Why I’m Cutting My Dog’s Hair
I recently gave myself a crash course in goldendoodle grooming. I had nothing against the groomer we were using. It was purely a money saving move. We were spending more on dog haircuts than we were for the five humans living in our house to get their hair cut. You see, I’m a dog lover. I’ve had dogs most of my life. Mutts, purebreds, big dogs, little dogs… I love having them around. I’ve fed them, trained them, taken them to the vet as needed, and cleaned up after them a lot. The one thing I had never done however was groom them. Well, I’ve bathed and
brushed them, but I never owned a dog that required a haircut. That is, until my family welcomed our goldendoodle, Daisy, into our house a few years ago. I didn’t realize that we’d be paying for grooming expenses every other month.
Before we bought Daisy, we did a lot of research on this breed that some people consider a glorified mutt (hey, I didn’t say it). As a mix between a golden retriever and a standard poodle, they’ve got intelligence and a friendly demeanor going for them. They’ve also got one heck of a coat of hair. No one told us that the cute little puffball puppy would turn into a mop if her hair was allowed to grow wild. I must have glossed over that fact when I was doing research on the breed, but it became apparent early on that she would require some clipping if we didn’t want her to become a matted mess. It turns out that goldendoodle grooming costs about seventy dollars around these parts. After making several of these payments every eight to ten weeks, I finally started to think that it might be a good idea to learn how to cut dog hair myself. About a month ago, I dug out the grooming appointment card from my wallet and cancelled Daisy’s grooming appointment. I started looking for articles and videos about grooming a goldendoodle and I spent hours reading pet clipper reviews. You have to schedule these grooming appointments weeks in advance, so I was pretty much committed to following through after the cancellation.
How to Groom a Goldendoodle
I read many articles and forum posts about grooming techniques, but I’m very much a visual learner when it comes to things like how to groom a dog. A month ago I had no idea how to groom a dog with clippers. I’m certainly not an expert at it now, but I feel confident enough to give my dog a haircut and keep the seventy bucks for other things. I followed the tips given in the video below and on the dvd that came with my clippers. This is the best series of videos about goldendoodle grooming that I came across as I scoured the internet. The lady doing the grooming made a series of these (they’ll appear as related videos after the video ends. Just look for “Grooming Sully” in the videos.) I think she does a great job of explaining how to groom a goldendoodle.
What are the Best Dog Clippers?
Once I had given up our scheduled grooming time, I started to feel some pressure. I realized that I needed to buy some pet clippers, but I had no idea where to begin. I started with the idea that I’d look for something inexpensive (really not the best strategy in this case). I checked Craigslist, but I was unimpressed with the couple of listings that I found. To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the risk of buying used clippers anyway. I prefer to have the option to return something if it doesn’t do what I need it to do. As it turned out, that was a pretty good policy to have.
Still working with the idea that I’d get some inexpensive clippers with good reviews, I headed over to Amazon. I’ll tell you right now that this is a bad idea if you have a dog with a heavy or coarse coat like most goldendoodles. I don’t know why I went in with a cheap mindset. The dog groomer was costing us $420 per year! I could have easily bought the most expensive professional clippers available and come out ahead after a year of haircuts. Anyway, I went for a set of Wahl clippers that cost about $50. They claimed to be in their “pro series”, so I thought they were professional grade. They really weren’t. They had gotten good reviews, but apparently the people using them were doing some light duty work. After the clippers arrived, my daughter and I headed out to the back yard with Daisy and the clippers. They didn’t cut through Daisy’s hair at all. Even though I had followed the directions about washing, drying, and combing our dog, the cheap clippers just could not clip through the hair. We gave up after about 30 frustrating minutes. I packed up the clippers and returned them to Amazon. By the way, they were very good about the return. I just clicked a few buttons and received an instant refund. They even arrange for package pickup at their cost. I was disappointed with the clippers, but impressed with the customer service.
Next Up, The Andis AGC 2
So, it was back to the drawing board, and I felt like I could see Daisy’s hair growing by the day. She has sort of a mix
between curly and wavy hair and when I can see noticeable curls, I start to worry that matting can’t be far off. I dug back into my research without such a cheap mindset. It seemed that “real” professional groomers leaned toward clippers made either by Oster or Andis. I didn’t have any bias as I started this adventure, but many people mentioned that getting quiet pet clippers was a good idea. Andis seemed to be the clear winner in that category (with most other things being equal) so I ended up purchasing some Andis professional clippers. Specifically, I bought the Andis AGC 2-Speed Pet Clipper. (That link will show you product specifics and reviews I found on Amazon.) This Andis clipper set came with a number 10 blade (which you would use to do a VERY short cut down to the skin). I bought some clipper combs to go along with them that allow you to adjust how long you leave the hair because I didn’t want Daisy to end up looking like a naked mole rat. The clipper combs were actually suggested by Amazon when I was checking out, otherwise I might not have thought of buying them.
The clippers arrived in a few days and we headed back outside to try clipping Daisy again. The results this time were MUCH better. The Andis clipper blades went through Daisy’s fur like a hot knife through butter! As a bonus, the clippers really were VERY quiet. Much quieter than the cheap clippers I had purchased and then returned. I didn’t know what comb to start with, so there was a little bit of trial and error until I got things figured out. I finally decided that I liked the number 7 comb. It took the hair down below the point of curling but didn’t leave her looking “shaved”. Now that I’ve decided that I really like these Andis clippers, I’m going to purchase an actual number 7 blade that will fit onto the clippers. That, along with the number 10 blade that came with the clippers, should take care of any clipping needs we’ll have. Andis ceramic blades also received very good reviews, and I feel comfortable purchasing them now that I’ve seen the Andis AGC2 clippers in action. So, I guess I can sum this all up by saying that I am very happy with my Andis 2 speed dog clippers. They met the challenge of goldendoodle hair and performed better than I expected. They were also so quiet that Daisy never even flinched when I brought them close to her ears. I definitely give these dog clippers two thumbs up! If you are interested in reading more about them, CLICK HERE.
A note on shipping
This might vary depending on where you live, but I chose the free shipping when I was checking out. The estimated delivery time was 5 – 8 days, but I figured I could live with that if it saved me shipping costs. The actual free delivery time was actually only 3 days. Definitely a pleasant surprise. If you aren’t in a major hurry, I’d recommend trying the free shipping option if you buy your clippers from Amazon like I did.
Related: Information and tips about grooming your dog from Web MD.