In March of this year, I took my budgeted grooming money and bought this Wahl grooming kit from Target. I watched a few youtube videos and went to it.
|Rufio in desperate need of grooming. Where are his eyes?|
That first groom was an experience in learning to trust each other. Rufio and I have a very close, trusting relationship, but the electric clipper took it to a whole new level. He's very compliant when I'm grooming him, and I think he prefers my amateur grooming to the scary professional groomers.
Yesterday I did my fourth groom, and I finally feel like I've got the hang of it. This post is not a tutorial. It's a "You can do it too!" encouragement post.
Here's my the method:
1. Wash. I wash Rufio on a Friday night after we've done our evening walk. That gives him the entire night to dry, because I don't blow-dry him.
2. Comb. I comb Rufio on Saturday morning after he's fully dry. I work out any mats and basically prep his fur for the clippers.
3. Groom Station. I groom him on the back patio on Saturday mornings, because Zane can watch Daisy, and it's usually still cool enough to work outside. I would never recommend grooming indoors, because fur gets everywhere. My first groom was in the garage, and even that was a beast to clean up.
I sit on newspaper and keep the things I need right next to me: scissors, comb, clippers, oil and clipper brush. The rest of my supplies is on the chair away from the fur.
|Sorry for the blur. I need to clean my iPhone lens.|
4. Grooming the Fur. I start without a guard and shave the genital area and around his anus. I start there because the clippers aren't hot, and they're the most delicate areas. Then I slap the shortest guard on and go to town on his back, legs, and belly. Lastly, I use the scissors to shape his face, feet, and tail. I also use scissors to trim the hair between the pads of his feet.
5. Ears, Nails, Anal Glands. After his body is in order, I gently pull out the hair from his ear canals. This takes a lot of patience for both of us. He dislikes this, but with lots of "Good boy"'s and breaks for petting, he endures to the end. I try to tell him that it's to prevent ear infections, but he doesn't get it.
I bought nail clippers in March, but only used them once. I'm too afraid of cutting his quick, so I usually just file them when necessary. So far it hasn't been a problem, but I'm dreading the day that I have to really work on his nails. He's not as patient about his nails.
I have never expressed his anal glands, but I've heard the vet will do it for you.
Clean up. I always end up covered with fur. I wash my grooming clothes with the towel we used to dry him after his bath. I always do a rinse cycle first, regular wash cycle, then put them in the dryer. By the end of the drying the hair is mostly out, but I reserve these clothes for grooming, because there are usually rogue hairs that linger.
I clean the clippers as the instructions say, then wipe off my scissors, clipper guards, and comb with my shirt. I sweep all the fur into our yard because it's bio-degradable!
Time. Not including his bath the night before, the Saturday morning grooming process takes me about two hours. It's not my favorite thing to do, and I would never groom anyone else's dog, but it saves me money and anxiety about Rufio's well-being, so it's worth it!
|Freshly groomed Rufio.|
I'm not a perfectionist, so Rufio often looks "rugged" after a groom, but it's not about looking perfect. I'm a low-maintenance groomer, very non-professional. I like having the ability and confidence to do this myself, and I'm saving $50 a quarter (that's $200/year!).