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When I pick up my Havanese pup (~10 weeks old), I want to maintain a puppy cut for its life. How often do you have to go to the groomer to keep a puppy cut look and reasonable length for nails?

I have no experience cutting dog hair, but is this harder than it looks? Are there things that the dog groomer does that I wouldn't be able to do properly or at all from home as an amateur?

How often should nails, anal glands, and dew claws be done typically? My pup has dew claws which I've heard is harder to cut down (I've heard people use dremel tools?)

I've read that getting professional clippers ($200ish) is a good start. I see some videos on YouTube that I can watch. I figure I can go to the groomer a few times until it's about 1 year old or so and then try eventually. I'm also open to doing my own trims throughout the year and then maybe do like 2 professional groomer ones a year as well to keep costs reasonable.
 

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I've kept Perry in a puppy cut his whole life - and how long you go in between grooming really depends on what length you want to keep it, how short you stop, etc, but I'd say probably 4-6 weeks is a good ball park range. When I do it myself, I generally do it again when combing him out starts to get difficult/ more knots are starting to appear :).

As for doing it at home, it takes some practice, but it's not that hard (just don't be too hard on yourself!) The hardest part I find is doing column legs if you're trying to keep that look - as that usually requires scissors and you can't just rely on a guard size on the clippers :). For the body it's about picking the guard length you like and using that. I have a decent set of clippers, and then a small one for doing his paw pads and tummy. A good set of scissors is useful too because you'll use them for things like the column legs and around the face. I also found that having a grooming table (we have the portable kind that has a rotating base, that you can just set on top of your table) really helps me. I usually take it outside and do it to minimize the amount of hair clean up.

As for nails, a good dremel is your best bet to do them at home - for that I try to do at least once a week just to keep them at a good length, though will admit that I've made more than 1 grooming appointment because she does nails so much better than I do!

Edited to add: for anal glands, that seems to vary depending on the dog... I have never had the groomer (or vet) tell me they had to do it, and I never have done it myself (or seen the need) - and I've gone up to almost a year in between groomer visits.
 

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When I pick up my Havanese pup (~10 weeks old), I want to maintain a puppy cut for its life. How often do you have to go to the groomer to keep a puppy cut look and reasonable length for nails?

I have no experience cutting dog hair, but is this harder than it looks? Are there things that the dog groomer does that I wouldn't be able to do properly or at all from home as an amateur?
Anyone can cut a dog's hair, but it takes a lot (years) of experience and practice to cut a dog's hair well. From my personal experience, I gave up personally grooming Ricky during his "blowing coat" stage (approximately 9 months to 18 months age). I had a professional groomer put him in a puppy cut at about 1 y.o. and I vowed I would never do the puppy cut again!!! Yes, it is more difficult than the youtube videos show. Today, Ricky has a beautiful, professionally maintained full natural coat. He and I get constant compliments how beautiful his coat is. Last year at an HCSC meetup with about 25-30 Havanese present (they were in a secure area with no leashes on and the were EVERYWHERE at once playing and exploring, they are really fast, and therefore impossible to get an accurate "nose" count) including AKC champions and grand champions as well as just plain house pets. A prospective Havanese owner, never met her before, approached me and said she really knew nothing about the Havanese standard but she said Ricky was in her opinion the best looking dog in the group. She said she just couldn't keep her eyes off of him. She said she wanted a Havanese puppy just like Ricky. The purpose of this "brag" is to show that there are pros and cons to professional grooming: Pro - professional grooming will likely produce a beautiful coat - long or short, Con - I spend over $1000 per year on a extremely competent professional groomer. We have had several HF members post recently that they are letting their puppy cut grow out into a natural coat and find that is no more difficult to maintain than a puppy cut. Ricky's groomer agrees with those members.

I can tell you this, that we here on HF will like your Havapuppy whether he is is in a puppy cut or natural coat and whether you do it yourself or have a professional groomer. It's all good.

How often should nails, anal glands, and dew claws be done typically? My pup has dew claws which I've heard is harder to cut down (I've heard people use dremel tools?)
It varies dramatically from Havanese to Havanese. They are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you are going to get!

I'm also open to doing my own trims throughout the year and then maybe do like 2 professional groomer ones a year as well to keep costs reasonable.
I had this conversation with Ricky's groomer a couple of weeks ago. She would NOT take you on as a client. She said it takes her 10 times as long to correct amateur mistakes than to just do the job right from the beginning. You can't get a good professional look by doing it right once or twice a year. The best thing to correct mistakes is shave them down into a puppy cut again and start from scratch and it usually takes at least 6 months of competent grooming to get a good looking Havanese - long or short cut. She says she has about 100 clients right now (she works 7 days a week when necessary) and three of them are Havanese. They are her favorite breed, their temperament is so easy to work on compared to other breeds.
 

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My suggestion would be to start with scissors, trimmers, and a comb, and start handling and combing every day, rotating between nails, teeth, checking ears, trimming paw pads. 5 minutes a day, but increasing the time on some days based on the task. As he gets to be an older puppy and he is naturally adapting to longer grooming sessions, start trimming here and there with scissors and increase the time you spend working on it. One of the biggest challenges with learning to groom at home is it takes time - professional groomers get so much practice and are much faster! When he reaches the blowing coat stage he’ll be well socialized to handling and groomer for whatever coat length or amount of home or professional grooming you want.

If you plan to go to the groomer twice a year I don’t know if you’ll really need clippers. It really depends on your preference for length, if you want him very short, and how fast his coat grows, but you won’t know until he’s an adult. If you use electric trimmers on his feet in the meantime, he’ll be comfortable with clippers later if you decide he’s growing too long and want to invest them. Scissors are better for trimming the face and shaping him up between professional grooms, imo. My plan was the same as yours and I already owned clippers but have never used them on his whole body (I kept him short at first but I’ve been keeping him long the last two years or so).

if you plan to groom at home, imo, it doesn’t really reduce maintenance during the first year compared to keeping a puppy in a long coat. But to me “maintenance” kind of implies that grooming a Havanese is a lot more work than it really is. It can definitely reduce cost, aside from the investment in supplies. I really believe regardless of future coat length or grooming preferences everyone would benefit from a couple of minutes a day grooming a puppy, because it socializes them to handling in preparation for blowing coat, and it’s so good for training and relationship building. It sounds like a huge commitment but I learned it’s surprisingly easy to work into mealtime, after walks, or at other creative times, and it truly makes a difference to spend a couple of minutes a day vs. longer periods of time less often. If an owner can commit to this time until their puppy blows coat, it makes it easy to learn, and it gives the owner a lot of freedom and flexibility in the long run. After blowing coat, grooming just gets easier and easier, it’s all downhill from there.
 

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Anyone can cut a dog's hair, but it takes a lot (years) of experience and practice to cut a dog's hair well. From my personal experience, I gave up personally grooming Ricky during his "blowing coat" stage (approximately 9 months to 18 months age). I had a professional groomer put him in a puppy cut at about 1 y.o. and I vowed I would never do the puppy cut again!!! Yes, it is more difficult than the youtube videos show. Today, Ricky has a beautiful, professionally maintained full natural coat. ....

I had this conversation with Ricky's groomer a couple of weeks ago. She would NOT take you on as a client. She said it takes her 10 times as long to correct amateur mistakes than to just do the job right from the beginning. You can't get a good professional look by doing it right once or twice a year. The best thing to correct mistakes is shave them down into a puppy cut again and start from scratch and it usually takes at least 6 months of competent grooming to get a good looking Havanese - long or short cut. She says she has about 100 clients right now (she works 7 days a week when necessary) and three of them are Havanese. They are her favorite breed, their temperament is so easy to work on compared to other breeds.
There is definitely a difference between doing a puppy cut (where the body is using the guide length you want and doing it and the hard parts are legs and face) and trying to maintain a longer cut yourself. I wouldn't let this description deter you from trying to do a puppy cut yourself. Especially since the original poster said they want to keep the pup in a puppy cut anyway.

As for a groomer who won't take you on if you sometimes do it yourself - personally, not sure I'd want a groomer like that anyway :) (to each their own). Perry's groomer is fine with doing him every 6 weeks or every 6 months or once a year (with me doing him in between the later two) as needed. Since he's in a puppy cut I very much doubt it takes that much to "fix" my mistakes (and I definitely have them, especially the legs!), especially since he's fairly grown out by the time I go to her, so she's just shaping him back up again, the same way she would if she were the one to do the previous cut. Anyway, just my opinion.
 

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I think with regard to the benefit of professional grooming along with home grooming, it’s really about perspective. I had the benefit of cutting hair professionally, but it was before I had kids, and I’ve learned over the years that some people are naturally quite good at cutting hair. I think it has to do with the way people see shape, for lack of a better description. I can just see hair color from an artistic perspective, it’s very intuitive for me, similar to painting, and I picked up color formulation very quickly. Cutting hair was a lot harder for me, it’s more like sculpting with variables in texture and it took longer for me to learn in school. I had a friend in college that never went to hair school but she cut her boyfriend’s hair and many friends’ hair. She was good! That’s an oversimplified analogy, because even in painting or sculpting people see differently, but I do think some people “just get it.” And really, anyone can learn, it does take practice. It doesn’t mean I don’t value the experience and skill of a professional groomer, but I don’t think it’s a choice of one or the other. I’ve never had a groomer who didn’t appreciate the grooming we do. When I’ve made mistakes and asked for advice or pointed them out, they’ve always seemed to enjoy talking about it with me.

i think someone grooming at home wanting a long puppy cut would definitely benefit from occasional professional grooming. It provides a perimeter line to follow. I’m not sure what would be difficult to fix, but maybe because it would mean trimming shorter and the client would be unhappy? It could be because it takes longer, which legitimately messes with a groomer’s system when they are layering clients. It could be necessary to cut them short instead if it meant they couldn’t finish everyone in time that day. Shaving between the eyes definitely takes a long time to fix! I do think it’s important for people grooming themselves to manage expectations. It takes time to learn, everyone makes mistakes, and they aren’t as noticeable to other people. Be prepared to go a little shorter to fix a mistake, know it will grow, it’s a learning experience. For someone who is particular (I am about some things) it may be worth more frequent pro grooming. But it also takes time to find a good groomer.
 

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As for a groomer who won't take you on if you sometimes do it yourself - personally, not sure I'd want a groomer like that anyway :) (to each their own). Perry's groomer is fine with doing him every 6 weeks or every 6 months or once a year (with me doing him in between the later two) as needed. Since he's in a puppy cut I very much doubt it takes that much to "fix" my mistakes (and I definitely have them, especially the legs!), especially since he's fairly grown out by the time I go to her, so she's just shaping him back up again, the same way she would if she were the one to do the previous cut. Anyway, just my opinion.
I agree with that. It shouldn’t take more than a single visit to fix a grown out puppy cut. My groomer has helped me a tremendous amount, learning to do puppy cuts on Kodi, and has (a number of times!!! :ROFLMAO: ) fixed his legs which are, by FAR the hardest for me. It is true that it takes a while to learn to do it well, especially if you only have one dog to practice on. The GOOD news is that you can work on it, a bit at a time, whenever you like, improving things, taking your time, assessing how things look. And if you get a bad cut? Well, just read through the forum and see how many people get those from “professionals”! If you do it yourself, at least you have no one else to blame! LOL! Here is Kodi in his very first puppy cut that I did on him. I think he looks quite nice, especially considering that it was my first time.
Dog Carnivore Dog breed Companion dog Toy dog


I got better with practice. Here is Kodi after I got better at it.
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Liver Companion dog


The BIGGEST difference between my cuts and the groomer at this point is that she can do in 2 hours, what takes me 6 hours or more. That makes a difference to me, and I have a bad shoulder. So at the moment, she is cutting my two who are in puppy cuts.

As to Havanese in long coats, no one has ever touched my dogs in show coat but me. I doubt a professional groomer could turn them out any better than I do.

Kodi, a Nationally top-ranked Rally/Obedience dog who competed his entire career in a show coat:
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Liver Grey


Panda, a AKC conformation Champion, as well as titled in sports, and having had pups before this photo was taken. (show photo below this, but I prepared her for that show too)
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Plant Fawn


Smile Dog Plant Carnivore Tie


And Ducky, who at 10 months, has a lot of (hair) growing to do, but his coat is in perfect shape, and it has never been touched by anyone but me.
Dog Picture frame Dog breed Carnivore Liver



You CAN learn to do this yourself... It's a matter of "wanting to". (and having the time, because it IS time intensive. I was told when I was a kid with horses that I would need to have someone "professionally" braid my horses for shows, because no "mere amateur" could possibly do a good enough job. Well, I learned how to braid my own horses too, (and do every other bit of grooming) thankyouverymuch! ;)

...And little Havanese feel like a piece of cake time and work-wise after grooming horses for shows! ;)
 

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You CAN learn to do this yourself... It's a matter of "wanting to". (and having the time, because it IS time intensive. I was told when I was a kid with horses that I would need to have someone "professionally" braid my horses for shows, because no "mere amateur" could possibly do a good enough job. Well, I learned how to braid my own horses too, (and do every other bit of grooming) thankyouverymuch! ;)

...And little Havanese feel like a piece of cake time and work-wise after grooming horses for shows! ;)
We never showed much beyond 4H, so my sisters always did their own braiding... I was showing an Arabian, so I got away with doing more of a weave instead of braiding :).
(Picture is from google, not when I did mine, so better than I did as a teen :) )

Horse Working animal Bit Horse supplies Grey
 

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We never showed much beyond 4H, so my sisters always did their own braiding... I was showing an Arabian, so I got away with doing more of a weave instead of braiding :).
(Picture is from google, not when I did mine, so better than I did as a teen :) )

View attachment 177124
I've always shown Arabs and half arabs as well as TB's. My current, last, beloved, retired horse is a half Arab! And although I showed him at the Arab shows too, he showed in the sport horse divisions, so I always pulled his mane and showed in Hunter or Dressage style braids. Here we are in both of our younger days!!!
Footwear Horse English pleasure Equestrian helmet Helmet
 

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Time is definitely a consideration! I used to switch off, trimming legs one day, then face another day, etc. Since I generally only trim a little to clean up and shape, I’m never taking off so much length that it was noticeable if I trimmed his face one day and did his body a few days later. This will be changing shortly, I’m working up my nerve to do a big haircut! Normally for an extreme change I would take him to the groomer and then maintain it, but it’s really hard to find groomers in my area right now. Everyone with good recommendations is booked months out or not accepting new clients.
 

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Deleting duplicate… not sure how it posted…
 

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Time is definitely a consideration! I used to switch off, trimming legs one day, then face another day, etc. Since I generally only trim a little to clean up and shape, I’m never taking off so much length that it was noticeable if I trimmed his face one day and did his body a few days later. This will be changing shortly, I’m working up my nerve to do a big haircut! Normally for an extreme change I would take him to the groomer and then maintain it, but it’s really hard to find groomers in my area right now. Everyone with good recommendations is booked months out or not accepting new clients.
When I was doing Kodi myself, I found that I was able to to keep one BIG hair cut looking good for a LONG time by trimming up his face and legs a couple of times in bewteen.
 

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Karen, do you use clippers to do your very professional-looking puppy cuts? Or scissors? If clippers, which kind do you use and what length blade? I’m thinking of keeping Arlo in a puppy cut at least for now, it’s hot here in Hong Kong!
 

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Karen, do you use clippers to do your very professional-looking puppy cuts? Or scissors? If clippers, which kind do you use and what length blade? I’m thinking of keeping Arlo in a puppy cut at least for now, it’s hot here in Hong Kong!

I CAN clip my own dogs, and these are the clippers I use, though I see they re not currently in stock on Amazon I'm sure you can find something similar.


These are the guides I use:


And I use the next to the longest guide for the body, and one guide down from that for the legs, then finish off with thinning shears. I also finish the head with thinning shears. (and do the face and ears COMPLETELY with shears) But honestly, it takes me about 4 hours to do what my groomer to do in 1 1/2, and I am exhausted and sweating when I'm done. And especially since I now have two in puppy cuts, I take the two of them to a wonderful friend who does them in her home. They are the only dogs in her grooming space when she does them, and she starts on them as soon as I arrive, and I pick them up as soon as they are done. So they re not waiting around in crates there or with other strange dogs in a stressful situation. In the beginning, I stayed with them, to make sure they were comfortable with the situation, but she has been doing them for so long now, I don't worry about them, and can go and do some errands during the 3 hours or so it takes her to get the two of them done!
 

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I CAN clip my own dogs, and these are the clippers I use, though I see they re not currently in stock on Amazon I'm sure you can find something similar.


These are the guides I use:


And I use the next to the longest guide for the body, and one guide down from that for the legs, then finish off with thinning shears. I also finish the head with thinning shears. (and do the face and ears COMPLETELY with shears) But honestly, it takes me about 4 hours to do what my groomer to do in 1 1/2, and I am exhausted and sweating when I'm done. And especially since I now have two in puppy cuts, I take the two of them to a wonderful friend who does them in her home. They are the only dogs in her grooming space when she does them, and she starts on them as soon as I arrive, and I pick them up as soon as they are done. So they re not waiting around in crates there or with other strange dogs in a stressful situation. In the beginning, I stayed with them, to make sure they were comfortable with the situation, but she has been doing them for so long now, I don't worry about them, and can go and do some errands during the 3 hours or so it takes her to get the two of them done!
Thanks so much, Karen, that is extremely helpful. Tell your friend if ever she moves to Hong Kong could she please contact me!!!! Sadly, I really don’t think I’d find anyone comparable here.
 

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Thanks so much, Karen, that is extremely helpful. Tell your friend if ever she moves to Hong Kong could she please contact me!!!! Sadly, I really don’t think I’d find anyone comparable here.
When we were living in Uganda I would do Perry myself - and then twice a year when we were back in the US I'd have his groomer even him out and fix all of my mistakes :). You will get better with time- and the good thing is that it grows out pretty quickly so even any mistakes will have a second chance to fix them :).
 

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I’ve watched some good and some awful YouTube videos, and learned a lot from this site, of course, and in the end decided that if I do keep Arlo in a shorter cut I’ll do it with shears and thinners/blenders rather than clippers; he’s already really good at managing the mini clippers I use on his paws, and stands still for long enough to do his face with thinners. The body hair isn’t long enough to worry about yet, but I’m practicing on Cuba because I can’t possibly make more of a dog’s dinner of her than the vets at the hospital here did, with shaving her legs for drips, her tummy for scans, and various other bits for various reasons. I don‘t mind in the least because they saved her life - she had very nasty pancreatitis - and they took the best possible care of her. But anyway, tidying her up a bit is a good way to start, and I could always pretend it wasn’t me if I mess up - except I shan’t because I’m too honest!!! And I like the vets too much.
 

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I’ve watched some good and some awful YouTube videos, and learned a lot from this site, of course, and in the end decided that if I do keep Arlo in a shorter cut I’ll do it with shears and thinners/blenders rather than clippers; he’s already really good at managing the mini clippers I use on his paws, and stands still for long enough to do his face with thinners. The body hair isn’t long enough to worry about yet, but I’m practicing on Cuba because I can’t possibly make more of a dog’s dinner of her than the vets at the hospital here did, with shaving her legs for drips, her tummy for scans, and various other bits for various reasons. I don‘t mind in the least because they saved her life - she had very nasty pancreatitis - and they took the best possible care of her. But anyway, tidying her up a bit is a good way to start, and I could always pretend it wasn’t me if I mess up - except I shan’t because I’m too honest!!! And I like the vets too much.
I used to use clippers on my dogs, however I now only use shears. I find that once you get them into the cut you like, keeping them trimmed up is quick and easy with scissors and does not take much time at all. It is when they get too overgrown that it becomes time consuming. Mia is a work in progress. She is back into a short puppy cut due to the horrendous tick problem we are having this spring. Much easier to check for ticks on the shorter hair In my experience.
 

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while I’ve gotten to the point that I like using clippers better, I also started with just shears, and did a nice job on both Pixel and Kodi that way! It just takes a LOT longer! He is Pix in a shorter, but scissored puppy cut.
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Liver Companion dog


And Kodi in a longer scissored cut.
Dog Carnivore Dog breed Companion dog Toy dog
 
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