I cut my own hair for most of high school, and a bit of college I think, but I gave up around the time I stopped being to indie and discovered Aveda. I now see Dan at Phase 3, the holding space for stylists graduated from the Gary Manuel Training Salon but not yet moved to Seattle's most fabulous Gary Manuel Salon.
Our shih tzu's not so lucky. Although Brian's mom has trimmed him a couple times, we don't see her enough to keep his quick-growing fluffy coat trimmed by her for free, nor do I want to impose on her generosity. I also don't want to pay for, or trust, professional grooming. They may not all lop off ears, but the many shih tzu grooming articles I've read imply that groomers can often be insensitive to squirmy dogs (Buster hates bathing and trimming) and not particularly respectful of owners' requests for styling.
So I groom Buster at home. At least I snip off bits of fur, and hope he looks "groomed" and not mutilated.
Usually it's just a bit off around the nose and pads of the feet, those inexplicably fluffy areas that prove these dogs are not meant to survive in the wild -- they'd turn into stinky balls of matted fur, blinded by overgrown facial fluff, within weeks.
Generally my attempts to chop of bits of fur while he wiggles around the bathroom turn out surprisingly passable -- a little ragged around the edges, but nothing that won't be overgrown within weeks. Yesterday I took off quite a bit around the face and legs, and successfully evened out the bottoms of his ears. But left a few stray long patches that I still need to even out, and my attempt to leave his coat longer and "natural" over the body makes him just look like a fatso with skinny legs and a big round head. (Below, a before and two afters.)
I'm just glad Buster (much like myself in high school) is apparently oblivious to the silly, sloppy obviousness of an amature cut.