Grooming Day!

Oh my…remember I told you I never wanted to get a do that needed to be groomed??  And then I got Izzy??  I fell totally in love with her personality and still feel the same today…I don’t want a dog that has to be groomed…but I’m totally in love with her personality.

So I adopted her and here I am months later and guess what?  That dog that I didn’t want to have to groom, needs to be groomed.  I’m not talking about brushing.  I love brushing her and probably brush her out four times a week.  I mean the whole haircut thing.  When I took her to the groomer when she first came to HEART Animal Rescue (remember I adopted my very first foster dog?) I asked the groomer how much it costs for grooming.  She said for Izzy likely $75.  UGH.  That was a lot for me…and to do it every eight weeks…that’s WAY more then I spend on my own hair and haircuts.

So I started watching Youtube videos on how to cut a dog’s hair.  I looked up how to cut Aussiedoodle hair.  I looked up how to cut poodle hair.  The poodle ones were too poodle…most of the Aussiedoodle ones were too Aussie for what Izzy looks like.  I watched lots of videos and finally landed on “how hard can it be”?

So I bought a clipped and scissor set off Amazon for $40 or so.

The tools have been here for about two weeks and I’ve been trying to get brave.  During that time, Izzy’s hair has been getting longer and longer.  It’s now 12 weeks since she’s been groomed.

I re-watched the videos and finally decided one night to just do it!  Kalissa reminded me to take some before and after pictures…so here is the before.  What a shaggy girl.
It was getting hard to see her eyes.


It was getting harder to brush her too.


I decided to clip her in the old part of our basement.  We have an old part and a new part.  The old part is pretty primitive but I don’t mind.  It makes me not care as much if I do things like this there.  The utility sink works great for bathing.


I decided to do that actual haircutting on our old chest freezer.

There is a plug-in there.  So after the bath, we started blow drying.


She didn’t hate that.


Then I started clipping.  I learned that I really do want a leash that groomers have.  I did it with no leash at all and she did a really great job staying there but she would often lie down and I needed her to be standing.


When I was watching the videos on how to clip a dog, the part I was most worried about doing was her face…that turned out to not be terrible.  The hard part for me was trying to figure out how to do her legs and blend all of that in.


We ended up with a lot of hair cut off.


I learned so much and feel confident enough to try again.  I think I am going to watch a few videos again and specifically focus on the legs and blending.

Here she is all finished.


Of course, she was not the happiest with me at the moment so she didn’t cooperate the best for a few photos.

She is so used to having to sit that I couldn’t get a standing picture.  From the videos I watched, they said to keep the legs and head longer so that’s what I tried to do.  I’ve actually okay with how it turned out for now.


Things I learned…
For sure clip her at 8 weeks..not 12+

I might take her to the groomer the next time and watch her get groomed.  I think that might help me figure out how to blend the legs and do the sanitary clipping just a bit better.

For now…it was okay.  I’m not embarrassed about it being this was my first try and Izzy was totally awesome with it so that helps a lot too…and hair grows so even if it’s not perfect, in a couple of weeks when it starts to grow out, my imperfections will all be hidden.

Do any of you have any grooming tips?  I’d lot to hear them!

57 thoughts on “Grooming Day!”

  1. Groomers usually cut the hair first, then bathe them. We bought the tools too during the lock down and I still cut their hair. It’s not perfect but it’s darn good. My dogs don’t like their feet touched much so that usually gets a little long. I think it can get very tiring so I only do it when both myself and the dogs are rested, morning mostly with good light. I also cut my hubby’s hair and beard now with the same clippers.

    1. hair cuts best clean. if the dog is a matted mess, then yes, it gets cut first. groomers choice!
      switching blade cover lengths will help “blend” longer and shorter areas.
      finish by scissoring body and face. don’t forget to trim or grind the nails (hate this. yes, hate!)
      yes, even a standard leash helps the wiggles, bribing with frozen bouillon pops helps too. (no pride)
      husbands and small children are so much easier !!!
      (Hedy’s house sounds a lot like mine !!!)

  2. I think you do great for a first time. It’s a brave thing to do but when it cost $75, I might be learning to do it myself also! Lolo

  3. I think you did a really good job. Isn’t YouTube a great help for so many things? We had 3 long haired dogs that we groomed ourselves. I did watch our first dog being groomed by the groomer the first time. That helped me.

  4. My grooming experiences were always to trim the dog first & then give them their bath. Gets rid of any loose hair/fur still stuck on the dog.

  5. She looks great . You might even want to try 6-7 weeks . You got this .
    The more you do the better you will get . In the basement looks like you got some places yo could add some leases and hook to the wall . . Keep watching those videos .

  6. You did great. She is adorable before and after. We had to start grooming our mutant Maltese when he got to sick to go to the groomer. He doesn’t have much hair and often looks bald when his hair is short so it looks extra bad when we groom him. Plus, his hair is so fine the clippers bind up a lot or the hair just wafts away from them. We try to do the sanitary and face trims more often so he can stay clean and see where he is going. He isn’t very patient with us so we end up taking a lot of breaks and he looks extra silly between them. :)

  7. Bravo! I think you did a great job and you will get better at it. If you do it sooner, when you can still see where the groomer has given her the most recent cut it may help guide you how to cut next time . As you say it’s hair and it grows back!

  8. Jo,
    You’ve got this. Fantastic job. She looks great. I learned like you did but decided more often was better for my rescue schnauzer. It helped to keep her face, ears and beard cleaner (also her paws as we are in the country and she loved to dig) . So a mini spa facial touch up in-between worked for us. I think her personality showed more and it also made her more comfortable .

  9. She looks wonderful! You did a great job! She’s probably happier having you clip her and you’re saving a lot of money this way. Well done!!!

  10. You did a great job!! He is such an adorable little dog. We have a Bichon and he has to be groomed that often, although I rescheduled his appointment that was to be today because we didn’t get his flu shot. Hubby didn’t want him to go. Hubby will trim around his eyes if needed and bathe him in between visits. Our groomer charges $50 and then we tack a good tip on that.

  11. Just like quilting, or free motion, just hop in and do it! :). We had a long haired cocker spaniel that we rescued, and I was just like you….not going to pay that for a haircut! We bought clippers for $20 (this was about 20 years ago) and we still use them now on our Bailey! When COVID hit and hubby couldn’t go to a barber, guess what! Three years later, I’m still giving him haircuts in the driveway.

  12. Girl with the Dogs on YouTube always bathes first, then dries then clips, think it has something to do with not dulling the clipper blades so fast. Highly recommend her videos.

  13. Shirley from Calmar

    You did a great job. I have tried and not succeeded the best, so I go to the groomer. I use the groomer where you had dog training. It runs about 55. If you do that good of a job, I would continue.

  14. Lol my husband was Navy for 16 yrs. I always cut his hair after the $3 every two weeks got to be too much for our budget. I still cut his hair and his response is “It’s only hair – it’ll grow back.”
    I’ve never had a manicure or pedicure. And every 8 weeks the dogs go and get theirs. $20 per dog. My husband used to do it himself till he got much worse – and can’t get on the floor. I like the way they hook a dog up to a platform that doesn’t let them move. It’s an expense but we don’t do much else besides the grands, chickens, cats and dogs. They are our world; )

  15. Be very careful of the clipper blades, they get very hot and can easily burn the dogs skin. Feel them occasionally during cutting, when they feel hot change to a new blade. There is a spray you can get to cool the blade but it only works for so long. I trained every day for 16 weeks to learn how to groom all breeds. Here’s the best way to groom…use the clippers with a larger blade to remove some hair before bathing. Get rid of any matts and brush completely. If you don’t get the matts out they will be worse after bathing…sort of like felting wool. Then bathe, clean ears, etc. Then dry. A groomer uses a specific dryer for speed and temp control, if using a home dryer never use hot air. Keep it warm. Make sure the dog is completely dry and brush to straighten coat while drying. Then you can start the final shaping clipping and scissoring. Clipper out the underpads of feet Then cut the nails. It’s very important that the coat is perfectly dry before you shape the coat! I usually save the head for last, tails are done at the same time as the sanitary cut.

    1. I was scrolling down to see if anyone said anything about keeping the blades cool. I used to be a professional groomer, and I know just how easy it is to clipper-burn a dog
      You will also need to have the blades sharpened periodically. The person who does my kitchen knives also does clipper blades.
      Use a hair dryer only on the cool setting. You can improvise a cage dryer with a wire crate and a fan, and that also gives both you and the dog a rest.
      If your vacuum cleaner reverses and Izzy isn’t afraid of it, it can make a decent force dryer. Start at the back, and don’t blast her in the face. I have a force dryer, which is I also use if we get soaked walking, and my dogs enjoy it. Massages the itchy bits
      Be sure to use dog shampoo. Human has the wrong ph. In an emergency, dish soap is a better alternative.
      If you don’t want to invest in a grooming table, get a non-skid bathtub mat for the top of your freezer.
      Writing a book here…

  16. You did a great job. I have always had Shih Tzus and they require a cut every 6-8 weeks. I do use the leash the groomer uses. I’m glad you bathed her first, the clippers will get dulled if you don’t bathe first. My husbands barber sends my extra blades out for sharpening when I need it.

    You clip job is better than many I have seen. Well done. Izzy is precious.

  17. Jo,
    She looks great! I pay $100.00 for my dogs cut every 8 weeks and that doesn’t include the tip! Mine doesn’t cooperate too well, so he always has one side of his face shorter than the other!
    If I were you, I would be very happy with the job you did!

  18. You might want to put a mat down so Izzy won’t slip. That may be why she was laying down so much. I had a very tall golden doodle so I decided to cut him. His feet and face were the worst for me. And if I took too long he got very annoyed. But they are dogs and don’t care how they look so keep trying. It gets easier.

  19. You may want to use an old bathroom rug for her to stand on so she has something that isn’t slick to stand on. She looks good!!! The more you do it the better it will get!! The other tip I have is make sure the guard is on correctly. I trimmed up a pup we had and the guard fell off, pup ended up with a bald spot, but the heair grew back really fast!

  20. My son has a similar looking dog though the breed is different with it being a poodle mixed with something else. He told me that he uses fingernail clippers to keep her clipped. While they are sitting on the couch together he’ll just clip the hair around her eyes and whatever and then he takes her into the groomers about twice a year to have it done nice. Except last time he took his two dogs into the groomers she mixed up the cuts for the dogs and boy did they ever look strange until it grew out.

  21. Stephani in N. TX

    Your pup looks great. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but I would say you hit the jackpot. Sweet puppy, looking good.

  22. Izzy looks great, Jo! When we had our little Havanese, I always took an old, thick bath mat with her to the groomer, as it was hard for her to stand on the metal table top. It worked great, and you can always throw it in the wash afterwards. Keep up the good work!

  23. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Izzy looks great!! Having a leash hooked over their head to keep them standing is very helpful, as well as having something non-slip for her to stand on. I cut my daughter’s long-haired Chihuahua with clippers as well as just scissors. Not a big deal that I had no clue what I was doing…as long as I didn’t hurt her, I was happy. I always cut my daughters’ hair, hubby’s hair…even my hair – it always grows!! You did great!!

  24. Izzy looks great after your groom. My sister was a groomer and all that Charlotte said is good advice. And, yes, the blades do get hot, so be careful. Also, over time the blades will dull and tug instead of cut cleanly. You may need new blades or send them out to be sharpened. The little scissors with the very rounded tips available at pet stores prevent nicks and are much safer. You and Izzy got this!

  25. Beryl in Owatonna

    She looks great, but I like the shaggy look!!
    I had a Cockapoo first and groomed her all of the time/ used scissors. Then I had 2 Shih Tzus, brother and sister. I groomed them also, again with scissors/ We didn’t know any better and they didn’t like the noise. I just told them to stand still so I wouldn’t cut them! All 3 of them did great. I would start at their face and work back, then into the sink they would go! I couldn’t afford one let alone two, so that is what we did. No one ever laughed at them!!
    You did a very good job!

  26. First, shop around for a groomer, they are not all the same price. Then decide on a “not-classic” cut, because classic cuts take more precision and time. You might groom her one time and take her to the professional the other time, so that someone else can clear her anal glands. With a groomer’s leash you can restrain her better, I used to be able to use scissors on my dog’s face that way. My problem now is trimming claws, which really need to be done once a month. My dog simply will not let me near her feet to do this, so I ended up having to take her to the groomer anyway. This dog is a Jack Russell, so it costs only $23 every four weeks. Her claws are always a little rough, though, and someone recommended using a Dremel to smooth her nails, but you can imagine how that worked. Good luck, and make bathtime fun!

  27. You did a much better job than I did! My Shi Tzu has a problem with eye drainage, and the hair between and around her eyes was getting mixed into it and making a mess. So I thought How hard could it be? and got the hair scissors. Well I ended up taking a piece of her scalp, which required going to the vet and getting the one inch cut stapled together. That haircut cost me $140! Never again.

  28. You did great! I used to have a Bichon that needed grooming and the groomer I used didn’t always do the best job. Remember practice makes perfect :)

  29. You did a fantastic job for her 1st cut. I’ve been trimming my dogs for years. Now I have 5 that I groom. Some cuts are better than others, combination of me and whom I am trimming. Again, great job.

  30. The stars aligned the day you fostered Izzy, she is such a great dog. Your clipping looks really good, especially for a first attempt! My daughter and husband clip our horses and cows, but luckily our dogs don’t need clipping!

  31. I think you did a great job of grooming Izzy. I have Angel (toy poodle) groomed every six weeks but that also includes her nails, pulling hair in ears and making sure anal glands are clear. My groomer also checks her over for any signs of skin irritation, etc. For peace of mind, I don’t mind spending that money on grooming.

  32. I did the same thing with my Newfoundland. I watched videos, bought a grooming table and scissors off Amazon. I don’t do a perfect job but she doesn’t get matted and I save $100 every two months.

  33. Grooming is expensive and that’s the reason I started cutting my Scottish Terrier hair. I found it best to get a good cut by the groomer then I had a good baseline for the next grooming to go by. Mine wanted to sit also, but we managed. Izzy is so cute.

  34. One tip i didnt see anyone mention for drying dogs. We use a groomer but she sometimes need a bath between trips. I told the groomer how much she hated the blow dryer. She said to cut the top off an old sock and slip that over her head. Cover the eyes and ears – nose sticks out the end. She dosent hate the blow dryer nearly as much. Great job!!!!

  35. She looks great! I started grooming my dogs during the COVID shutdown. You can get an inexpensive grooming table off Amazon and it is worth every penny. I still struggle with legs and feet. It is easier if you don’t wait too long in between cuts. Also, a good scissor set and quality clippers help a lot. I have a can of cooling spray (made by Wahl) that is great for cooling/lubing the clipper blades.

  36. Good job Jo! She looks great. That’s the same truth about cutting my own hair, it’s has soft curls. No one can tell if it’s not even except for a hairdresser.

  37. I was scrolling down to see if anyone said anything about keeping the blades cool. I used to be a professional groomer, and I know just how easy it is to clipper-burn a dog
    You will also need to have the blades sharpened periodically. The person who does my kitchen knives also does clipper blades.
    Use a hair dryer only on the cool setting. You can improvise a cage dryer with a wire crate and a fan, and that also gives both you and the dog a rest.
    If your vacuum cleaner reverses and Izzy isn’t afraid of it, it can make a decent force dryer. Start at the back, and don’t blast her in the face. I have a force dryer, which is I also use if we get soaked walking, and my dogs enjoy it. Massages the itchy bits
    Be sure to use dog shampoo. Human has the wrong ph. In an emergency, dish soap is a better alternative.
    If you don’t want to invest in a grooming table, get a non-skid bathtub mat for the top of your freezer.
    Writing a book here…

  38. save your money and do it yourself. The groomer will probably do it just like you did. Each time will be easier and easier. especially if you don’t let it get long again.

  39. The open weave matting that is sold to put into cupboards is great for a dog to sit/stand on, and they feel more comfortable, its not slippery and the surface they’re on isn’t so cold that way. It still is a hassle as they get tired standing, so I try to alternate fairly often so it’s not tiring for her. Also, the razor head gets hot and its important to stop and spray it to cool it down – that’s only necessary once during grooming for me. I use Andis “Cool Care” – and I’m still on the same can, and it was purchased long ago when I had 2 dogs to groom. Also important – don’t cut too close in their private area as it bothers them when the hair starts growing out. It’s about $60-$65 here to groom one dog, which is too much so I don’t mind doing the grooming myself. I still take Abbie to get her nails ground down, though – that isn’t something I’m willing to do and it costs about $10 or so. Occasionally I have to empty her anal glands, and there is Youtube instructions on how to do that. Not a fun job, but necessary as you don’t want their anal glands to get infected. You’ll know if you’ve waited too long – they’ll scoot their hind ends on grass outside or on the carpet, trying to empty the gland themselves!

  40. I adopted a dog in June. His former owner said he was a Maltese/”Lassie dog” mix. I had his DNA dine. He’s 50% Shetland Sheepdogi mxed with Shih-Tzu & Bichon Frise. I had him groomed the Friday before Halloween, because he looked like the 5th Beayle. His hair is very thick & curly. I brush him everyday & it’s keeping the mats away. His bangs are coming in again, so I’ll keep him long during winter & get him groomed again in Spring.

  41. We have two Labradoodles and I groom them myself. It does get easier the more you do it. And don’t worry, it’s just hair and it will grow back if you mess up. There are a couple DIY Doodle grooming groups on Facebook that I have found to be very helpful. A rubber mat in the freezer will make it easier for her to stand. You could add a shelf bracket to the wall and make your own tether that hooks to the bracket. Having a tether really does help. I always groom when my husband is home to help hold, comfort and feed treats to the girls. We usually spread each girl out to 2 days as it’s less stressful for them and easier on our backs.

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