How To Cut Dog Hair (Matted) With Clipper At Home – 2018 Guide

Trimming your dog’s hair won’t only make him look and feel better, it will prevent hair matting. Thus, your pup will not develop a skin infection from dirt trapped in tangled and matted areas.

Most dog owners opt for a professional help because they are afraid of giving their dog a bad hairdo. But cutting your dog’s hair at home isn’t so hard as it seems, still, you will need to practice and be patient. Even if you cut too much hair, and your pup ends up with a bald spot/hot spot  don’t despair, it will grow quickly.

Learning how to cut dog hair at home will save you money in the long run and help you bond with your pup. All you need are the right tools, lots of treats, and positive attitude and you are set for success.

How To Cut Dog Hair?

How To Cut Dog Hair

Once you decided that you are ready to groom your dog at home, you need to pick the right grooming tool. Some people find hair clippers safe and easier to handle, on the other hand, others prefer scissors.

How To Pick The Right Grooming Tool?

When it comes to finding the right dog hair cutting tool you need to consider what will work best for you and your dog’s grooming needs. For first-time groomers hair clippers are easier to use and are faster, but with the right technique, sharp blades and patients scissors also have their advantages.

Consider following things in order to find the right grooming tool:

Scissors: There are several types of dog grooming scissors and in order to find the right one, consider the type of cut you want to give your dog.

Straight grooming scissors are versatile and create a straight edge cut. You can use them for shaping, patterning, finishing touches and to remove mats.

Thinning scissors have one fine-tooth and one cutting blade and are great for dogs with thick coats. As the name suggests, this type of scissors removes only part of the hair by thinning it out.

Curved scissors are great to use on sensitive parts like face, muzzle, and paws. This type has a slightly curved tip to shape the hair following the lines of the body.

Rounded tip scissors are best for sensitive areas like face, paws, and muzzle. These are great for lively dogs and will prevent injuries.

When it comes to scissors it is important that they are sharp and made from a durable material like titanium or stainless steel. You can opt to buy rubber finger guards that will make handling easier.

Clippers: There is a variety of different dog grooming clippers but we recommend that you opt for professional grade. You might spend more money from the start but they will last you a long time, and still cheaper than regular visits to the groomer.

Consider the amount of noise as a factor when searching for the right clippers. Some models can be too loud and scare your pup.

Opt for stainless steel blades since they need longer time to get warm. Also, there is a variety of blade sizes, the higher the number the shorter the cut will be. Hence, consider your dog’s coat type and grooming requirements.

You should also think about regular clipper maintenance since it will prolong the longevity of your device. Some devices come with oil and cooler spray but for some, you will have to buy them separately.

There is also a choice between corded clippers that are usually stronger but limit the range of motion, and cordless that operate on batteries. Also, some clippers can be pretty heavy and can tire your arm easily if you work on a large dog.

How To Prepare For Hair Cutting?

Trimming your dog’s hair requires some preparations in order to make it stress-free and as quick as possible. If this is your first time grooming your pup at home there are some tips and tricks that will help you do it like a pro.

1. Set Up A Grooming Station

If you don’t have a grooming table, you can use a kitchen or garden table to set u your grooming station there. Using an elevated surface for hair trimming is recommend since it won’t put a strain on your back.

If you are using a table, place a non-slip mat on it, it will keep your pup steady and later you can just pull it up and dispose of all hairs. Place all of your grooming tools within the hands reach.

If you are dealing with an agitated dog it is best to restrain him on the leash of the grooming hand. If you don’t have a grooming table and can’t improvise some kind of handle, ask someone to hold the dog.

2. Brush Before Hair Cutting

Every time you want to cut your dog’s hair you need to brush him and if your pup is extremely dirty wash him as well. Once he is completely dry use a slicker brush to comb his fur and remove dirt and tangles.

If some mats are impossible to brush off you will have to cut them with scissors. Pay special attention to parts that touch the ground, like paws and legs since they are prone to dirt buildup.

3. Check How Your Dog Should Look

Research how your dog should look like before you start clipping his hair. Nothing is wrong with a little creativity but for each case check your breed’s standard.

4. Avoid Uneven Lines

Always cut with the growth of your dog’s hair to achieve a natural look. If you clip against hair growth or push the clipper too fast you will make harsh lines.

5. Keep Your Dog Calm

Prepare lots of treats, arm yourself with patience, and offer encouragements and praise during the grooming process. If your pup seems uncomfortable at any moment, stop, try to calm him down.

Make as many breaks as your dog needs, and try to assure him that hair cutting isn’t a terrible thing. Hence, your dog will be more open to this idea in the future and not be afraid.

6. Check The Blades

Before you start grooming your dog, check if the clipper or scissor blades are sharp. Dull blades can pull hair, cause pain, and make your dog reluctant towards any future hair cutting.

7. Be Aware Of He Temperature

If your clippers overheat you can burn your dog and cause him great discomfort. In order to prevent this from happening, turn them off regularly and check if the blades are too hot.

If they are you can change the blade if you have a reserve and continue working or use another clipper. Other options include the application of coolant spray and a short break until the blade is safe for use again.

8. Clip The Hair From The Young Age

To make your dog more accepting of hair clipping it is best to start while he is young or a puppy. Some breeds have fur that grows all the time, so it is best to acquaint them with this routine straight away.

9. Do It Right

Start cutting your dog’s hair from his neck and work your way down towards the tail. Next, you want to cut both sides one by one and get to the stomach area.

Leave sensitive areas like muzzle, face, ears, and paws for the end. You can use scissors for smaller finishing touches and the clippers for the rest of the body.

How To Cut A Dog’s Hair With Clippers

In order to make you’re first at home grooming experience easier follow these steps for a stress-free and nice haircut. Remember to wash and dry your dog prior to hair cutting if he is very dirty, if not only brush him to remove debris and matted hair.

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Step 1: Pick The Right Spot

Find a place where you are going to trim your dog’s hair. If you don’t have a grooming table you can do it on the floor of your bathroom.

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Step 2: Keep Your Pup Comfortable

Stroke your dog for a little while to help him relaxed before you start.

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Step 3: Groom Your Dog

Use a brush to comb your dog’s hair in case you missed some areas.

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Step 4: Get Ready

Get your clippers, turn them on and let your pup position himself in a way that is the most comfortable for him.

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Step 5: Start Trimming

Start trimming your dog’s hair from the neck down in the same direction as the hair growth.

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Step 6: Trim The Sides

Continue clipping your dog’s hair on the side you have access to until you have no hairs to clip.

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Step 7: Go Slowly

Get your dog to sit and start cutting the hair that is higher on the neck. Go slowly to prevent nicking your dog by accident.

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Step 8: Test Sensation

You can place the clippers against your skin to see what kind of sensation your pup is experiencing.

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Step 9: Feel The Clippers

If you find mats on your pup’s hair be very gentle and make a clean cut, that won’t pull the hair and cause discomfort.

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Step 10: Check If The Blades Are Hot

Turn of the clippers for a moment to check if they are overheated. Place your palm on the blade to make sure that it is safe to continue trimming.

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Step 11: Use Scissors If Necessary

For hard to clip mats use scissors to safely cut them without pulling on your pup’s skin.

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Step 12: Continue Trimming

Turn the clippers on and start trimming your dog’s feet, and the hair that grows between his paw pads.

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Step 13: Trim The Legs

Continue working on the legs and cut the hair both on the inside and outside.

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Step 14: Follow The Hair Growth

Once the legs are done, you can switch on the neck area, and remember to keep trimming the hair in the growth direction.

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Step 15: Trim The Ears

Open up your dog’s ear flap and trim the hairs that grow on the inside.

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Step 16: Don’t Forget The Back Side

Place your pup over your knee, and while holding his tail in one hand, use clippers to trim his rear end, and make it clean and sanitary.

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Step 17: Let Your Dog Rest

Take a break and let your pup cool and calm down especially if he seems nervous and scared.

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Step 18: Check If The Blades Are Cool

Once the break is over make sure that the clipper blade is cool and safe to use.

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Step 19: Trim The Hairs In Front

Let your dog sit, and hold his head while you cut the hairs on his neck and chest area.

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Step 20: Don’t Nick Your Dog

Be very gentle on the areas like ears and soft skin on the inside of the back legs.

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Step 21: Go Against The Grain

Hold your dog under his front paw while he is sitting to expose his stomach for an easy trim.

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Step 22: Finish The Front

Let your dog sit and hold him while finishing the chest area and clip the hairs on the front legs.

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Step 23: Be Gentle With The Mats

Be patient when you encounter mats and take your time to gently remove them.

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Step 24: Go Slowly On Sensitive Areas

Once the genital region is up for trimming be careful and go really slowly, especially if you have a male dog.

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Step 25: Don’t Have High Expectations

Be gentle with genital and belly region, and if it doesn’t seem perfect don’t be upset, no one is going to notice.

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Step 26: Congratulate Yourself On A Job Well Done

At this point, you should be done cutting your dog’s hair. You can leave his tail fluffy or trim it as well, it is your choice. As you can see this is a pretty casual way to cut your dog’s hair at home, and you don’t have to place your pup on a higher surface if you don’t want to. If this was your first trim, chances are that you will have to touch up some areas, but you can do that later when you and your pup had a big break.

How To Cut Dog Hair With Scissors

When hand scissoring a dog’s hair you will need a comb that will help you achieve the even and natural look. Washing and brushing your dog prior to the hair cutting is a must to remove dirt, debris, and matted areas.

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Step 1: Restrain Your Dog

Place your dog on a table or grooming table and secure him with a leash.

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Step 2: Use A Comb

Start from the neck area and run the comb through your dog’s hair. Lift the hair with a comb and cut off the desired length.

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Step 3: Don’t Cut The Under Coat

If your dog has an undercoat, you don’t need to cut it, just cut the hairs that are above it.

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Step 4: Start From The Neck

Continue combing and cutting your dog’s hair at the length above the undercoat. Work your way from the neck to the tail area.

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Step 5: Cut The Hairs On The Back

Work your way to the tail region and cut the hairs on the top of the tail using the same technique.

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Step 6: Go Back

Once you have finished the back and the side, you can go back to the neck area and cut hairs under the ears.

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Step 7: Go For The Even Cut

Use the undercoat line as a guide that will show you how much hair you need to cut off for an even trim.

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Step 8: Recheck Your Work

Run your comb towards the tail region again and cut all the excess hair you notice. Continue doing so until all the hairs are the same length.

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Step 9: Tip The Comb

As you are getting closer to lower parts of your dog’s side, tip the comb slightly forward. This will ensure that all the hair are the same length and your dog won’t have any uneven lines.

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Step 10: Work On The Back Leg

Once the hairs on the side are even you can start with the back leg. Use a comb and run it in the direction of the hair growth and cut the excess hair.

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Step 11: Cut The Hairs Around The Pad

Lift your dog’s leg so that the paw pad is facing you and use scissors to cut the hairs around the pad.

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Step 12: Trim The Leg

After you cut the hairs from the pad, lift the leg again and brush the hairs on the back of the leg outwards. Use just scissors without the comb to cut everything that sticks out.

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Step 13: Finishing Touches

When the back part of the leg is done, curl your dog’s leg so that you get a curved line showing your dog’s thigh. Follow that line and cut all the hairs above the undercoat line.

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Step 14: Cut The Hairs That Are Left

Comb the leg once again in order to see all the hairs that weren’t cut, and use scissors to trim them.

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Step 15: But The Hairs Around The Bump

Lift the tail and use only scissors in order to remove hairs from your dog’s rear area.

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Step 16: Trim The Belly

After that is done, use scissors and follow the belly line and cut the hairs going from the back to the front part of the body.

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Step 17: Check If There Are Hairs Sticking

Lift the front paw and use a comb to brush the hairs on the sides to see if you have any uneven ends. If so use just scissors to cut them off in order to get a nice belly curve.

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Step 18: Start Trimming The Front Paw

Lift the front paw and use a comb to brush the hairs on the sides to see if you have any uneven ends. If so use just scissors to cut them off in order to get a nice belly curve.

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Step 19: Cut The Hairs Around Paw Pad

Lift the front leg so that the paw pad is facing you and start cutting hairs around it.

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Step 20: Position Your Dog

Turn your dog so that he is facing you, lift his front paw, and start combing it in the opposite direction of hair growth.

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Step 21: Cut The Inside Hairs

Use just scissors to cut the excess hair from the front leg. Cut the hairs on the inside of the leg more closely to the body since that part attracts dirt.

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Step 22: Follow The Line Of The Leg

Once the inside part of the leg is finished, gently pull the leg in front of your dog holding him by the paw. Use scissors to cut the hair following the natural line of the leg.

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Step 23: Cut The Hairs Under The Armpit

Leave the leg in the same position and continue trimming the hairs under the armpit.

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Step 24: Recheck The Front Leg

Go back to the leg and sweep the hair up in order to see if you missed anything.

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Step 25: Position The Leg For An Even Cut

Place the leg in a slightly angled position compared to the grooming table and use the tip of the toes as a guide how much hair you need to cut.

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Step 26: Work On The Stomach Area

Lift the leg again and cut the hairs on the inside and continue your way onto the stomach area.

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Step 27: Recheck Everything And Cut The Excess Hair

Take your time touching up areas that need touching up.

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Step 28: Work On The Neck And Chest

Remove your dog’s leash so you can use a comb to cut the hairs on his chest and neck area. Cut only the hairs that are longer than the undercoat.

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Step 29: Don’t Forget In Between

Use scissors to cut the area between the front legs. Remember that this is just one side of your dog and that you will have to repeat all of these steps on the other side. Cutting the hair from the whole body can be time-consuming and tiresome for both you and your dog. Thus if you have a larger dog, maybe it is better to go with the clippers.


Taking your dog to a professional groomer can soon become too expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, grooming your dog by yourself at home isn’t a rocket science.

If you have time and are ready to be patient you can easily learn how to cut dog hair. Sure, the first couple of times your pup might have bald patches and a couple of bad hair days but you will get better at it.

Regular hair cutting is important for all dogs, especially the ones that have fur that grow all the time. So stop spending money and try to do it yourself and bond with your dog during the grooming process.


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