Hold Still! Tips for Trimming Your Pet's Face

Having trouble trimming your pet's face? Here are some ideas to get things started.

Grooming, Stress-Free

Scaredy Cut is the gentle clipper designed for grooming sensitive pets.
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You need to trim around your pet’s eyes, nose, and ears, but how do you get them to hold still?  Here are some tips:

Click-click-clicker train! 

If you teach your pet that the click means ‘treat’, you can pinpoint behavior that you like, such as standing very still.

Make them tired

Groom after a brisk walk or game of ball.  Exercise that relaxes your pet will help reduce its need to act like a jack-in-a-box.

Clean it up

Make sure the hair is clean and tangle-free before clipping. A gentle bath is one stress-free way to clean them up.

Think in seconds

Some pets have really short attention spans.  Start out where they can succeed and reward them for that.  Then start extending the time spent being still.

Hold it shut

If your pet is okay with it, you can reward them for letting you hold their muzzle shut for an instant.  Eventually work up to a few seconds of holding.  Never force the muzzle shut.

Get in their face

Take your scissors/clippers and wave them in front of your pet’s face.  Then reward!  Every time they see the scissors/clippers, make sure that something good is coming.

Practice elsewhere

To get your pet used to the sound and feel of cutting and trimming tools, snip some pieces of fur on another part of the body.  Lavishly reward them.

Keep it short

Keep the stress low for both you and your pet by not insisting on doing everything at once, but rather doing what you can in a short time. 

Less is more

A short daily grooming is much better than a Herculean task every couple of weeks.

Tiny Trim it

Don’t use big scissors to do small jobs; pick a small set of scissors to work around noses and eyes.

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Julie MacTire is a writer and educator devoted to the world of dogs. She also writes a blog (shibainus.ca) about her adventures with her Shiba Inu, Tierce, and is a supporter of many pet welfare organizations.

References & Resources

Grooming, Stress-Free

Scaredy Cut is the gentle clipper designed for grooming sensitive pets.
Learn More

Want More StressFree Tips?