5 Dec 2020
I have today started the process of cutting my dogs hair.
I know when she is overdue for a haircut – it’s generally when you can’t actually see her eyes. She also tends to pick up grass seeds and prickles, and gets knots in her hair. But it’s when there are no eyes visible that I generally start to feel a little guilty about overlooking her grooming routine. She doesn’t act as though she needs her own guide dog, but she must be starting to feel a little vision impaired.
It’s safe to say, however, that she is not comfortable with any cutting devices being anywhere near her body, so getting her eyeballs clear access is part of a long process.
Let me take you back.
She’s the sort of breed whose hair grows and needs cutting. There are commercial places that perform this task with great skill. They take their time, and the dog looks very pretty afterwards.
When she was very young, I took her to one of these establishments a few times for a ‘face and butt’ trim – these being the two areas where the advanced hair growth was most noticeable, and it was a gentle introduction into the world of dog grooming.
When her age and hairiness advanced to the stage where she needed a full body groom, it started to get a little more pricey. And lengthy time wise.
It came to a head when at one stage the groomer kept her for four hours, charged me $90, and complained that the dog wasn’t very well behaved.
Now I don’t mind sitting in a hairdressers, but four hours would be too long even for me!
Internet shopping came to my rescue when I then discovered that I could buy a set of dog clippers for less than it cost me for them to cut her hair, and I could cut it myself.
I have discovered a few things over the past couple of years while doing the dogs hair cut myself.
Firstly, you get what you pay for in the dog clipper equipment world. Sure, I could get a set cheaper than the cost of that expensive groom, but the blade will be rubbish by the second groom, and the clippers would be loud enough to disguise the sound of a lawnmower. The more you pay, the longer the blades last, and they only disguise the sound of a hair dryer.
Secondly, while I can manage to shave her torso relatively successfully, I’m absolutely rubbish at clipping the hair on her face or feet.
Or her butt.
Let’s be honest, the back of the dog is the only bit I’m sort of, maybe, ok at.
And thirdly, the dog has absolutely no patience with me whatsoever.
The first stage of grooming usually involves treats of some kind, and a fairly firm hold. And a very very quick zip of the clippers over the parts of the body I can get access to.
I will then give up and wait for another day, when I hope she will have forgotten the trauma, and will let me have another two or three minute access with the clippers.
This takes place over about a week, sometimes more, where she spends her time looking like a leprosy victim and getting sideways glances from passersby, and no doubt suffering from horrible bullying from other dogs.
I could bite the bullet and send her back to the professionals who can achieve all this hair reduction on just the one occasion…
But I live in hope that I will gain some level of competency, maybe even hoping for some skill eventually, in the fine art of dog grooming.
Practise doesn’t always make perfect, unfortunately. But as I always reassure her, when after a week she still looks like she had a fight with a whipper snipper, that there’s really only a month or two between a bad haircut, and no one noticing.
The problem is, the eyes are usually the first thing that gets trimmed, so that very sad reproachful look greets me whenever I think about doing some more trimming.
She has very expressive eyes…. we don’t see them often, fortunately!