When grooming your dog at home, your most important tool is a pair of scissors. Scissors are to a groomer what a paintbrush is to an artist. Scissor style, quality, size, weight, cutting ability and tension vary, and each variation results in a different “feel” in your hand. When contemplating the purchase of scissors, consider value rather than cost. A poor quality or dull scissor limits your creative expression and ultimately the quality of your grooming job. Remember, you can never “outcut” your scissors. Spending a little more now on a quality pair of grooming scissors that will last the lifetime of your dog is likely to save you not only money on future replacement costs, but also many hours of frustration.
Scissors are great tools for creating a new look for your dog; they are also very sharp and potentially dangerous. It is essential to develop the skills to handle a pair of scissors safely and efficiently, as you will almost always be using them on a moving target that can very easily be nicked or cut. The following tips can help you handle your scissors more safely.
- Make sure your scissors are sharp! Dull blades can be more dangerous because they lead to a tendency to apply excess pressure or cut over and over again. They also lend a false sense of security
- Never point your scissors at your dog
- Never pull hair or mats up or out to trim them – you are lifting the skin at the same time, risking a cut to your dog’s skin
- Use clippers, rather than scissors, to remove mats from delicate areas such as genitals, behind the ears, or on the tummy
- Be aware of fast moves by your dog when scissoring, and be ready to get out of the way
Without proper maintenance, foreign matter such as dried shampoo, dust or bits of hair can build up between the blades or at the pivot screw, pushing the blades outward. When this happens, the blades don’t align properly, so the cutting edges become dull. If you continue to use scissors in this condition, they can be damaged beyond repair. Here are few hints to keep your scissors in top working condition:
- Keep them oiled. Keep a clean cotton cloth with light oil and wipe down your scissors after each grooming session. Open the shear fully (X-shaped) and place a drop of oil around the screw. Move the blades so that the oil will work into the hinge, then wipe off the excess. Store them in leather cases or sleeves which will absorb any moisture, unlike plastic cases
- Cut only clean hair with your shears. Paper, ribbon, dirt and mats are hard on the edges. Use a pair of inexpensive scissors for these tasks
- Set your scissors down gently rather than dropping or bumping them on the grooming table. They can be knocked out of alignment when bumped