Clean, sharp blades? Check
A trustee lubricating/ oiling spray? Check
A clean dog? Check
These are things you will want to ensure you have acquired before trying to achieve the perfect clip. Don't get me wrong; I have definitely clipped a dirty dog in my day, but ONLY as a rough clip off before bathing. Rough clip offs are a good way to save time in your salon, I usually do this when a dog comes in matted or, for example, a dog is getting a 7f all over. However, after I do this, I bath them in whichever way is required for that particular dog, dry them and then redo my clipping process all over again. This finishes them off with a lovely smooth and tidy clip; if I had have left the dog the way I clipped it prior to bathing and drying him, his coat would have probably been uneven, there might have been straggly hairs, overall it just would not have looked great.
Clip, fluff, repeat
Another thing to consider when achieving the perfect clip is that you will have to go over it more than once, especially when using comb attachments. When using comb attachments to clip a dog, I always like to go over the dog once and then use either my dryer or a slicker to fluff up the coat and go over it again, this ensures the coat will be well balanced and clipped to perfection!
Sharper blades, cleaner cut
Using clean and sharp blades will leave a stunning finish on the dog you are clipping. While grooming I LOVE the Groom Professional 4 in 1 Spray, it does exactly what it says on the tin and is a quick way to lubricate and cool your blades whilst working. Again, to achieve a show stopping finish on your dog, I find it is best to use long and light strokes down the coat, What I mean by this is, start at your dog's withers/ just behind the neck and run your clippers down the whole length of the rest of their body, letting the clippers do the work to avoid any harsh lines. From here you will want to use your clippers to blend into the rest of the body, following the direction of growth in the coat. If you are using a blade, again, you’ll want to go over it at least one more time.
Play with your length
I remember when I started my grooming journey I found using blades really daunting; I only ever wanted to use comb attachments, usually a comb 4, it was like a safety blanket I have no idea why. But as you can imagine this is something I quickly had to get over. Whilst training to groom, I did a lot of shih Tzu’s that got a comb 4 teddy cut. I was happy doing this, I was confident doing this then BOOM! I open up my own salon and suddenly people were asking me to take their beloved shih tzu's as short as possible. I hated shaving them, I just always thought they looked like they had little toothpick legs on a somewhat barrel looking body. Until one day I came across a great tip. When possible, if you are taking the body short (eg. 7f) but also have to take the legs short, use a different blade length on the legs. So in this instance I would maybe go for a 7f on the body and a 5f on the legs. I find this just makes the legs look less scrawny and gives the dog a much nicer overall loo.
Overall, getting the perfect clip is pretty essential when you're a dog groomer. Our clients are walking advertisements for us at the end of the day so we are always striving for perfection. Hopefully this blog helps you to create an even better finish the next time you are taking your clippers to a dog!