Most dog breeds require regular dog grooming, some more than others. By grooming a dog you are keeping its coat and skin healthy. A healthy coat and skin play a big part in the dog’s overall health.
Pet owners that are not grooming their dog regularly, have a lot of problems with shedding and matted hair. Skin infections are also an issue, grooming also protects the skin.
I believe you are quite aware of this already, that’s why you came here to learn how to groom a dog at home. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to learn dog grooming from home.
Dog Grooming At Home – What You Need To Know
First of all, dog grooming can be done right and wrong. There is a process to dog grooming. I know that some pet owners just use a slicker brush to prevent matting and shedding. But that’s not enough.
You can get dog grooming training from various places, online courses, dog grooming schools, training in a pet grooming salon. You do this when you want to make money from dog grooming.
However, if you are only interested in grooming your dog, it’s best to learn and do this at home. You still need to learn how to do it right and get the right equipment.
Another thing, dog grooming is not done the same for all dog breeds. There are breeds that have an undercoat, curly hair, etc… So, the only thing you need to learn is how to groom your dog, not all breeds.
What Does Dog Grooming Include
Let’s start with the basics. What is dog grooming? If you visited a pet grooming salon once, then you know that they offer multiple services. There are levels to dog grooming. What does dog grooming include?
Brushing is an essential part of dog grooming. Even if you are not going for full-service grooming, you should always brush your dog. There are several types of brushes, each used for a different thing. While brushing, you are eliminating curls, giving the coat a natural look, most importantly, you are massaging the skin. This releases oils good for coat growth and a healthy coat. [Source]
- Hair Clipping & Trimming.
Depending on the breed, a dog may need clipping. Long-haired dog breeds often get curly hair when it grows too long, so it should be regularly clipped. However, trimming dogs with a medium-sized coat is also recommended. Here, you need to learn how to clip a whole coat, light clipping, and trimming. You will need to learn the patterns, how to use dog clippers, scissors, and shears. You need to get dog trimming equipment like straight and curved scissors, thinning shears, dog clippers, etc…
Although some consider it optional, bathing is a really important part of dog grooming. The thing is, dogs accumulate dirt, debris, and loose hair in their coat. Even with a really good brush, you won’t be able to clean all of that. So, bathing helps with that. It restores the coat to its natural look, removing dirt and loose hair.
- Nail Clipping & Trimming.
Every pet owner should take care of the dog’s nail hygiene. Dog nails can get quite large. When that happens, the dog can’t walk right on some surfaces. The nails get in the way, so the dog adopts another way of walking. This can lead to an injury. Dog nail clipping is easy enough. First, the dog nails are cut with a nail clipper, and then they are trimmed with a dog nail grinder. There is a technique to doing this. Dog nails have blood vessels that shouldn’t be cut.
- Ear cleaning.
Lastly, ear cleaning, something most dog owners forget. Dogs have hair inside their ears. Dog groomers often trim these hairs to keep the ear clean and prevent infections.
What Do I Need To Learn
- Know your dog’s breed.
Some dog owners think that the coat is just there to look good. That’s not true. The coat serves a function, a different one in each breed. So, you need to know what you can trim, what you can’t. Also, how much to trim? I can’t really know what breed you have. Also, giving instructions on each breed would be too much now. My advice is to research popular safe haircuts for your breed. You will find out what kind of cut your dog needs. [Source]
- Hair patterns.
Like human hair, dog hair also has certain patterns. While cutting and trimming you need to follow these curves and lines. Following the right patterns while dog grooming will result in a good natural-looking coat. My advice is the same here, you will find the patterns for your dog breed in the popular safe haircuts. Use this guide to find out more about dog hair patterns.
- Grooming techniques.
The basic grooming techniques you need to learn are carding, stripping, thinning, and nail clipping. Dogs that have a double coat or an undercoat. Carding is used to remove the undercoat from the follicles with a stripping knife. You are making the top cat lay thin so brushes wouldn’t leave trail marks. Stripping and thinning are techniques used to remove dead and loose hair from the coat.
- Getting dogs used to grooming.
Chances are, most dogs will be afraid to come near scissors, clippers, and sometimes brushes. This is because at first grooming is unknown to dogs. Believe me though, after getting used to it, dogs absolutely love grooming, especially a good bath. The hard part is getting the dog used to grooming. Ideally, you start training the dog at puppy age. Treats, patience, all help with training. Check out this guide.
- Treating Wounds.
While nail clipping, you may cut the quick accidentally, this will leave the dog with a wound. Also, if you are using bad grooming tools, you may cut the dog. So, you need to know how to treat dog wounds in order to prevent infections.
Dog Grooming Tools
Again, the grooming equipment that you need depends on the dog’s breed. I’ll list the essential dog grooming equipment while highlighting tools that have a very specific function.
- Pin Brush
A universal brush removes dirt, loose hair, and detangles hair.
- Bristle Brush
Used on dogs with short hair that shed a lot.
- Rubber Dog Brushes
Used for picking up dead and loose hair.
- Slicker Brush
Used for preventing and removing mats in dogs with an undercoat.
- Straight & Curved Scissors
Scissors are used for light trimming, one for straight paths, one for curved paths.
- Thinning Shears
Shears are used for finishing touches, giving the coat a natural look.
- Dog Clippers
Not always necessary, used to cut dog hair.
- Nail Clippers
- Nail Grinders
Professional Dog Grooming Vs DIY Dog Grooming
As you can see, dog grooming takes learning, and most importantly, it takes practice. So, is this something you are willing to do? What do you think? DIY dog grooming is something to try, if it doesn’t go well, you should stop doing it.
One thing though, even if you are just trying out, you should still do proper research before that. Do not do this blindly, get familiar with the techniques first.
Now, I would recommend to most pet owners DIY dog grooming. It’s certainly something to try out, if done right, your dog will love it. I know that it can be exhausting. More so, the grooming equipment can cost quite a lot.
You should think about it, whether you are up to the task. Professional dog grooming is also an option. If you don’t feel like learning at home dog grooming is worth it, take your dog to a grooming salon.
Professional groomers are not always certified, remember that. You don’t need any type of training or a license to be a dog groomer. In the end, expertise and patience decide whether you can do it.
What Is A Slicker Brush For Dog Grooming
A dog slicker brush is a brush with wire pins. Usually, they lay on a flat surface but there are some curved models as well. A slicker brush is mostly used on dogs that have an undercoat. Dogs with an undercoat are prone to mats, dense tangles in the undercoat. The brush is used to remove and prevent mats.
What Is A Striping Knife Used For Dog Grooming
A dog stripping knife looks like a comb with razor edges. It’s used on dogs with coarse and rough coats, and thick hair, dog breeds like the Wire Fox Terrier. The knife helps cut that rough coat and gives a clean natural look. A stripping knife won’t hurt dogs if used on coarse and rough coats.
What Does Wetting Mean When Grooming A Dog
Wetting is the wet shaving of a dog. Some dog groomers do this, they get the coat wet before shaving it. There is some dispute about whether you should dry shave or wet shave a dog. Most people prefer dry shave because water makes the curls and mats denser.
However, wetting can sometimes help. Getting the entire coat too wet is bad. But spraying small amounts of water on a certain area to help the clipper blade can be okay.
What Does Hand Carding Mean In Dog Grooming
Hand carding is a part of dog trimming sometimes done on dogs with an undercoat. Instead of using a slicker brush to maintain the undercoat, with hand carding, you remove the undercoat. Hand carding is done with the before mention stripping knife which isn’t actually a stripping knife.
What Size Blades To Use For Dog Grooming
Blades for dog grooming are numbered in an opposite way, meaning a #5 cuts shorter than a #10. The most common blade sizes are #5, #7, #9, and #10. #10 and #9 blades are good for surface clipping, while #7 is for full body clipping. #5 works best on mats.
How To Use Curved Scissors For Dog Grooming
Curved scissors as the name suggest are best used on curved coat surfaces. Usually, those areas are the back legs, the paws, the curved area of the chest, the head, and the face. With curved scissors, you avoid hurting the dog while maintaining the curve of the coat.
There are two types of curved scissors for dog grooming, up-curved, and down-curved. You use this depending on the direction of the curve. Here is a tutorial below on how to use scissors for dog grooming.
How To Use Thinning Shears For Dog Grooming
Thinning shears are used for adding finishing touches to the haircut. After trimming and clipping, the coat usually looks quite choppy. Thinning shears even that out, giving the dog a nice natural-looking coat. Watch the video above for instructions on how to use thinning shears.
Related Questions And Other FAQs
Do You Need A License To Groom From Home
Professional dog groomers do not need any type of license to conduct their work. Dog groomers obtain licenses to boost the client’s trust and attract more customers. A license is just a formal way of exhibiting your competence.
Can I Teach Myself Dog Grooming
Yes, dog grooming is something most pet owners can learn on their own. It takes a lot of research, learning, and practice but anyone can do it. DIY dog grooming is a good experience both for the owner and the dog.