How to Use Thinning Shears on Dogs

Thinning shears are used to thin and shape the coat and trim long hair in sensitive areas. Thinning shears are blunt tipped, toothed scissors with slightly curved blades. This makes them ideal for trimming hair around the anus, the ears and muzzle. Thinning shears are used to blend clipped hair into scissored hair and clipped hair into unclipped hair. Thinning shears can also help the coat lay flat along the back and sides of the dog and can generally help keep your dog tidy between clippings. Thinning shears come in many styles. The finer the teeth on the shears, the softer and fuzzier the dog's coat will look. Ask a grooming professional which type of thinning shear is appropriate for your dog's coat.

Lay everything you will need to groom your dog on a separate table within easy reach.

Stand your clean, brushed dog on a level non-slip surface. You may groom your dog on a table or counter that brings your dog's back level with your chest.

Use a slip leash tied to something above your dog's head to steady him while grooming. The leash should be taut but not tight. Your dog should be standing with his weight evenly distributed on all four paws.

Run the fine toothed comb through your dog's coat gently separating the hairs you want to remove from the rest of the coat.

Angle the thinning shears so the base of the shears are closer to your dog's body and the tips are pointed slightly away.

Cut the hair to the desired length. Work from the paws up and from front to back for the best results. Let the shears cut the hairs rather than trapping the hairs between the blades and pulling them out.

Take a step back from your dog and view his entire body after several cuts to make sure you're getting the results you want.


  • Keep the fine toothed comb between your dog's body and the shears to prevent accidents.


  • For his safety, your dog needs to stand quietly while being groomed. De-sensitize him if necessary to clippers and scissors.

    Do not use thinning shears to remove mats or burrs from your dog's coat.