About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Educating the Customer II

It has been a week of educating customers.
When one of my first customers this week came in with her dog, I took her dog from her then went back up to get a phone number for where to reach her that day.
That was a mistake.
Her dog is a big time whiner.
I usually talk to the owner while holding her dog, but since I had to write a number down, and her dog wiggles so much trying to get back to her, I took him back to the grooming room.
I realized my mistake right away.
When I came back into the lobby, her dog was already starting to whine.
I am sure every groomer out there has seen 'the look' on the owners face when they hear their dog whining...or think they hear their dog.

I honestly thought she was going to bolt through my grooming room door to get her dog.
I had only  just put him in the kennel.
He hadn't been in there for more then 2 minutes.
He knew his Mom was still up front.
He knew just what to do.
I don't doubt it for one second that 90%  of these dogs are smarter then their owners, and have their owners wrapped a round their furry paws.
Thankfully my daughter knew exactly how this particular owner would react, and rushed straight over to the dog to keep him occupied while I talked to his Mom.
I had to spend about 10 minutes reassuring this customer that her dog was not upset and that he just knew that she was still here.
This would be understanding to me if it was a first time customer, but I have been grooming this dog for a few years now.

Have you ever felt like saying 'Well if you don't trust me, you can take your dog back home'?

I used to really let it bother me.
I would have people ask "You won't hurt my dog will you?"
I have learned to try to see it from their point of view.

They are leaving their dog with someone they don't really know.
They may have had a bad experience somewhere else.
They may just be a crazy, paranoid pet owner.

It did not help that the owner of the whiny dog has a relative who is a Veterinarian. 
The relative had just told this owner a story of a dog that had come into her clinic with it's tongue cut off by a groomer.

"Did you ever hear of anything so horrible?" she asked me, with a horrified look on her face.
"It is my worst nightmare," I answered knocking on wood.
Whaaaat? You mean you have heard of this before? she asked me, shocked.
"Yes, accidents can happen while grooming a dog," I explained. "They are a living thing with a mind of their own. It only takes a second for a dog to move the wrong way at the wrong time." I continued to explain while she stared at me in shock.

"I have dogs flick their tongues out all of the time while I am trying to scissor their face...."
"Not my dog?! He doesn't do that, does he?" she asked, acting almost offended that I might be implying that her dog would flick its tongue out.
"No, I don't remember having a problem with your dog doing that, but the potential is always there. Every dog licks their face." I said.
"I had know idea that grooming a dog could be so dangerous," she said still looking a little shocked.

She left her dog...it survived another grooming.

A couple of days later
I had a 15 year old Bichon booked to be groomed.
This customer had canceled a couple of appointments before, so it was a 50/50 chance that she would show.
I had not groomed the dog since October.
I had groomed the dog three times before.
She showed.

  ( This picture is of the dog after the bath and HV drying. I always seem to forget to take a picture before they get into the tub.  :/ )

The owner explained that she didn't bring him in sooner because she didn't want to put him through the 'grooming experience.'

I guess letting him get filthy, stinking, dirty and matted is better for his health.

"He couldn't stand being dirty anymore, and I couldn't stand him anymore either," the owner said as she handed the dog to my husband.

 It can be so frustrating getting an owner to understand that regular grooming's make their dogs feel good no matter what age they are.

It is even harder to find a tactful way to tell a customer that letting their dog get so badly matted is abuse in and of it's self.

I managed to get a 5/8 blade through the mats so that the old guy would not be too short.

Hopefully his Mom will bring him in sooner the next time.

This was one other furry guy that I had groomed back in October.

He was supposed to have been a one time groom.

Another groomer had recommended this customer to me for one grooming, because the other groomer was unable to groom him at the time.
No problem.

Well, now the owner is back, because she said, even though she likes the other groomer,  the groomer will not groom the dog the way she wants it.
The owner wants the dog short but not shaved.
Apparently the other groomer keeps taking him too short.

 I do not know this other groomer.
I don't know how she knows me.
Unfortunately, most of the groomers around me do not talk to each other.
There seems to be this unspoken competition.

I have never understood that mentality.
I wish the groomers around me would talk to each other.
I don't like to take another groomers dog.
There are more then enough dogs to go around.

I know this groomer sent this dog to me once, but I don't think she thought she would lose her customer.

Once I had washed and HV dried this dog, I noticed that the hair was very uneven.

This is a picture of the dog after the bath and dry, and before any clipping.

It is just a guess, but I have a feeling that the other groomer cage drys.
This dogs coat would look awful cage dried and would most likely be very hard to get a nice, smooth cut without fluffing the hair.

The dog does not act like it has ever had a HV dryer used on it.

Clipping after the bath makes a world of difference in the finished cut.

I used the peach, medal clipcomb and scissored to even it all up.
Scissor the face short and round.

Just a note; the ears are even, he likes to tuck one ear back like a cat, and I could not get him to bring that ear forward, even with all of the funny sounds I was making.  :)

I did do a couple of fun things this week.

I have been slowly scissoring the pattern for the Creative Grooming competition at Groom expo in September.

This is all I can show you.
I want it to be a surprise.
Can you guess what she is going to be.
My daughter says she looks like she has mange.  :)

I sill have a ways to go.
I have only been working on her an hour here and there.

This guy was my other fun thing today.

His Mom wanted him to have a green Mohawk this time for St. Patrick's Day.

What a good sport he is.
Don't you just love that face.
He is so sweet.
He eats up all of the attention he gets.

Happy Grooming, MFF

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