Whichever salon you walk into, they will have different rules about whether to wash first or clip first and the answer is there is no right answer! There is pros and cons to both, and in our salon, we go on a dog-by-dog basis on whether to clip first or wash first. 90% of the time, I bath the dogs first, as clipping a dirty dog completely damages and blunts your blades - so if they are a regular dog I will always bath first as they are not overgrown or matted. We wet clip matted dogs with cordless clippers and for the dogs that are in between the two - the ones that aren’t matted solid but have more than 12 weeks growth - we pre-clip to speed up the drying time, however this does come at a cost of our clipper blades.
In our salon, we have a lot of cockapoo and poodle types where we leave them in a teddy style. To be able to do the teddy style we use attachment combs which need to have a well prepped and knot free coat to enable them to glide through the coa,t so pre-clipping an attachment comb style dog wouldn’t be ideal, as the attachment comb won’t go through the coat and would be a waste of time.
When clipping a dirty coat, dirt builds up in the blade and it doesn’t glide through like it does with a clean coat - if you were pre clipping all the time, you would burn through your blades very quickly. Some groomers do have a set of pre-clipping blades and set of finishing blades and they find it works well for them. Here are some pros and cons of both, so you can make a decision for your salon whether to pre-clip or not.
Pros of pre-clipping:
- Reduces amount of hair you have to dry.
- Uses less products.
- Good for dogs that hate the dryer for a long duration.
Cons of pre-clipping:
- Takes extra time to clip dog before bath so makes scheduling in a busy salon harder.
- Clipping a dirty dog blunts your blades.
- Not good for dogs that are reactive with the clippers as they have to be clipped twice.
- Leaves drag lines in the coat which can make it harder to finish the style after being prepped properly.
- Not ideal for most double coats or coats that can be saved by good prep (knotty coats where knots can be blasted away from the skin allowing for a longer blade).
Personally, I don’t feel like pre-clipping is quicker as by the time you have pre-clipped and shampooed the shorter coat, it takes the same time as bathing and drying the longer coat straight away. However, this is massively groomer-dependant and there is no wrong or right answer, so you do what you feel suits your salon and customers.