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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

After a few visits to the groomer I realize that I am probably the best person to groom Butters.. She is just so naughty at the groomer's. I think the loud noises and half shaved dogs are freaking her out :(

So, I am thinking of taking the enormous task of learning how to safely groom a dog ... I'm going to spend a lot of time desensitizing her to the clippers before I start, so I'm hoping that in a month's time she'll be well on her way to receiving grooming well :)

After much deliberation, I think I'm going to go with the Andis UltraEdge AGC Super 2-Speed Animal Clipper. I know that 2 speeds make the blades hotter faster, but Butters has a dense undercoat, and curly hair so I think I need the faster speed to make it an easier process. I decided not to go for the ceramic blade as I heard it breaks easily and I can drop things a few times.

My question is regarding the blades and the combs (I know pretty basic stuff but I'm working on 0 knowledge here haha). The Andis comes with one blade - #10. Given it doesn't have the FC after it, I'm assuming it's just a regular blade, not for finishing cut. After reading, I think Butters would do good with a 4fc or a 5fc for the body. I guess the part I'm confused about is how do I use the combs according to the blade I have? If I just have a 10 blade, then which comb goes with that to trim the body? Or can 10 only be used for the sanitary areas? Or, does any comb fit with 10, and 10 is like a 'jack of all blades' type of deal?

Also, if I want to use 5FC or 4FC blade to have that nice finished look, which comb goes with that? Is it based on the measurements provided, or do you just mix and match depending on the look you're going for? I just want a clean, even shave (maybe 1/2 inch).

When I want to use #10 for the sanitary areas, do you use a comb for that too? If it makes it safer, I definitely want to use a comb, but which comb?

Also, I'm thinking of getting the steel combs as I heard it goes through the hair easier, and Butters has really dense hair - do you think it's worth it? Or do the plastic ones suffice for novice/occasional use.

I guess I am not really a natural when it comes to understanding grooming tools, so your help would be really appreciated!!

Thank you :)
 

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That clipper is a great clipper, and will work well on any coat type. The 10 blade is a 10 blade. There are no F or FC 10 blades, as all 10 blades are essentially a full cut blade. You will use that blade for sanitary areas, armpits, eye corners, or anywhere else you want it very short. You do not use an attachment comb over it for those areas. If the length you want is the 4F or 5F then that is the blade you use on the body. No need for an attachment comb, those are generally for leaving the coat longer than the longest available blades. IF you want to use the combs, and you get the metal Wahl combs, a 30 blade is recommended to use with those. You can also use that 30 blade without the comb for paw pads.
Think of the combs as a blade...they leave longer lengths. So you cannot use them in an area you want very short, like sanitary areas.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow Graco, thank you for your help!! I guess I was confused because I read somewhere that having a comb makes the shearing easier, but if I can just use the 4f or 5f blade for the body, then that would be great!

I have another question regarding safety - I see that you shouldn't be placing any downward pressure when using the clipper - so if you're going into awkward areas, like the soft part where the hind legs meet the body, then the clipper should really just be grazing over it right? Just not sure about the pressure, and how do you go about using the clipper around the dew claw area? I assume that if you were to graze over the dew claw, it would get cut and bleed o_o she still has her nail there, but at the groomers, it looks like they just go over it? I don't know if I"m seeing it properly :S
 

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Yes, you dont use pressure on the clipper, and the angle you are holding the blade to the skin is a huge part of it also. You want to guide the clipper, not force it, and you will need to be sure you have either pulled loose skin taut, or positioned the dog in a position that pulls the skin taut. For instance, when doing the groin area, its easier to stand a small dog up on its back legs by holding the front legs together in one hand and lifting the dog off the front feet that way. Then it stretches the main part of the skin under there, and also makes it easier to see. Then you can finish cleaning that area up by having the dog stand and lift one back leg at a time to clean up what you can see under there. One safe rule of thumb is to NEVER clip what you cannot see..always look at what you are clipping, and if you cant see it, then maneuver yourself or the dog so that you can see it. As for the dewclaws, yes, you can very lightly skim over them as you clip down the leg, carefully. Blades and attachments dont do a perfect job of making legs even and smooth, and always need to be scissored over to get a nice smooth finish. Brush the hair up, scissor down, shear tips pointing towards ground, as the dog stands. For insides of front legs, its sometimes easier to pick up te leg and scissor upwards, just be careful NEVER use fabric, paper or other household shears. Get grooming shears, they are safer. A simple, cheap $50 pair of 7-8" straight shears will do fine. Look at some youtube videos, any breed, to see visuals before you start, and refer back to them after or during clipping to get you started.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Graco,

I had another question - for clipping the paws, do you just use a 10 blade on its own too? Or do you use a 30 blade with a comb attachment?
 

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Hi Graco,

I had another question - for clipping the paws, do you just use a 10 blade on its own too? Or do you use a 30 blade with a comb attachment?
You can use a 10 blade, but its not short enough there for my liking, I use 30 without the attachment. Any attachment is much longer than even a 10 blade. The only time you really use attachments is on body hair that you want left longer than 1/2 inch. Anything 1/2" or shorter there is a blade that leaves that length. An attachment doesnt make anything safer, but on some coat, you get a nicer finish on the body using an attachment rather than a blade of the same length.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ohh I see, thank you for making it simpler to understand! grooming seems so daunting at first but I feel more confident now :)

Thank you :)
 

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I wouldn't use combs. I bought a good 2 speed clipper a few months ago. It came in a kit with one blade and several combs. Cutting with the blade is fine, it cuts through hair like butter. But as soon as you put a comb on it it tangles and gets stuck and pulls her skin etc. And that's after brushing and combing her to the point where there are absolutely no tangles at all anywhere. I did some googling and found that it's better and easier to just get another, longer blade and that even experienced groomers sometimes struggle with the combs. So I bought a 4F and it's the perfect length and so easy to use compared to the combs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks lil fuzzy!! Yeah, I feel apprehensive about using combs after reading some forums out there - I will try with just the blade. It's so scary using a clipper to shave around the paws and her genitalia - can I safely assume that so long as I don't put pressure on it, I can dig in between her pads and on her genitalia to shave? It just seems really scary - I watch videos and they just do it so casually but it's a blade!!
 

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I know, the videos you see look horrible :)

I would start with the body, the easy bits, just to get a feel for it. I've never actually "dug in" anywhere, because I'm still not comfortable with that, and it doesn't need to be really really short anywhere. I figure if I just work around stuff and get it a lot shorter than what it was, it's all good. Around her lady bits I've used scissors, but I tend to leave it slightly longer than the rest of her body because I see no need for it to be really short.
 

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I am still not comfortable with using the clippers on the pads. The first time I did I nicked a foot and made it bleed. It scared me to try again. :( I use scissors on the fur only on pads now ... just make the fur even so they still do not slip on tile or wooden slick floors. :) I do no digging in with scissors either. I have been doing it for 6 years now.

Good luck ... you will have to show us before and after photos! :D
 

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A 10 blade on private parts is actually much safer than shears, and a 30 or 40 blade in pads is safer than shears. However, never use a corner of the blade, always keep the blade flat against the skin. You dont want to tilt the blade up. Also, if your blade and cutter piece isnt aligned right, you can nick the dog. There has to be videos or photos on the internet to show how to check for that.
 

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Chubby, I am so glad someone else has questions like I do! I've been searching the internet mad crazy for answers like Graco22, Lilfuzzy, and Abbylynn have covered!

QUESTIONS: I have a 2yo imperial shih tzu I adopted. His name is "Oreo Blizzard", courtesy of my 3yo nephew who named him :) Anyhow, I purchased a ceramic 3 3/4 FC blade to go with the 10 blade that came with my Andis pro clippers. Is 3 3/4 FC too short for Oreo in the winter months? I have him a little sweater, and a heavier coat to wear in case it snows. I only ask because it is hard keeping his paws clean when the ground is wet and his coat is long. Any suggestions on the blade I should use? I'm figuring attaching a comb to either of my blades won't satisfy this need, right? What should I use? Help!

ANOTHER QUESTION: Also are steel blades better than ceramic? I purchased only ceramic because I was told they heat up 60% slower than steel.
 

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A 10 blade on private parts is actually much safer than shears, and a 30 or 40 blade in pads is safer than shears. However, never use a corner of the blade, always keep the blade flat against the skin. You dont want to tilt the blade up. Also, if your blade and cutter piece isnt aligned right, you can nick the dog. There has to be videos or photos on the internet to show how to check for that.
I tried the 10 blade on her private parts last night, because you said it was safer, but I couldn't do it. I did the inside of her back legs and all around her bits, but on her actual thing there was a tangle of hair and I couldn't see properly and I didn't feel safe enough running a blade over it. It might have been fine, but she's such a sensitive dog and if she so much as thinks she's going to be in pain, she will scream. So I find it easier to use scissors. As long as I'm not cutting towards her and taking every precaution I know of and she's not wiggling, I think it's fine.
 

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What do you think about this? .... I tried thinning shears (round tipped for dogs) around Eddee's eyes for the first time with excellent results. It made the hair trim around his eyes look much more natural than regular shears. He has a huge unibrow! Lol! :)

Just wanted some input on this. I do not use clippers on their faces except I was between their eyebrows to give that Schnauzer brow. (watched a video on how to) I think I am liking and feeling safer with the thinning shears. You need to trim the brow with shears anyways ...... :/
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Abbylynn, yes I just bought a pair of thinning shears for that exact purpose!! The idea of having clippers on Butters' face scares me a lot, simply because it already took so long for her not to be screaming when I'm touching her face.

I'm still in the process of desensitizing her to the paws stuff- she's okay with everything else except face and paws (Which for us is enormous progress considering it took months to get to this point). For the face, I MUST hold her chin hair, or she'll try to squirm away.

She's still really sensitive about the paws. She'll let me touch them briefly, but once I move to the next step of squeezing, she'll freak out, or if I have a grooming tool in my other hand, she'll yank away. We've been working at this for a year now, and she still doesn't trust me with the paws, and believe me, we are working on it slowly!!! If l touch her paw for more than 3 seconds, and she flinches away.

It's getting really frustrating, and I pretty much read everything out there on how to desensitize a dog to things, and it worked for her tail and body, but her face and paws she's still really sensitive about it.

I am at wits end!!!! Yesterday I dremeled one toe nail for 1/2 a second, and she was okay with it, but only if I hold her paw ever so gently adding no pressure.

Sometimes I think I'm going to go crazy with how difficult it's been so far...

Anyone have any advice? I don't know what else to do!!!
 

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I am in the same boat where the feet are concerned. The only thing Eddee's feet are good for is balancing on things and scratching me! Lol! I have been trying to desensitize him every way I know how ... no dice! I am about to use a muzzle for nail trims. He bites! Hard! On steroids for life ... I cut and bruise and bleed easily. :/ This does not help the matter either.

I somehow did however get him to allow me to wipe his feet from being outside with a towel. How? I have no clue ... I just went straight to business and let him take a fit. He still growls at me every now and then. Lol!

I can touch everywhere else ... even brush his teeth or put drops in his eyes and ears. :/ I can even strip that fluffy curly tail ... I can hear the dead hair rip out ... he makes no fuss.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It makes me really sad and I can't help but take it personally that she just doesn't trust me. Despite the fact that I never use corrections on her, hurt her, yell at her, or mistreat her in anyway, she doesn't trust me enough to handle her feet :( I just feel really depressed about the fact that I can't even clip my own dog's toenails >.<
 
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