About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grooming without Scissors

Earlier this week I read, on one of the grooming forms, about a groomer who applied for a job, and informed the shop owner that she did not use scissors to groom.

The shop owner told the groomer that the position was filled because she did not want to fool with hiring a groomer that did not use any scissors to groom.

After reading the post and the comments that followed, I got to thinking.
I wondered what her grooms looked like.
The more I thought about it, the more curious I got.

Could I groom an entire dog without picking up my scissors?

I have done a lot of skimming over the years.
Mostly just to skim to take off the bulk of the hair before I do the scissor finish.
I have always used a #7F blade to skim, but for a finer finish I decided to use the #40 blade setting on my cordless clipper.

Well, today I tried it on three different dogs.
I wanted to try it on different hair types.

I did not have time to do each of the dog entirely, so I did parts of the dogs.  :)
I also videoed each one of these dogs so that you could see from start to finish that I did not use scissors.
I also sped up the videos, and added some music, so that they would not be quite so boring.
Just mute the music if you don't like it.  :-)

First was a Cock-a-Poo.

This Cock-a-Poo was getting a #4F on the body, and a 3/4 blade on the legs.

The owners like the top of the head on the short side, and the top of the nose shave short.

I decided to use the #40 blade setting on my cordless clipper.
I wanted to get as smooth and clean a finish as possible.

I found that skimming against the growth of the hair seemed to work the best.

I also used the clipper to cut about a 1/4 " off of the ears.

I was very happy with the way the ears turned out.

Here is a short clip of doing an ear.

I wish I could speed up like that in real life!

This is the head finished.
I did not use any scissors at all on the head...at this point.

After I finished taking this picture, I did pick up my scissors and go over the face and head a little.  :-)

I did not need to do a lot.

I was surprised how nice it turned out.

I did video the whole grooming on the head.
Here is the link if you would like to see it.

I also finished the front and back legs without scissors.

This is one back leg.

This is the front leg.

I did not use any scissors on these two legs.

I only had time to do one side of the dog this way.
I could finish the legs faster with my scissors.

I was slow with the clippers because I was being so careful, and always on guard in case the dog moved suddenly.

This is the side that I finished without scissors.

If you would like to see the video of the legs being finished with only the clipper, click on the link below. 

The next dog that I tried grooming without scissors on was a Labradoodle.

The finished leg in this picture was done with scissors.

I wanted to try and match the finished leg by using only a clipper.

This dog was roughed in with a 5/8 blade.

This is the leg after I did the finish work with my clippers.

No scissors used.

This is a side view.

This is a back view of the leg.

I used the #40 blade setting on my cordless clipper for the finish work on this leg also.

If you would like to watch a video of me finishing this leg without scissors, click on the link below.

The next thing I tried was the head.

This head. >

Yes, I am nuts.

The owners like her eyes to just peek out of all of  that hair.

Once again, I used the #40 blade setting on my cordless clipper.

I was holding my breath that she would not jerk her head at the wrong time.

This is her head after I finished using the clippers to do the finish work.

It turned out okay.

I did feel like I had to pick up my scissors and do some more finish.

Guess what?

While doing a little bit of touch up with my scissors, she jerked her head!

I had to take the top of her head a little tighter to fix the small hole in her hair.

All of that skimming with clippers and she waits to jerk her head while I am scissoring.  :-/

If you would like to see the video of her head being finished without scissors, click the link below.

I tried one more hair type.

Straight hair on a Yorkie.

This little guys owner likes him to be shaved short, short, short!

This is his face after I finished skimming with the clippers.

I did follow up with scissors.

There was not much left to scissor, but I feel that the scissors left a softer finish than the clippers.

If you aren't sick to death with the videos, you guessed it, I videoed this one too.

You will notice in this video that I had not finished clipping the body yet.

I needed to crab my husband between the phone and Self-Serves walking in, so he could video for me.

Here is the link for this little guy.

It is kind of nice to know that I could finish a dog without scissors.
I am sure that I would get faster at it over time.
So, if one day I find that all of my 20 pairs of scissors have gone dull at the same time, I can fall back on my clippers.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Hi!

    Great blog! Love this segment on using clippers for finishing. Love many others of yours I have read, also.

    By the way, your links to youtube for the Labradoodle BOTH go to the head finishing, neither one is for the leg finishing. Thought you'd like to know.

    Keep blogging! Very nice!

  2. Wow. I've never heard of anyone who doesn't use scissors, and I'm quite impressed by your experiment. I'm curious how you'd groom a dog with longer furnishings, though. Like a golden or a border collie--one that just needs neatening up in the pants and front legs. Or what about a Yorkie who isn't shaved--or a coton? I suppose you'd save a lot of money on if you never bought shears. I just dropped a bundle on scissors this past weekend. They were expensive, but they're lefties! And they feel SO much better than the shears I ordered through school.

  3. Thanks Debbiedogs, I think I fixed the youtube videos.

    Vicky, I will always use scissors. I enjoy scissoring too much. I will have to try it on a Golden and other drop coated breeds. If I do, I will post about it. :) I know just what you mean about spending a bundle on scissors.

  4. Have been skimming w/ a 40 blade since about 1995... mastered it as well as anyone could. This is the first that I have heard anyone else doing it. Notice this was awhile ago, experiment much more since then? Just did a Havanese almost entirely w/ 40 and very little scissor work. Took 25 min to finish.
    Hope you get this,
    Chris Reuffer

    1. Hi Chris,
      It IS fun to skim, isn't it? A long as you have a good dog that does not move suddenly and unexpectedly. lol I skim on dogs all of the time, almost everyday in some way or another, but I also love to scissor. :)
      Lisa, MFF