CLIPPING FOR BEGINNERS
By Freda McGregor
Start clipping a puppy when he is 6 or 7 weeks old, be very careful not to frighten him or he will hate being clipped for the rest of his life. Let him hear the clippers first to get used to the noise without them touching him, and be very gentle. For the first clip I usually put puppy on his back on my lap, with his head against me, and his backside supported between my knees, the puppy is usually quite relaxed. Later it is easier for you to train him to lie on his side on the table, he can get used to this position when you groom him.
Always clip against the way of the hair, start with a front leg, move the clippers slowly forward, never push them, slant them slightly forward, not too much or you will scratch the skin. Try it on the back of your own hand to see how it feels. Clipping against the way of the hair, up the front of the leg, down and sideways at the side, clip from just above the knee joint to just short of the elbow, always leave a wide bracelet, you can take more off, but cannot put it on again.
If a dog has long legs you can leave a wide bracelet, if he has shorter legs he may look better with narrow bracelets.
Now the feet, clip up the back of a front foot as far as the little pad on the back of the leg, now clip the front of the foot, hold it gently, do not let it become a tug-of-war, using one side of the clippers, or a small blade if you have one, clip up the toe, the hair around the nail can be pushed back with the thumb holding the foot, to make it easier to clip off, with a finger of the same hand make the toes part from behind, between the pads, clip in between each toe, being careful not to catch the loose skin where the toes join, clip the other front foot and back feet to match.
Now the back legs. Stand the dog up and clip from the top of the hock upwards to the top of the back, and forwards to a line round the back ribs, clip the tail from the base of the plume towards the body, taking great care under the tail not to cause soreness around the anus. It is wiser to use scissors here until you are used to the clippers, dogs are very sensitive here and sometimes decide that they cannot walk after they have been clipped and just sit down!
The length of tail clipped depends on the length of the tail, which varies quite a lot. I usually clip about two thirds.
Next the tummy. Put your dog over on his back and very carefully clip from the naval downwards, great care must be taken when clipping a dog round the penis and testicles.
Clip from the back bracelets down the inside of the legs. Be careful not to catch the loose skin flaps where back legs join the sides.
It should never be necessary to use scissors on the mane, bracelets or tail, as with a poodle.
There are many good makes of clippers. I use Oster, blade no 15 and a toe blade for the feet. Never clip your dog when you are feeling impatient or in a hurry, if you are always gentle the dog will enjoy your attention and you will never have to use force and start a struggle, which the dog will never forget.