How to get a dog to be still while cutting hair

Written by maria kielmas Google
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How to get a dog to be still while cutting hair
Teach your dog that a haircut can be pleasurable. (Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Some dogs don't like haircuts. They can feel spooked by sharp scissors and noisy clippers, and become fidgety and traumatised. If you're planning to cut your dog's hair, it will be key to gain its confidence and make it feel relaxed. Your pet will need to become accustomed to grooming tools and having its hair cut. This may be a slow process, depending on your dog's age and breed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Grooming table or grooming mat
  • Treats
  • Brushes
  • Clippers
  • Scissors

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Consult a professional groomer or a website such as Groomers Limited to find out about your pet's coat and the kind of clipping technique it requires. Short-haired Labradors usually don't need a haircut. Shih Tzus and long-haired Afghan hounds may need clipping every month or two. Professionals and websites can also advise you on the correct brushes to use.

  2. 2

    Introduce your dog to your grooming table or grooming mat. If your dog is a breed that will grow to a medium or large size, teach it to clamber on the table by itself. Arrange some cardboard boxes as a series of steps by the side of the table if your pet is too small to jump up.

  3. 3

    Place the clippers away from your dog and turn them on for an initial 30 seconds during a brushing session. Extend this period for a few minutes as your pet gets used to the noise. Bring the clippers closer to your dog as it becomes accustomed to the noise. If it shows no sign of stress when the clippers are turned on, press the side of the clippers on its back so it gets used to the vibrations. Praise and offer treats if your pooch remains calm.

  4. 4

    Start cutting a little hair at a time when your dog feels comfortable with the clippers. Stop clipping if it shows any sign of stress. Reward your dog with treats and praise it after each clipping session.

Tips and warnings

  • Start grooming and clipping as early as possible in your dog's life.
  • Choose the time for a haircut when you know your house will be quiet and there won’t be too many distractions such as loud music or screaming children. This will help put your dog at ease.
  • Exercise your dog before clipping, allowing it to use up any excess energy.
  • Comb and untangle all matting in long-haired breeds before brushing and bathing.
  • Stop cutting your dog's hair if you see stress signs like bulging, bloodshot eyes or drooling. If stress signs don't disappear immediately, consult a vet.
  • Avoid any delicate procedure such as clipping around the eyes if don't have steady hands. Breeds such Shih Tzus are very susceptible to eye injuries during grooming.
  • Use a belly sling type of tether on the grooming table to ensure the dog doesn’t jump off when you are trimming foot hair. Belly slings are kinder than a loop tether around the dog’s neck that can choke him. If he reacts badly to the tether, stop immediately. Never use a muzzle at home. Professional groomers sometimes use muzzles on dangerous dogs, but in the home, you are the boss and your dog should feel fully confident with you.

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