Can I Groom My Cocker Spaniel Myself?

A pile of freshly cut hair from a cocker spaniel

This first paragraph is going to be about me. I can’t speak for the other cocker’s out there, but I loathe a hair cut. Can somebody please explain to me why those clipper things make a nonstop growling noise? Should I fight back? Does showing them my teeth work? Why are they so mad?

These are questions I need answered.

To answer your question though:

Yes. You can absolutely groom your cocker spaniel yourself. Learning this skill will not only save you money, but pose as bonding time between you and your pup.

I am not a barber. I don’t pretend to be. Nor do I pretend to enjoy getting my hair cut. I actually end up showing my teeth at least four times, regardless of any preconceived pep talk given to me prior to the clipper initiation. I say all this to be completely honest and up front with you humans before you take the time to read my thoughts on the matter.

Proceed at your own risk.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

How Do I Groom My Cocker Spaniel?


Step 1

Get a cocker spaniel.

Step 2

Tell your cocker spaniel that everything is going to be okay, and that cutting his hair will not have a Sampson vs. Delilah type of effect.

Step 3

Brush your cocker spaniel thoroughly. Doing this beforehand will ensure all the tangles and mats are removed for a pull-free trim.

Step 4

Get the dog clippers out and plug them into the outlet. These things simply won’t work otherwise.

Step 5

Turn that sucker on and proceed with extreme caution.

Kidding. You can proceed per usual. Just continue to profess your undying love and admiration to your cocker spaniel as you gap and scalp his beautiful mane.

Kidding again.

I have faith in you, you’ll be fine.

Step 6

Game time. Start wacking at the cocker hair, humans.

Pro tip: be sure to cut along with the hair growth and not against it. In other words, wield the clippers in the same direction as you did when you brushed your cocker spaniel.

Be relatively methodical here. Pretend you’re mowing your grass. You wouldn’t start on one side of the house, mow a few lines and then diagonally dart to the other side of the yard. So don’t do this in your dogs hair when you’re cutting it.

My mom starts right down the center of my back and then chooses a side to continue down from there. Once she’s finished torturing my hair and chopping it off on one side, she comes back to the center and starts down the other side.

I would suggest attaching one of the guards to the clippers to gauge length first. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this process of home grooming, it’s that you absolutely cannot tape the hair back on if you go too short from the jump.

Start with a 2″ guard and then work your way down if you want it shorter.

Step 7

When you’re finished with the cutting process, brush your dog again. This would be the time to give him a bath if he’s due for one.

Step 8

Sweep up the pile of hair.

Step 9

Take your cocker outside to poop. I don’t know about you, but this type of stress gives me a case of the poops.

And boom.

Just like that, you’re done with the cocker grooming.

You’re welcome.

How Often Should I Groom My Cocker Spaniel?

This is completely up to you.


There’s no rule book when it comes to the legal length of a cocker spaniels leg hair.

My mom prefers that my hair stay relatively short. Think well groomed golden retriever for reference.

She uses a 2″ guard all over my body and trims me up roughly once every two to three months depending on how lazy she’s feeling.

I know some of my cocker friends from the dog park get one trim once a year right before summer time hits. Some get a cut every month, while others are more random with their grooming than a lottery winner pick.

You get to make the grooming rules, procedures, processes, and guidelines here.

How fast does your dogs hair grow and how short do you like it?

Figure those two things out and you’ll have scheduled hair cuts down to a literal science.

Tips and Tricks to Groom Your Cocker Spaniel

I suggest you dive right in.

After all, the best teacher is both time and hands on experience. The act of actually cutting your cocker spaniel’s hair will expose mistakes that will evolve into tricks of the trade.

I’ll help streamline the learning curve a bit for you though. I’ll list my top 3 tips below:

  1. Trimming cocker spaniel toe hair can pose as a difficult task. Once you’ve gone over your pup’s feet with the guard on the clippers, remove the guard for some precision cutting right around the toenails. It’s hard to mess up this area and you’ll be able to remove more of the hair this way.
  2. You know the underneath of the tail…oh wait! I’m like the only cocker spaniel I know who still has his long luxurious tail. Disregard this step if your cocker has a little stump thing. I digress. You know the long hair that grows on the underneath of the tail? Well, this is hard to cut with the guard on the clippers too. Remove the guard again, but this time grab a section of the tail hair in between your pointer and middle finger. Move these fingers down to the desired length, then take the clippers and chop down the hair hanging below your hand. Fast and effective.
  3. Sometimes the best clipper isn’t a clipper at all, but scissors. If your cocker spaniels hair is already really long, using clippers alone may cause more frustration than anything else. You’ll get tangled and janky. If this is the case, remove the bulk of the flowy hair part with scissors first.
  4. BONUS TIP: Bring treats. Fur real. If you want us to sit through this nonsense the best way to do it is come armed to the teeth with our favorite treats. Want me to sit? Cool. Want me to stay? No problem. Want to cut my hair? Okay, but I’m going to need another treat first.

Tools You Will Need

Don’t over complicate the grooming process here.

You will need 3 things to get this job done efficiently:

  1. Dog brush: Click this link to check the current price on Chewy
  2. Scissors: These things can get expensive! I’ve linked a reasonably priced pair, so click this link to check the current price on Chewy
  3. Dog Clippers: Sorry, can’t cut corners on these bad boys. Ask any barber – you need a good pair of shears. Click this link to check the current price on Chewy

That’s it.

This is all you’ll need to complete your at-home puppy grooming arsenal.

I’m Done Here

Seriously. I’m done.

Both with this article and with getting my hair trimmed. This is where I retreat when mom finally finishes.

Scoot over, Callie, I’m coming into your fort.

All in all though, humans, grooming your cocker spaniel on your own is a relatively easy process. We don’t ever want to disappoint you, so we’ll more than likely put up with just about anything to make sure you’re happy with us.

This is just another reason cocker spaniels make such wonderful family dogs.

Just take your time – this process isn’t always a quick one.

And per usual, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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