I haven’t really mentioned this yet, but I have two
small horses dogs. Large, heavily shedding dogs.
Goliath is a Lab mix that I got from a shelter when he was a pup. He and his siblings had been dumped at the shelter overnight and the staff had no clue what he was mixed with, but it was obvious he was predominately Lab. All the pups looked like big yellow Lab mixes. The shelter thought maybe they were mixed with Mastiff.
Fast forward a few years, Hubby & I had a DNA test done on him because I really wanted to know. I had always wondered what he was. A DNA test isn’t cheap by my current standards, but a few years ago before Bee was born, it didn’t seem that spendy.
Today I’m so glad we did it! Now I know my 105 pound dog is mostly Labrador Retriever and English Setter (with traces of 5 other breeds mixed in!).
Anywho, Goliath sheds year around and it’s a lot worse in the summer!
Then there is Thor. He is a slightly retarded St. Bernard/Bullmastiff mix that we got from a breeder as a puppy. We’d been looking for a large mastiff of mastiff mix dog to adopt from shelters for months prior to getting him. The breeder had just lowered the price and he cost a lot less than a puppy from a shelter would. So, we got him.
He doesn’t shed year around, just in the spring and late summer. But when it happens, it’s bad! Balls of fur fall off of his body! The spring and summer are horrible in my house! Dog fur everywhere.
I hate it. Absolutely hate having fur all over my house. It’s so gross! And worse now that I have a baby crawling everywhere!
That’s why I have a trick. A trick that not nearly enough people do and way too many people think I’m crazy for doing! Are you ready? Are you sure? Okay….
I shave them!
Yep. Pull out the ol’ clippers and give them a nice, close haircut! I do it most of the year. And I’ll tell you what… it has changed my life! And I like to think they prefer their coat this way, too. I mean, walking around with a big, heavy coat on in 90+ degree weather doesn’t sound like fun to me!
The first time I told someone outside my family that I had cut Goliath’s fur, he looked at me like I was nuts.
“He’s a Lab, isn’t he?”
“A Lab mix…”
“My dog’s a Lab mix, too, but I’m not going to shave her! You don’t shave Labs!”
Well, that’s your loss, Buddy. Have fun with all the fur your Lab/Border Collie drops. I’ll be enjoying life in a much cleaner home than I did last summer!
I think everyone with a dog that sheds and doesn’t already have a short coat should do it. There are a few things I have learned over the years, though, so I’m going to share them with you
Note: I’m not a pro, so… don’t take what I have to say too seriously!
- Bathe your dog first!
It might sound strange, but you have to do it or else you risk ruining your clippers. The dirt in the fur will slowly dull and destroy your blade. The best thing you can do is bathe them before shaving. Trust me.
- Bathe your dog again when you’re done
Once I’m done cutting their fur, it’s back into the tub to rinse all the loose fur off of them. I don’t use soap because I don’t want to dry out their skin. Speaking of bathing them, you definitely need one of these in your house. I hadn’t owned one until about 3 years ago. I’ll never go without now! Greatest tool for bathing dogs!
- Set aside enough time.
I can’t tell you how much time, it’s going to depend on the size of your dog and his fur. Goliath weighs about 25 pounds less than Thor, but it takes me longer to cut his hair because it’s just… different. Thor has coarse fur while Goliath’s is really soft. It’s just a lot easier to cut Thor’s hair, therefore it goes faster.
- Unless you have experience grooming dogs, it’s not going to look perfect!
This haircut has nothing to do with looks. You aren’t trying to give your dog an awesome cut. You’re trying to keep your house clean! Even though I’ve been doing this for a few years, I still mess up and make mistakes. At least one of my dogs looks funny after they get a haircut!
- Get a decent pair of clippers.
They aren’t cheap, but you really are better off. The first couple times I cut Goliath’s fur I used my husband’s clippers! And it was a real pain. It took a lot longer than it should have and I was constantly having issues with the clippers. They just weren’t made to handle the dog fur. Then I bought the cheapest pair of dog clippers I could find at Wal-Mart. These lasted me about two years. Between the poor quality & my inexperience and mistakes, I had to replace them last summer. I HIGHLY recommend these clippers by Wahl. They are amazing! They glide through the fur so smoothly. Plus they are cordless! Really, really handy! Oh, and they cost less now than they did why I bought them.
- Take breaks!
You are going to be covered in dog fur after the first 3 minutes. Your dog isn’t going to want to cooperate the first few times. It’s a new experience for both of you, so take all the breaks you guys need! I used to take breaks every 10 minutes! Now I usually only take a break after we reach the halfway point. Before Bee was born, I always drank while I did it. Every 10 minutes I’d take a break to drink.
- You’re gonna want a bath, too.
Scratch that… shower! You will definitely be covered in all that itchy fur and you’ll need to shower once you are done!
- Make sure you are comfortable with your location.
There’s nothing worse than starting the process of removing all that fur in a bad spot. If you are outside, make sure you are in the shade and that it isn’t windy out. Spending the next hour or two in the sun, getting sweaty, covered in dog fur is not fun at all! And if it’s windy, all that fur is going to go flying and it’s going to be a lot harder to clean it up once you are done. Two houses ago, I would shave Goliath in our kitchen. In our last house I shaved the dogs in our garage. Now that we finally have a covered patio, I shave them in the backyard on nice, wind free days.
- Don’t take it too seriously!
Finally, just enjoy yourself! If you start to get frustrated your dog is going to pick up on it and act differently, too. Just stay happy and have fun. If you start getting annoyed or upset, just remember the reward you are working towards: An almost fur free home!
It probably seems really inconvenient. Even though it’s time consuming, dirty and usually kind of frustrating, I still do it year after year. I love having almost no dog hair in my house (it’s still around, but nothing like before!). Give it a try, seriously! You will not regret it!
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