with helpful dog haircut video!
It’s time for our store mascot, Trapper, to get a haircut! Havanese dogs have a wonderful hypoallergenic coat of hair that can grow very long. Our Trapper needs to have his hair cut on a regular basis–more often in the warm spring and summer months. We’ve created a video of his first springtime haircut and it’s been almost 3 months since he’s had a haircut. The full haircut takes us about 45 minutes but we’ve time-lapsed the how-to video to about 10 minutes.
You can read all about grooming Trapper or go and watch the whole process in our HOW TO CUT YOUR DOG’S HAIR – Basic Grooming Tutorial.
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When we adopted Trapper, he was 8 months old and he desperately needed a haircut. Here’s a fun pic of just how hairy he was the first day we got him. He couldn’t even see through all that hair! I wanted it ‘done right’ so I made an appointment at the Doggie Spa. This was all new to me—having a dog that needed haircuts.
I was traumatized that I had to leave him at the spa for almost 4 hours! I felt like the worst Dog Mom ever! We had just taken him from the only home he’d ever known for the past 8 months. And now, we were leaving him with total strangers. I was in tears hoping that he would be okay for the day.
Thankfully, he made it through just fine and looked quite handsome. They even gave him a little blue bandana scarf. But the total bill plus tip was $70! Right then, I knew that there must be a better way to take care of our new precious pup without spending so much time and money to do so.
Disclaimer: I’m not a formally trained dog groomer. I have learned these techniques by practicing solely on my own Havanese, Trapper. My experiences may vary from yours if you have a different breed or a different temperament in your dog. Hopefully my tips and techniques serve as a general guideline that will help you groom your dog.
We trim Trapper’s hair in the bathroom. As you’ll see at the end of our video, you cut off almost another whole dog by the end! We tried grooming him outdoors once and found that too difficult for cleanup. Today, we set up a small table that fits inside our garden bathtub, so the hair clippings are contained and easily vacuumed. The tub can be rinsed afterward. We also wear clothes that are slick, such as athletic gear, so that it’s easier cleanup for us too.
Here are the tools that we use to groom Trapper. He does need brushing everyday and we use a Chris Christensen brush. Brushes like it are ideal for dogs with long hair. The wide-tooth metal comb we use in our grooming video came with our pet scissors set. But we also love this metal comb with plastic red handle that his breeder gave to us. The comb teeth spin so that they don’t get caught in his longer hair. Before you start to cut his hair, you need to make sure his coat is thoroughly brushed and tangle free.
We don’t use special pet clippers because we already owned clippers for people hair. We use the rechargeable, cordless Wahl hair clipper with the guards. When we cut Trapper’s hair, we use three guards: 1/4 inch, 3/16 inch, and 1/8 inch. We use the 1/4” guard for the longest hair on his head, back, rear and sides. We use the 3/16” guard for his legs and feet. And finally, we use the 1/8” guard for his belly where you want a very close shave to keep him cool and clean.
It’s easy to cut his hair with these guards. Just make sure to follow his hair growth and cut by combing through his hair as you would with a brush. As long as you trim with the hair growth, then it won’t cut too close. Now, for his rear end, I can use the same 1/4” guard that I do for longer hair, but I’ll use it against the hair growth so that it cuts closer, then I’ll touch up and cut hair very close with my curved scissors. When he goes outside to do his business, he stays nice and clean if this hair is trimmed short. You may consider trimming his belly and rear end in between full haircuts just so he stays more sanitary after going potty outside.
He tends to get hair mats in the winter months when we let his hair grow longer. Mats are clumps of hair that bunch into a knot usually around joint areas like his armpits and the back of his neck. These hair mats have to be cut with scissors very close to the skin in order to remove them. This is the scissor set that we use which contains straight and curved scissors. The curved scissors are especially helpful for trimming around his face, rear and bottoms of his feet. They help avoid poking him by accident. We keep his nails trimmed regularly too with pet nail clippers that we got at Walmart.
If you watch the video, you’ll see that this is a two-person job. Rinne and I work together. Rinne keeps Trapper happy and somewhat distracted, or still while doing sensitive areas, so that I can work safely and quickly. The second person can also have scissors and look for any stray hairs to trim or to cut hair mats. The second person is especially helpful when cutting around sensitive areas such as rear, privates, and face because they can stabilize the dog and make him feel safe.
After a full brush-out, you can begin cutting anywhere on his body. I like to start with the back because it gets him used to the clipper sound and process. It’s also the most forgiving area. Then, I move on to the sides and rear.
When I cut his chest, I am a little more careful as this hair tends to be less thick and the chance to make a bald spot is easier (I speak from experience here). Just make sure to keep the clippers evenly moving and don’t make a “digging in” motion while cutting….just comb through and the clipper guard will be your friend. You’ll get the hang of it after a little experience.
The clippers and/or scissors can be used to trim around his head, rear, ears, beard, nose and mouth. I tend to use a combination of the tools for these areas. I use the scissors to trim as short as possible around his mouth, the top of his nose and his eyebrows. I keep his eyebrows short so that he can see better (unlike when we first got him). Then, I’ll use the clippers to “blend-in” these areas with the surrounding areas. It really just takes a bit of practice.
We use the shortest clippers guard on his belly and around his private parts. We want this hair super short. Trapper likes to lay flat on the tile floor and this helps him stay cool. Around sensitive areas, if you find a hair mat, use the clippers since they have a guard and are easier than scissors to cut closely. I’ll hold the hair mat with one hand and cut with the other so I get a good feel for where the skin is.
Next, you can move to his legs and feet. Using the 3/16” guard, comb with the clippers’ guard down the legs and feet following the hair growth. Don’t “dig-in” because leg hair is thinner and you might cut a bald spot. Use the scissors to “shape-up” any longer stray hairs.
Always use gentle hands when lifting his paws so that you can access the pads of his feet. These tend to get very matted and can be slippery for your dog if not kept very short. Sometimes these might need a trim in between full haircuts. I use the curved scissors to cut in between the foot pads as closely as possible.
As you’ll see in the video, Trapper is a very well-behaved dog. He’s very accommodating through the whole process. After you’re done, go back and brush everything to catch any areas you may have missed. Havanese hair is really forgiving. Even if you miss a spot, I doubt anyone will notice. Plus, the hair grows so fast, a big mess up could be grown over in a few days!
Be sure to give him a bath right after the haircut to remove any loose hair cuttings. We use Smooth and Sleek Pantene Pro-V 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner. Professional groomers recommend that you blow dry fluffy dogs after their baths as this reduces the number of mats, or you can just let him run around! Trapper is always super happy and playful right after a haircut.
I hope this post and video helps you if you’re considering giving your doggie a haircut! Trapper looks like a brand new dog after he’s had one…and I’m glad that I can care for him this way. He’s a great dog, and if you’re considering a new family pet, definitely consider a Havanese!
If you want to learn reasons why A Havanese is the Perfect Family Pet, go read our very popular blog post to learn more.