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Advice for someone who totally screwed up her 1st clipper-cut?

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  • Advice for someone who totally screwed up her 1st clipper-cut?

    Hopefully everyone sucks the first time they groom. I am experimenting on my dog Jonus, a little white dog who looks kind of like a papilllion-same hair type but not as long. I wanted to give him a teddy bear clip and take almost everything off, starting with long combs and working towards shorter. Anyway, his back and sides are really jagged-lots of clipper lines. I know I prepped him good enough and the blades are new so can anyone help me figure out what it could be:

    1. My blades are too hairy (I blow them clean all the time)
    2. They only leave jagged lines sometimes so is it caused from hot blades?
    3. I think I heard somewhere that you have to hold the skin taute-that helped for some of it but not all of it, especially not the sides. (I was pulling the skin below the clipper downwards, if that makes sense)
    4. I didn't quite go with the lay well enough.

    Am I missing anything? Or is it a combination of all this? I'm kind of discouraged-I really want to get this right because people around the neighbourhood are going to be seeing my dog, so he's my little walking advertisement. Lucky it's hideous out today and he doesn't want to go anywhere!

    A couple more things I'm wondering: His butt used to have a really thick undercoat with fine fringe hanging off of it, but I've cut the fringe off and now he looks like a really skinny dog with a big fat butt lol. I'm planning to cut all that shorter than the body hair to balance him out: Is that what you would do?

    Also, there's a spot on the base of his tail and two more under his ears where there are big short patches of hair. Should I fix those with the shears or clippers, and how?

    Sorry to be asking so many basic and maybe obvious questions but my teacher is not blessed with the gift of explaning lol. Any tips would be much appreciated. I'm going to go watch some videos and see if I can figure any of this out--I'm so stuck right now!!! lol

  • #2
    It sounds like you got off line, and were clipping across the growth in some spots. You also might not have pulled the skin tight enough, and you got what I call the ripple effect. Hot blades don't cause lines.

    You might be able to even things out if you go to a longer snap-on and clip against the growth, rather than with it. But make sure you're absolutely clipping either with or against, and not across.

    You don't want to clip the furnishings on his rear shorter. Thin them out and blend them in, but don't clip them any shorter than they already are. It's best to just tidy them with scissors anyway, rather than clip. Unless you're shaving a dog down to his undies, that is.

    Without seeing those short patches of hair it's hard to recommend how to fix it. I'd probably use blending scissors and try to blend them in as best you can.


    • #3
      3. I think I heard somewhere that you have to hold the skin taute-that helped for some of it but not all of it, especially not the sides. (I was pulling the skin below the clipper downwards, if that makes sense)
      4. I didn't quite go with the lay well enough.

      On #3, yes it helps to hold the skin taute, but on the sides don't pull the skin below the clipper downwards. Go above the clippers and pull the other side of the dog to get the skin taute on the side you are working on.

      #4 is important. You really need to go with the lay to avoid those lines.

      It would be helpful to post pictures to really answer your clipper or shear questions.

      The more you do it the easier it will get.


      • #4
        Ok, thanks alot you guys.

        I've hung up the clippers for the day, but will go at it again tomorrow with a smaller comb. Can you go in reverse with a comb? I think I heard that'll cause clipper lines too but I'm not sure.

        Also, the hair changed direction when I push the comb through it, so that made it hard to see where the direction was that the hair had been going in. It was a smaller dog, not even 15 lbs, so when I'd think I was going in the right direction I'd get mixed up because the hair would start looking like the lay was curving, so I'd follow those lines. Yeah, I guess it will get easier with practice If not I'm screwed hahah


        • #5
          I screwed up the clipping part on my first try too. I did better the second time, but still made a couple clipper marks that I tried to cover up with thinning shears! Maybe third time will be a charm!


          • #6
            The type of coat can make a difference, too. Sometimes as blade will make a mess, while a comb will cut it will, but usually leaves lines. In the latter case, I would then follow with a greyhound style comb, combing through the hair and thinning shearing the hair coming through the teeth of the comb, this will get rid of the lines.

            Tammy in Utah
            Groomers Helper Affiliate


            • #7
              would it matter if it was puppy fur? The Cocker I did just turned 9 months.


              • #8
                is there undercoat?


                • #9
                  Papillon-type hair

                  That kind of hair is tricky, and does not necessarily take a clip very well. It often looks OK if left somewhat long with a lot of thinning shear use, or cut quite short. By the sounds of it, your dog is one of those that, if you clip, you should do kind of short on the body - like a #4 or #5, maybe.

                  I think you just have a tricky coat for your first cut, you need to work on a basic coat at first.


                  • #10
                    ok, thanks so much you guys. I swear I've learned a million things on this board already and I'm just starting out

                    Yeah, he does seem to have a bit of an undercoat, especially on the rump, although I never realized there was one til today. I'll definitely be trying out the trick with the greyhound comb and thinners: I knew you could use thinners and I was wondering how: it never occurred to me that you just did it the old-fashioned barber way

                    Anyway, I feel much better now. If there's still lines I'm going to cut him really short without a clipper comb and see how that goes.


                    • #11
                      Flat coated dogs usually do not clip well...I prefer to strip or scissor them myself, but if their owner insists I will usually take a #7 or a skip tooth followed by my thinning shears. Are your combs plastic or metal? Make sure that he was bathed and fluff dried properly with no undercoat to be found.
                      There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


                      • #12
                        I've found that a lot of times when I have a dog with undercoat, if I brush it all out first, I have far fewer lines. If I do have lines, I go back and brush again, just to make sure. Sure enough, most times I can still get coat out!


                        • #13

                          Wow, that's so good to know. I probably did have some undercoat left in there, and yes, he is a flat-coated dog. I fluff-dried him to make the hair lay flat, should I have made it to kind of pouf up then?

                          I was using metal combs, the Wahl Stainless Steel ones because that's what everybody recommends. I made sure to get those, and the competition blades, so if I ever have to use a cheaper kind my skills will really be put to the test!