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Havanese Haircuts- Grooming 101 Continued…
We always recommend that you take your pup to a professional groomer for the ideal haircut however we understand during certain times that this may not be possible! For those of you who are really stir crazy, with pups in need, and who have the proper equipment then this blog may be for you! Otherwise, hang in there, and follow basic grooming techniques until you can make a trim to your groomer!
There are 3 basic clips you should learn to keep our dogs clean, comfortable and happy. The traditional puppy cut, the maternity clip and the sanitary clip. All previous steps in our Grooming Your Havanese 101 Blog should be completed BEFORE starting to clip down a dog. Clipping a dirty coat not only results in a choppy uneven cut but it also dulls the clipper blades. A dull clipper blade will pull on the dogs’ hair and not work properly.
The Sanitary Clip is a simple cut that helps us keep their underbelly area clean. For this clip you will be using a 10 blade to remove hair from the armpits, belly, inner thighs, and genital areas. Before you start make sure “Cool Care” is stocked at your grooming station. Cool Care helps keep the clipper blades lubricated, free of hair build up and keeps them from overheating.
CLIPPER BLADES CAN BECOME SO HOT THEY WILL BURN THE DOGS SKIN!
*Cool Care needs to be sprayed onto the blades frequently whenever they are in use to prevent this from happening.*
To start, hold the dogs two front paws in one hand and raise them up so they are standing on their hind legs in an upright position. This exposes the belly making it easy to clip and it also tightens the skin which makes it less likely you will cut the dog.
CLIPPERS CAN AND WILL CUT A DOGS SKIN IF NOT USED PROPERLY.
Start from the bottom of the abdomen, moving the clippers in an upward motion, work your way up to the chest. Be sure to clip around the nipples and avoid direct contact to prevent injury. If you are clipping a male, make sure you remove all the hair from the sheath of the penis. Too much hair in this area can cause irritation and complications during retraction after tying. You should stop clipping when you are level with the armpits. From there, place the two front paws back onto the grooming table so the dog is back in a normal standing position. Gently lift the front leg out to the side and clip from the inner elbow through the armpit and connect with the belly/chest area you have just clipped. Be very careful while trimming in the armpit as it is an area prone to nicks. Next, gently lift the rear leg up and out to the side. Start from the inner ankle and work your way towards the abdomen removing all the hair on the inner thigh. Rotate the dog and repeat the process on the opposite front and rear legs.
Lastly, stand behind the dog and hold the tail up as if you were trimming the butt. Make one clean swipe from the bottom of the anus down to the genitals. For females you want to clip away any hair obstructing the vulva. For males lightly trim around the testicles very carefully, the scrotum is also a problem area for nicks.
The Maternity/Summer clip is typically given before the hotter months! Being outside, or even swimming for your pups, if your family is extremely active, can get messy and pups with long coats will be easily matted. For these reasons we use a “7F” blade to clip down most of the dogs’ body, except for the tail and face/head.
The first step of the maternity/summer clip is to perform a sanitary clip. Once the sanitary clip is complete, remove the 10 blade and attach the 7F blade. Use a slicker brush to brush all the hair on the dogs’ body upward towards the head against the grain. Hold onto the dogs’ beard if necessary, to keep the head still and start clipping at the base of the skull, moving down towards the back. Always clip with the grain following the natural flow of the dogs’ body. You may have to repeat the motions of brushing the hair up against the grain and then clipping down with the grain several times in the same spots to get an even cut. Methodically clip your way down the dogs’ neck, back, sides and all four legs. The chest is the ONLY area on the body you may clip upwards against the grain. You want the chest to be tight and a uniformed clip around the front of the neck all the way up to the lower jaw.
DO NOT CUT THEIR BEARDS OFF!!!
After the body has been clipped down, remove the 7F blade, switch back to the 10 blade and put a ¾” attachment onto the blade. Use this to trim the beard and face hair. It won’t be perfect, but it will take the bulk off and give you a basic shape and guidelines to follow. Comb through the beard and use scissors to cut away any out of place hairs, even the beard out and neaten it up. Do the same to the rest of the head and face. Use the thinning scissors on areas where the longer hair of the head or face meets the shorter hair of the neck for a smoother looking transition. The ears should be cut straight across about a ½” below the very tip of the ear. Last step is to trim the hair on the tail down to 1 ½ to 2”. This can be tricky at first and does take some practice as it is all scissor work. Hold the tail out horizontally and in line with the spine, start the cut at the base of the tail working your way up to the tip. Start shorter at the base, bowing out to your longest length at the middle of the tail and then slightly tapering back in as you reach the tip of the tail. Always, always, always comb or brush out any area you have just trimmed with scissors, reexamine and re trim if necessary. Continue to comb and trim until you comb, and the area looks perfect with no out of place hairs.
The Puppy Cut is the most popular and difficult of the three clips and will most likely take some time and practice to get right. Everyone should get a puppy cut every 4-6 weeks to keep their coats at a manageable length. I recommend using a 10 blade with a ¾” attachment comb for this clip.The method of giving a puppy cut is the same as giving a maturity clip but with a different blade and an added attachment. Start with the sanitary clip, apply the ¾” comb attachment, and starting from the base of the skull brush all the hair on the dogs’ body up against the grain and clip back down with the grain. Repeating this process following the natural flow of the dogs’ body until all hair is the same length and does not look choppy. Once this is achieved, shape the face, tail, legs and feet with the scissors. For best results, I strongly recommend doing your homework and watching lots of You Tube videos before attempting this clip. Then practice, practice, practice. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not perfect your first try!
Remember, at Royal Flush Havanese we are ALWAYS here to help you! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on keeping your pup’s coat neat and trim! This should be something the assist in bonding with your Havanese and keeping him looking great! Don’t forget to check out the rest of our BLOGS to help with all your training needs!