Learn to groom your own Schnauzer!
Many people ask if it is hard to learn to give their pup a schnauzer cut. No…it isn’t!! You must be comfortable and calm and not afraid to make mistakes. I do recommend you take your puppy to a confident groomer until it has learned to stand properly on the grooming table. Once your pup has learned how to behave and what is expected, it will be much easier for you to take over. Don’t be nervous! Your dog will know it and won’t make it easy for you. Any mistakes you make will grow out quickly so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Below are some tips to help you get off to a good start:
Location: do the grooming in a quiet location of the house free from distractions. Trying to groom in the middle of the family room with kids running around and playing is a recipe for frustration for you and your dog. Ideally have your dog on the top of a counter, washing machine or table and on a non-slip surface to save your back and to help your dog learn what is expected in this spot (when he is on the table). Even putting your dog on the table for daily combing will help cement the purpose of this spot in his/her mind.
Supplies: The right supplies will make giving your pup a proper schnauzer cut easy. Good grooming tools are not cheap but the investment will likely last the life of your dog and will very quickly pay for itself. Here is what you need to get started:
- good two speed clippers (we use Andis two speed clippers – they cost $150-$200, approximately) Check our Schnauzer Supplies page for the grooming supplies we recommend
- a ceramic #10 blade (short) and a #7 blade ( slightly longer). With these two blades, you will be able to get a shorter, cleaner cut for the summer and a slightly longer cut in the winter plus you will be able to blend the short into the longer hair without obvious lines.
- three scissors: a long straight scissor, long curved scissors and thinning shears. You can buy these scissors is sets and they will cover just about everything you to do. I also like a set of scissors with a shorter blade for trimming around the ears and feet but that is my personal preference
- a metal comb and a slicker brush with fine teeth. Comb’s will be much more useful for getting mats out of the coat if there are any. Combing against the grain will also help get to the root of the hair and get everything nice and smooth and mat free. Slicker brushes are great for working through small matted sections.
- shampoo: A good quality shampoo like Nature’s Specialties Berry Gentle tearless shampoo will last a long time as most of the Nature’s Specialties are concentrates that should be mixed with water. This shampoo is strong enough to get a week’s worth of dirt out of your dog while also being ‘no tears’ with a fabulous smell
- Towels: use a couple especially if your pup has a thick coat. Towel dry your pup after the bath to help the fur dry more quickly when you blow dry it.
- hair dryer: thoroughly drying the coat after a bath (BUT, only after you have combed it out and there are no mats) will make the hair lie nicely and it will be easier to get an even cut.
Timing: we have learned that timing is everything when it comes to grooming. Trying to give your puppy a haircut when it is in play mode is setting you and your pup up for failure. Before you attempt to groom, take your pup for a long walk or give it a good long play session. When your pup is tired and almost ready for a nap, that is the best time to try a grooming session.
Take your time: one of the distinct advantages of grooming your puppy at home is your ability to do a little at a time. Pups have a hard time staying in one place for long and will often get argumentative and frustrated with long sessions. When I started trying to groom our first schnauzer, I did the body, butt, belly one day, the front legs the next day, back legs the third day and the head/face last. As he and I got more comfortable, I did more in one grooming session until I eventually was able to do the full groom in one 60-90 minute session. If you start the grooming and find yourself getting frustrated, stop and try again tomorrow. You want the grooming to be a positive experience for you and your dog so relax, take your time and give you and your dog lots of breaks.
If you have purchased one of our pups, it will have had a proper schnauzer cut when it came home. Try to either get it to a groomer or to groom it yourself before you lose those lines to follow. See the Grooming Charts and video links to the left for helpful information, or check out an excellent site about grooming Schnauzers here.
MODIFY your pups cut to suit you and your lifestyle. The classic schnauzer cut is beautiful but it may require more maintenance than you are prepared to do on an ongoing basis. There are many ways to modify your dogs cut to make it more family friendly. Beards can be short or long. Fur on the legs (called furnishings) can but left long and flowing or cut short…or even shaved right off!! Find what works best for you and your dog. Ultimately, the right schnauzer cut for your dog is what allows you and your dog to enjoy life to the fullest!