Some of my readers may remember me talking about an appointment that I made for a dog that I was warned was a bad biter.
I was told this by one of my long time customers.
She was talking about her neighbors dog.
This customer warned me that her neighbor would be calling me for an appointment, but that I should turn her away because the dog had bitten her, her daughter, her dog, and a couple of other people.
I had no reason not to believe this customer.
As I said, I have been grooming her dogs for a long time and she is a very good customer.
Her neighbor did call that same day.
She never mentioned that her dog had ever bitten anyone when making the appointment.
Yes, I made an appointment for her.
I was very curious about this dog.
I was also curious about whether the owner would admit that their dog was a biter when she brought it in.
I also love the challenge of grooming a problem dog.
I groomed the dog yesterday.
While the owner was filling out the information sheet, I greeted the dog in my lobby.
He did shy away from me at first, but I didn't get any bad vibe off of him.
He did stiffen when I picked him up, but he was also wagging his tail.
I tried to keep my energy very relaxed.
I didn't want him to realize that I was keeping a close eye on any signs that he would suddenly bite.
My other customer had warned me that he could be very friendly, and not give any warning before he bit.
After the dogs owner filled out the new customer information sheet, I started asking questions.
I asked several questions that gave the owner the opportunity to inform me of any problems with her dog, such as biting.
You might be wondering why I didn't just ask her straight up if her dog had ever bitten anyone.
I didn't for two reasons.
One~ she was gushing about how wonderful her dog was the second that I entered the lobby.
She didn't have one bad thing to say about her dog.
She was gushing a little too much.
Two~ I didn't, in any way, want her to know what her neighbor had told me.
I didn't want her to be even a little bit suspicious that her neighbor had told me that her dog had bitten anyone, or that she had recommended that I not groom the dog.
At this point it really didn't matter whether the dog had bitten anyone or not.
I had decided to groom this dog when I let her make an appointment.
He turned out to be a really good dog.
He was what I call 'a watcher'.
He liked to watch everything that I was doing to him, which for me is one of the signs of a potential biter.
So, I worked slowly and talked to him the entire grooming.
I told him everything that I was about to do.
Did I say that he turned out to be a very good boy.
He was a little touchy about having his nails clipped, but he never tried to bite me.
I really appreciate that my other customer cared enough to warn me about this dog.
She kept telling me that she didn't want me to get hurt.
Do I still believe that this dog did all of the biting that she said that it did?
Yes, I do believe her.
I do think that if this dog is approached the wrong way, it would fear bite.
By the wrong way, I mean sudden moves.
I certainly do not recommend that all groomers groom biting dogs.
Not all groomers have extra time to spend on a biting dog.
If you are a groomer that stresses too easily, you should turn away biting dogs.
An employer also should never make a groomer groom a biting dog if they are uncomfortable doing so.
At one of the events at Groom Expo this year, I had another groomer actually get mad at me for grooming biting dogs.
One of the reasons that I like going to Groom Expo is being able to talk to other groomers.
Only, there are other times that you meet groomers that don't mind telling you that they don't agree with how you groom.
I have to say that I was pretty disturbed after talking to these two groomers.
First, they asked about my prices.
I didn't mind telling them what I charged for a medium size dog.
They were very quick to let me know that I was 'cheep' compared to what they charge, and they seemed angry about it too.
This has always driven me crazy.
I notice it on the grooming boards from time to time also.
Groomers giving other groomers a hard time because they think that the other groomer is not charging enough.
Prices vary from state to state and even county to county.
I have had customers tell me that I am too high, and I have also had customers tell me that they were charged a lot more somewhere else.
My prices are basically the same as other groomers around me.
Both of the groomers that I was talking to were from higher income areas.
One of the two groomers that I was talking to really got upset that I was grooming biting dogs.
"You shouldn't be taking biting dogs," he told me firmly.
"I like the challenge of grooming biting dogs," I told him.
"Why?" he asked, looking at me like I was nuts.
"Because most of the time I have no problem with them, and the others usually stop biting by the second or third time that I groom them," I explained.
Now he was really disgusted with me.
"What do you do?" he said, very sarcastically. "Sprinkle them with magic fairy dust?"
He wasn't finished.
"If your prices were higher you wouldn't have to take everything that walked in the door," he said not even looking at me anymore.
"I don't have to take anything that walks in the door," I told him, with a smile on my face, even though I didn't feel like smiling anymore. "Most of my customers book a year in advance, and there is a two month wait for the rest of the appointments that are left."
At this point I didn't care if I sounded like I was tooting my own horn, he had pissed me off.
What did it matter to him whether I groomed biting dogs or not?
And why did he automatically think that I was a struggling groomer just because my prices were not as high as his, and I groomed biting dogs?
I had never run into groomers like this before at Groom Expo.
I am very proud that I am skilled enough to work safely with biting dogs.
I certainly don't judge other groomers for not wanting to work on biting dogs.
I was not the least bit prepared for another groomer to get so upset and mean about the fact that I groomed biting dogs.
Sorry, that turned into a small rant. :/
Oh well, that's is why I own my own shop...I do it my way. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF