Grooming...Not just up to the groomerJul 25, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in FragranceThe Bottom Line Use your head...don't be afraid to ask, but trust the groomer to use his or her skills.
I would first like to say that everyone should research the breed of dog they are considering before they run out and buy one. Learn all you can about the care of the breed and it's specific needs.
Choosing a Groomer
There is no magical formula for choosing a groomer. The best way to find one is to try one. Ask your friends who they use. Ask your vet, local pet shops, or anyone you see on the street who has your breed of dog (if you like the cut). Once you have decided to give one a try, call him or her (visiting is a BAD idea, because any good groomer is going to be busy and while they will normally grant you an interview, it only puts them behind schedule which makes for a stressful day). If you like the groomer, then make an appointment. Now, the next step is up to you.
Do Your Part At Home
No groomer, no matter how skilled, can turn out a perfectly groomed dog ready for Westminster if they are given a badly matted dog with poor hair quality. So many times, people have brought dogs into our shop that were a train wreck as far as upkeep, and when we told them that dematting the dog would be time-consuming, expensive, and more importantly inhumane, they begged us to leave as much hair on the dog as possible. When they returned to pick up the dog, they fussed and fretted on how short the hair was. This is the biggest kick in the teeth a groomer will ever receive. So, if you want your dog to look fabulous after a day at the groomers, then you have to do your part at home. Have a dog with a long coat? Brush it for at least 5 minutes twice a week. He won't let you? You should never let your dog control you. When you say it's time for brushing, there should be no fighting back. If there is, then you need to seriously consider your disciplining of the dog (or lack of). If you take care of your dog's coat, then there is no reason why you couldn't have the perfect haircut for him.
The Groomer's Shop
Finally, you've made it in for your first appointment with the new groomer. Since it is your first time there, the groomer or receptionist should get your contact information. This is the time to tell them that Fluffy has arthritis, is blind, had 300 moles, hip problems, an eye infection...you get the picture. Also, this is when you should outline the cut you want for Fluffy. If you are a greenhorn, ask the groomer what he or she would recommend. If they have a photo album, look at that. Occasionally, the groomer may even be able to show you someone else's dog who has a style that may suit you and your dog. Don't be afraid to ask questions concerning cost and upkeep of the cut, and also how often to bring Fluffy back for a touch-up. Most groomers will not tell you to bring the dog back in 2 weeks when 6-8 weeks is more appropriate. Plus, you can judge for yourself when the hair is getting unruly and needs to be trimmed. Use common sense on this area...if it was your hair, how often would YOU have it cut? Moving along, it is now time to set a pick-up time. Here is where the source of 96% of groomers' stress comes from: "Can I drop Muffin off at 9:00 and pick him up at 11:00?" These people are what we call Jiffy-Lubers...they expect a shop doing a volume of 30 dogs a day to groom their dog in 15 minutes. Then, if we do manage to get them to agree to 3:00, then they call on the hour every hour to "check on my baby." Some are worried because Spot has arthritis, or Bo is old and needs lots of rest. Well, I am here to tell you, most of the time your dog is at the groomers is spent sleeping. Depending on the cut he is getting, first he is 'roughed' then bathed, then cage dried. If short-haired, then he may only require 2 minutes of blow drying, if any at all. If long haired, then he'll probably be fluff dried, a process which can last anywhere from 2-15 minutes. Then, he is finished and caged to await your arrival. Most shops will call the owner if Pepper is finished early, but mostly the dogs are finished when the groomer says he will be. At our shop, we usually ask to have the dog for at least 4 hours, but will occasionally make exceptions for long-standing clients. The point is, in order to reduce the overall stress level of both groomers and dogs, let the groomer do his job in the time frame he needs. Make the appointment for a day that you are flexible, and be considerate.
After the Groom
When you arrive to pick up your dog, there are several things that you should have in your mind. These dogs are living breathing creatures that jump, bite, and pee at the most inoportune time. (Murphy's Law: Whatever can happen will) If your groomer is running 5 minutes behind, or if the waiting room is full of owners anxious to get their pets, then be patient. When your dog comes out, pay attention to whatever the groomer or receptionist tells you, such as any medical or behavioral problems they noticed. While it is important to observe the overall attitude of your pet, keep in mind that he may view this as a negative experience no matter how nicely he was treated. Also, don't be afraid to ask for modifications. Would you like the face a little shorter, or the tail trimmed up more? Most groomers will be happy to make these changes...just ask! Finally, please don't forget to tip! Although groomers don't rely on this as part of their income, a faithful tipper will be more likely to get occasional special treatment than a once-a-year, pay-the-minimum client.
1. Unless your dog is diabetic, it would be a good idea not to feed him before you bring him to the groomer's. Also, give him plenty of time to do his business before you enter the shop. This helps to prevent cage soiling, which means that your dog has to be rebathed and redryed, which puts everyone in a frenzy, and could mean that you would have to wait longer to pick him up. Don't worry about him not eating all day...like I said before, unless he is diabetic or has some other nutritional disorder, going for 8 hours without food is not a life-threatening situation.
2. 2 out of every 5 dogs need to be muzzled at some point in the grooming process to ensure the safety of the groomer. Not that they are vicious dogs, some are just foot-shy, or are young and it is their first grooming and they don't know what to expect. Whatever the dog's particular situation, muzzling is not painful to the animal and does not create any lasting disorders for him. We tie our muzzles with a quick-release knot for extra safety, but every shop has a different method. It is unnecessary to be concerned about this aspect, but if you feel you need to, ask the groomer about their muzzle policy.
I hope that this helps you become a groomer-friendly client, and good luck with your future groomer!
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