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How NOT to Groom Your Dog

Eric Bittman clippers dog grooming dog grooming clippers dog trimming groom your dog trim trim your dog

Article written by Guest Blogger Jessica from California

We have a wonderful gentle natured dog that I adopted about 8 years ago.  Unfortunately she was a bit neglected and was very timid when I brought her home.  She had previously belonged to someone who lived nearby and I had spent the last few months making sure she had food and fresh water so we were already well acquainted.

Meisha is her name and I would say she is a cross between a collie and a husky.  She is a beautiful mix of grays and white with a little black mixed in.  Up until a couple summers ago I had always taken her in to be groomed and trimmed, but I had forgotten to make an appointment for her one time and the next thing I knew her groomer was booked up for the next couple of months.

Well my sister-in-law and I decided instead of looking for another groomer we would just take care of it ourselves.  No big deal.  We had decided it was just so darn hot and she always sheds so bad that we would really give her a trim and make her more comfortable.

I didn't have any dog grooming clippers but my neighbors did and they volunteered them for the task.  My first clue that this might not be a good idea was that although my neighbors had clippers they still took their dog to the groomers for a trim.  Why did I not think to ask why they did that when they had a perfectly great pair of trimmers at home.

We got out the clippers and were really going to town, poor Meisha was not impressed but she really wasn't too tough to handle.  We were feeling pretty proud of our beginning results but as we got going we realized this was not going to be a quick chore.  To get everything done and looking great it was going to take some time, and we were wondering just how long Meisha was going to good naturedly cooperate with all this when disaster struck.

How it happened I don't know, and I'm not sure how we did not notice but the guard came off the clippers and before you know it my poor dog and a reverse Mohawk that was extremely short.  We didn't get her skin or anything but we had definitely trimmed her much much shorter that we desired.

Of course at this time the neighbor came out, the kids came by to see what was going on, and my brother stopped by. Everyone just looked at this poor dog that was only halfway trimmed anyway but she also had this extremely short strip right down the middle of her back.

Dog Grooming
Photo Courtesy of petwellbeing.com

To top it all off Meisha decided she had had enough and took off to the back of the yard to lay in the shade of the peach tree.

My daughter was mortified with what we had done and my brother and neighbor could not quit laughing.  Now my sister-in-law and I did not think it was so funny.  After all we had a half groomed dog that was now thoroughly tired of our well meaning efforts and to top it off she almost had a bald strip down the middle of her back.

We decided it was time for an expert and started calling groomers.  I finally found one that could take her the next day, I had told her there had been a mishap with the clippers and she was too short in some areas and only half way trimmed in others.  I DID NOT volunteer that I had caused all these problems, but I did not blame it on anyone else either.  I just kind of left it up in the air.

So the next day when I took her in they commented on what an awful job someone had done and they could not believe that someone had been foolish enough not to have the guard secured or at the least have noticed right away when it fell off.  They made these comments before I could say anything and volunteer that it was me who had gotten my dog into this predicament.

One groomer made the comment I hope you will never let the person that did this near your dog with clippers again, and I just commented that I didn't think we would ever have this problem again.  I knew we wouldn't because I was just sure I would never forget to make an appointment again and attempt this myself.

I left Meisha and went back to get her later and she looked really great, except for that darn strip across her back.  They gave me instructions that I should probably put sunscreen on her back for a week or two until it grew a little longer.  Of course I had brought my then 4 year old daughter with me to pick up Meisha and as children will do they often pipe in with comments we would rather left unsaid.  I think her comment was that after she saw what I had done to Meisha she was no longer going to let me trim her bangs anymore.

Of course dead silence resulted, and I felt I had to make my excuses.  It all ended up with laughter (at my expense) and the promise that next year I should just let them know I was Meisha's "mom", and they would fit me in no problem.

So the moral of this story if you want to trim your own dog, go for it, but don't let the guard fall off the trimmer and not notice!! You might also want to read the instructions that come with it too, just to be sure the guard is secured on!

There are some great trimmers out there and I was contemplating getting one and attempting it again but then I happened to run across a picture of what happened a couple years ago.  Instead I picked up the phone and called the groomer for an appointment to have her trimmed in a couple of months.  I decided I didn't want to take any chances of not getting in before it got really hot.  I swear my dog looked at me gratefully after I hung up, and my daughter still won't let me trim her bangs!


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