dangerous areas to clip and you could cause an injury.

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