Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Groom Your Dog

Here's that light-hearted post I promised you. Last night I decided to give Oakley, our Gloden retriever/Samoyed mix, his summer haircut. Why? 1) it's expensive 2) he hates going to the groomer 3) I found a pair of pet clippers hanging around and figured, why the hell not?

Senior Fuzzybutt before the cutting
The clippers came with an 8-minute instructional DVD that taught me all about how to groom a poodle, a schnauzer, and a cocker spaniel. None of which, do I own. Dangit. I really think they should add a section for people who just want to shave their damned dog because he's big and hairy and it's hot out and he's shedding everywhere. It would take about 45 seconds, but I could have saved 7 minutes watching the other dogs being groomed.

So, the first thing you have to do is wash your dog. Damnit. I was really hoping to jump straight to the shaving because Oakley had diarrhea last week and it was dried to his very long, very matted butt hair. I didn't want to wash that! Apparently, I had to or the clippers wouldn't work. Fine. I put the dog in the tub and proceeded to wash him thoroughly. I had to wash his butt twice.

I can't find a picture that captures the fluffiness...
Now I needed a good spot to shave him. They say to put him on a table so it's comfortable, but I wasn't doing this in the dining room and he's a big dog. He's about 80 pounds. So I thought the picnic table would be good, but that's too far from an electrical outlet. Finally, I settled on the top step going into the laundry room from the back yard. Added bonus, there's a railing I could tie his leash to.

There's a definite drawback to grooming your dog outside. Distractions. People kept walking by, these two malicious cats parked out across the street, motorcycles drove down the alley. The dog was moving constantly. Thank heavens the clippers don't actually cut skin.

So, I went to work. I started with the 1" comb attachment, thinking perhaps I would just trim him and see if that was enough. It was a total pain, so I just went with the clippers and took him down to nearly nothing. Screw it, this way at least he'll be cool. Even if he does look like that shorn cat from Austin Powers.

The aftermath
On the whole, clipping him was fine and dandy, but getting his undercarriage sucked. There was one part of it that can best be described as "put your face under your dogs a-hole and pray." At one point I had to put my head under his legs and I was thinking "If you hump me you go straight to the pound." But he was a good dog, no pooping and no humping, and eventually I got used to moving his junk around to get the clippers between his legs. I am, however, very glad he is neutered. I don't know how I would have trimmed up his nuts. Seriously, manscaping my dog would have been too much for me.

Before I trimmed down the "mane"
Eventually I lost the light outdoors, so I let him off the lead for a little bit. He was so excited that he rolled in the dirt. Damnit, now I have to give him another bath before I can finish the job. I moved him inside, put him in the tub, and just finished the job right there. If you had asked me "what are your plans for Wednesday night?" I don't think I would have answered "I'm going to be shearing my dog in the bathtub at 11 pm." Oh well, he looks good. I even took his "mane" down a notch, although he hated it and wouldn't be still so it's very raggedy in that area. For someone who has never cut hair with clippers, I think I did a decent job of giving my dog a fade.

All done! Looking... errr... cool?
So there you have it, my dog is nice and cool and I didn't have to spend around $100 for it. I still wonder why we even have those clippers, though. They had never been used before - everything was still in the little plastic baggies, and my husband's previous dogs weren't long-haired or in need of a specialty cut. I'm glad we had it, though. Made my Wednesday night more interesting. Although Mera seemed very confused when she saw the dog this morning!

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