I have found that listening to the owner and doing exactly what they say can get you into trouble sometimes.
This past Saturday was one of those times.
I have a Lhasa that I have been grooming for 8 years.
When I first started grooming him, his owner kept him in full coat.
What a coat he had to.
He was one big, long mop.
His Mom brought him every other Saturday, and she was pretty good at keeping him brushed out.
I wish that I had a picture of him then.
Over the years she has slowly asked for him to go shorter but, not too short.
In the winter he stays scissored to about 4 inched left on.
In the summer he gets scissored to about 3 inches.
His ears are never trimmed, and neither is his tail.
This past Saturday his Dad dropped him off and said; "my wife said to take him as short as you can."
When my husband brought him back into the grooming room and told me this, my first reaction was to look at my husband like he had 6 heads and say; "take him as short as I can?!"
"That's what he said that his wife said", my husband told me.
"Did he hear her right?" "Does she know just how short I can go?""Does he know that we have never taken him that short before? I bombarded him with questions.
"I don't know", my husband said with a little irritation in his voice, "he said that that was what his wife told him, and don't ask me to call and ask her."
"You have to", I told him.
"Just do what he told you to," he said exasperated.
"If he got it wrong it will be his fault."
"You know I am not going to do that." I looked at him like he was crazy. " It wouldn't be his fault, it would be mine, and you know it.
"All right, all right", he said, "what do you want me to ask her?"
"Ask her exactly how much she wants off, I told him.
He called and she wasn't home.
The dog was bathed and blow dried, and then waited till we got a hold of the owner.
I know this customer.
She is very picky.
There was noway that I was going to do what her husband said without confirming it with her first.
I read a post awhile back on one of the forms about a groomer that was complaining because a customer came in with a dog. (I can't remember the breed)
Apparently the dog was in full coat, and the owner said to take the dog short, and the groomer did.
Well, the groomer did what she thought short meant.
Needless to say, the owner had a fit when they came to pick up the dog.
When it comes to owners, I don't think that you can ask too many questions.
The groomer should have first observed the coat.
The dog was in full coat; when was the last time he had been groomed?
If it had been recently, that is a red flag that the owner may not be asking for the right thing.
Ask the owner exactly how much they want off.
Use your fingers to show a length on the coat.
Make sure that the owner understands just how short you can go.
I also had another long time customer come in with their Spitz.
They get the body scissored tight.
This is a picture of him from last year.
For the last year the dog has been losing its coat to Cushing's Disease.
The last couple of groomings,the owner has asked me not to scissor the dog all over, just neaten, because they are trying to grow the hair back.
The coat wasn't growing back in anyway.
When the dog came in Saturday, I was amazed at how great the coat looked.
Most of the hair had grown back on the rear and neck, and the coat was unbelievably thick and long.
He looked better then he had in long time.
I asked my husband what they wanted me to do this time.
"Her son dropped the dog off and said to do the same as usual," he told me.
"We haven't done 'the same as usual' for the last couple of groomings," I told him.
"I guess you want me to call her too?" he moaned.
I smiled and nodded my head yes.
I found it hard to believe, that after working to get the coat to grow back, that they wanted me to cut half of it off.
I had made the right call.
I owner did not want the usual cut.
The only thing that she wanted trimmed was the feet and the rear.
So what happened with the Lhasa?
We called her again, and this time got a hold of her.
She wanted no more than half off.
Not as short as we could go.
Now, I know that some groomers would say that it was the owners fault for sending the son in and telling me the wrong thing.
Or the wife's fault for sending her husband in to say the wrong thing, and technically, they would be right.
But, that still does not stop the owners from getting upset and yelling, or crying, or getting mad at me.
I will say right now, that I have a terrible aversion to being yelled at.
I don't like people to be mad at me.
And, I defiantly do not want to deal with a crying customer.
So, ask questions.
Even if it turns out that the owner does really want the dog shaved short.
Even if the question seems stupid.
Even if the owner seems to get frustrated with you for asking the same question six different ways.
When a owner seems to get frustrated with my questions, I just tell them that I want to make sure that I am doing what they want, and that I can always take more hair off, but I can't put the hair back on if I take too much off.
At least I saved myself from some headaches this time. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF