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Notes From a Groomer

Your dog is probably very important to you. Maybe to you he or she is even the most important thing in your life. However, to your dog groomer, your pets’ well-being is the absolute top priority, even if we’ve just met.

The check-in process at the groomer is very important, especially if its your first time there. Most groomers have a set of questions they’ll ask. Such as how old is your dog, does your dog have any special health conditions we need to be aware of, is your dog afraid of anything, is your dog aggressive towards other dogs, and how do you want the haircut?

If any of these questions don’t cover something that you think the dog groomer should know then please bring it up. Every dog is different and there may be something specific that could help the grooming process go smoother for both groomer and pet.

For haircuts the communication at check-in is very important. You just want to make sure you are both on the same page. Bringing in a picture is always welcome if you have something particular in mind. Just be sure it’s a picture of the same kind of dog with the same coat type. Often times we’ll have a pet owner with a yorkie bring in a photo of a toy poodle and the cut will look nothing like the picture because the coat types are pretty much opposites. Get a picture of something you not only think is cute, but you know will also look good on your own dog.

Trust is very important to have in an owner/groomer relationship. If you don’t trust the groomer enough to leave your dog there, then you’re either at the wrong salon or overprotective. Often it seems like more of an insult if you tell a good dog groomer that you are not leaving and want to watch the entire process. Find a groomer you trust and let them do their job.

Dematting is a big factor of unhappy groomers and pet owners. We only see your dog on average once every four-six weeks. We expect you to regularly brush your dog in between groomings. We can do a lot with a well-maintained coat. However, if the coat is matted then you limit our options. If your dog must be shaved it’s not because of the groomer. It’s because of you. You wouldn’t go to a hair salon after not brushing your hair for 6 weeks and then get mad at the hair stylist for the tangles that you let happen. Your dog is your responsibility. The dog groomer is only responsible for your pet for a few hours once every 4-6 weeks or so.

You could find a salon that may say they can get the matting out. Beware of these groomers. In some scenarios it’s possible but most of the time with bad matting its just painful and pointless. They are tearing the hair as they brush and comb through the knot. Hair/fur that is frayed will matt up very quickly and you’ll be back to square one in a matter of a couple weeks or less. Then you will have to go back to that groomer who is all too eager to charge you more extra fees for their dematting. It’s also uncomfortable and even painful for your dog to get severe matting brushed out, especially if you have a dog such as a shih-tzu, yorkie, maltese or just a dog that has sensitive skin.

Find a groomer that stresses humane dematting only. Be okay with a shorter cut and trust your groomer that it’s whats best for your dog. They do this as a living and can read a matt better than you can.

Now you don’t have to fear all kennel dryers. Only the heated ones are dangerous. Ask your groomer what kind of dryers they use. Most private salons use non-heated dryers that simply send a light breeze through the kennel.

Personally, I use a force dryer for a majority of the coat. Then the dog is only in the kennel dryer for the face and paws to be completely dried. A force dryer is a stronger non-heated version of your home hair dryer. It’s safe but the dogs don’t like it around their face. This is where it’s important for the kennel dryer to finish the job. Each salon is different but there’s nothing wrong with you asking what equipment they use on your pet. After all it is your dog. You can even ask what products they use. This shouldn’t be a problem for any groomer.

Lastly, bring in your pet every 4-6 weeks. This will not only keep your pet well-groomed but also help he/she become more familiar and less afraid if they are used to going to a salon on a regular basis. Find a career groomer you can trust. Establish a relationship. Just remember to not get offended if we run into each other on the street and I recognize your dog but not you. After all that is who I spend more time with. Get used to being called Buddy’s dad. We know how much you love your dog but remember we love your dog too.

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