Grooming 101: The Basics

Have you ever taken your dog to the groomer, only to find out that one session costs $50 (sometimes even more!)? Don't get me wrong–I'm all for pampering Cooper with a nice trip to the dog salon every once in a while, but the cost of going to the groomers adds up over time. If I know that I can take matters into my own hands when it comes to cutting my dog's butt or trimming his nails, then why not save a couple of dollahs?

In this post, I'll show you the basic tools that I use to groom Cooper on the regular. There will be tips included for each tool. Remember, practice makes perfect! I wish I had a photo of the first time I cut Cooper's butt, oh boy...

1. Dremal 7700
To be honest with you, I hate clippers. 100% loathe them. Clippers can't file nails like a Dremal can, I like a tool that can trim AND file. I used to be afraid of trimming Cooper's nails because I didn't want to end up hurting him–like what if I accidentally clip one of his nail quick (blood vessel) and he bleeds?! The Dremal allows me to have full control over each nail while also providing a smooth finish. Cooper gets his nails done by me once a week. If you are a new dog parent, here's a good article about the importance of keeping a dog's nails short. 

To start using a Dremel on your pup(s), first get them comfortable with the noise. You can do this by associating the noise with a yummy treat*. Next is the toughest part: having your dog be OKAY when the Dremel touch their nail. Where to begin? One. Nail. At. A. Time. Reward your pup with each nail that your Dremel touched. You don't have to do all four paws in one session, taking it slow and easy will be good in the long run. Start by grinding a little bit of their nail away and slowly make your way close to the quick. Always end each session on a good note. 

Now for positioning, I usually lay Cooper on his back between my legs which provides me with easy access to all of his paws. I start with the hind paws first, since those aren't as sensitive, then work my way to his front two paws. Go at a pace that your pup is most comfortable with, so don't rush. You'll be an expert soon enough!

*TIP: I like to use freeze-dried noms.

2. Thinning Shears
To get an even and layered round booty (pictured below), thinning/texturing shears are the way to go! Well for us that is. Cooper's booty fur grows out pretty fast so I round it once a month and make sure it is baked-to-perfection. If you're like me, your first time will be a disaster*. Although once you get the hang of it, trimming once a month can be quick and easy.

Start by deciding how short you want your dog's hair to be, use comb to help figure out the preferred length. The only place I actually cut Cooper's fur is his booty and his underbelly. He loves the outdoor so keeping his fur short and neat makes cleaning up after him easier. Hence, why I cut his fur. 

*TIP: Cut fur in a well lit room or during the day, so you can see how it looks overall. I didn't follow this tip a few time and Coops's butt ended up like Miley Cyrus's short choppy hair

3. Razor Edge Shears
I use a straight edge scissor to trim Cooper's paw fur. That's about it. Similar procedure as doing his nails except without any oscillatory noise. Usually Cooper falls asleep while I cut his paw fur*. Having sharp pointy shears allows you to cut the fur in-between the toes, but don't go too close. For this type of grooming, having a relaxed and calm pup helps prevent injuries. Similar to nail trimming, take it slow and at a rate at which your pup is most comfortable. 

*TIP: Apply paw cream after you finish cutting and massage the paws. 

4. Slicker Brush
If you have a dog with curly hair or a double coat, then the slicker brush is your best friend in the whole wide universe. Cooper has a double coat, meaning that he has an undercoat and a topcoat. The topcoat is stiff and tough which helps to repel water, whereas the undercoat is soft and acts as insulation. The slicker brush can help keep your pup's coat healthy by removing dead fur and allowing you to work on tough tangles*. Use the de-shedding blade tool FIRST and then follow-up with the slicker brush.

I use the slicker brush once a month on Cooper's coat to manage the shedding. He really loves it since it feels like someone is petting him. I do long strokes and try to get his entire back, hind legs, front legs, and chest.

*TIP: Mist your pup's coat with a spray before you brush, preferably a conditioning spray. 

5. De-shedding Blade
Doesn't this tool looks like a fish scaling blade? Well, be glad it's not. A de-shedding blade is an effective tool. It has a looped piece of metal with saw-like teeth on each side, which helps to remove loose dog hairs. Don't be alarm about the teeth, they are not razor sharp. 

To use it, you comb your pup in the same manner as brushing your hair. Start at the top of their head and brush down to their booty/tail. Don't forget to apply the brushing process down their hind legs, front legs, and chest.

*TIP: Do this outside or on hardwood floors.

Aaaaaaand there you have it! I hope you find these grooming tips helpful in some ways. To me, I find grooming Cooper to be very therapeutic and reassuring, as it allows me to thoroughly inspect his body for anything out of the ordinary. In this post, I didn't get to mention that I also brush Cooper's teeth, bathe him on a monthly basis, and clean his ears. Let me know if you're interested in a Grooming Part 2! If you have any questions about grooming, drop a comment down below.

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: The content in this post is provided for general informational and educational purposes only. The use of these information is under the reader's own risk.