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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Really!?!?

Hi 
I am back. :)

I was in Tennessee visiting family for a few days.

Unfortunately, my stepfather doesn't trust the internet and would not let me use his internet to update my blog.

Oh well...to each their own.
It hurt my head too much trying to explain to an 84 year old that blogger was not going to cause a virus in his internet. :(

On to grooming.

Last week I was reading an issue of 'Grooming Business'.
They always have a section on new products.

I came across a picture, that at first I wasn't sure what it was I was looking at.
The title over top of the picture was 'Fuss-Free Grooming'.
I still wasn't quite sure what I was looking at until I read the information beside the picture.

I could not believe what I was reading and seeing.

Here have a look and read for yourself.




I am sure that anyone who has been reading my posts has noticed that I don't use loops when I groom.
I am not against loops when used correctly, they are just not for me, but are you kidding me?

Really!
Loops on an apron?
Strap the dog to yourself?

Can you imagine an owner using this apron and the dog freaking out?
The loops cutting into his belly and neck as the dog panics and struggles to get away.
How in the world can you see what you are doing with the dog strapped against you?

I have the same questions for the loop system that I have seen at Groom Expo.
The one I am talking about is the loop system that runs across the top of the grooming table, and has two loops, or a body harness that the dog is suspended from while being groomed.

How in the world do you groom a dog that is suspended from a body harness?
I would also be worried that a dogs belly could be injured when a loop is put around the belly.

Ironically enough, I had a customer in the same day that I saw this picture.
The groomer that she had been taking her dog to used the two loop system.
Her dog had been injured the last two times that they had groomed it.
That was why she wasn't going back and tried us.
The owner was told that her dog struggled too much in the loops and that is why his leg was injured twice.

???????

My daughter groomed the Shih-poo.
He did not move on her table.
He was very pleasant to groom with no loop.

Why would you use two loops on a dog if it isn't needed?

Years ago, shortly after I opened my shop a man came into my shop to try to sell me a system that would help keep dogs still on my table.
I took one look at that thing and told my husband to tell the man to leave and that the thing he was trying to sell was ridiculous.

Let me see if I can describe it in words.

It was a flat plastic base that was about half the size of an average grooming table.
Attached to the plastic base were four round cylinders that were about an half an inch tall.
Attached to the cylinders were straps.
You were supposed to place the dogs feet, one in each cylinder, and then place the strap over the feet to hold the dog still.

Good grief, even after all of this time, I still can't believe that that man brought that contraption in my shop and really expected me to buy it.
The thing that bothers me the most is that someone may have actually tried to use that thing.

No, I can't remember how much he wanted for it.
I have never seen that contraption again.....thankfully!

Really, I am not against using a single loop when needed.
I also think that the 'Groomers Helper' is a great tool for groomers who work alone, and have no one to help them hold an unruly dog.
 I have used a loop in the past when I needed to, they just get in my way. :)
I just worry about the people who don't use them correctly...

...and I don't like the straps on the apron.

I tried to go to the website shown in the description to see more information.

There was none, so hopefully people won't be able to get them. :/

Happy Grooming, MFF

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Westiepoo







I had a Westiepoo  in the other day.

Everything about him said Westie except for his curly hair.





 Most of the hair on his body was really wavy. 

His head...now that was full of curls.

His owner had rescued him and he was growing out of a shave down.

His owner wanted to start him in a Westie cut now.




 






He looked cute in the Westie cut, but....








The curly hair on his head made his head look like a big round ball stuck on top of his neck.









Isn't he cute?

Kind of reminds me of the bobble head dog I had when I was little.

Only it was a pink Poodle. :)







Happy Grooming, MFF

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Disclaimer Needed

After a recent comment that I received, I feel that I need to place a Disclaimer on my blog.

I write this blog for the enjoyment of it.
It helps me to whined down at the end of the day.
If my posts and stories help my fellow groomers...great!
If my pictures and descriptions of my grooming help other groomers...wonderful!
If some of my fellow groomers don't like the way that I groom....that is okay too.

I have placed my Disclaimer at the top, right side of my page.

As I have said before in many of my posts I am open to suggestions from other groomers on ways to improve my grooming.
As far as I am concerned, you never learn everything, there is always something more to learn.
My way of grooming may not be another groomers way of grooming.
That is fine.
Everyone should groom the way that they are comfortable with, and what works for them to keep the pet in their care as safe as possible.

Pet safety should always be a groomers number one priority.

Happy Grooming, MFF


Monday, May 21, 2012

Lamb Cut

A couple of weeks ago one of the groomers that reads my blog asked me about how I set the pattern for my Lamb cuts.
I will admit, this cut is the most popular cut in my shop.
A lot of owners like this cut because even though I may take the body short, the Lamb cut leaves the legs a little longer, so the legs don't look like toothpicks.

A Lamb cut can be as simple as a #7F on the body and a #4F on the legs.
In my shop, any cut that leaves the legs a little, or a lot longer than the body, with no skirt or bib, is called a Lamb cut.





  This Cock-a-poo gets a #5F blade on the body and a 3 3/4F blade on the legs.

The legs are still short, but they don't look like sticks.








This Yorkie got a Lamb cut with a short body and  fuller legs.









So, this post is for Jessica and any other groomer that was wondering how I do my Lamb cuts.

I decided to use a white Standard Poodle in hopes that the lines and blending would show better in pictures.








This Poodle comes in every 4 weeks.

He has been bathed and blow dried.




 I start by clipping his body with a #5F blade.

I use the #5F and blend off at the hip and shoulder.

I tend to start off blending up high.

You can always go lower as the cut evolves, but you can't put hair back on if you take the legs too low when you start to blend.








The solid arrows show where I used full pressure.

The broken arrows show where I lifted the blade using a lighter pressure to skim and blend into the leg.







I like to keep the front leg well up above the elbow.

I like the front shoulder  to flow into the leg.

I do not like seeing the elbow stick out.




 Next, I clip the legs with a yellow #0 clip comb.

The lines are still showing on the top of the legs because of the difference in lengthens.

With the Lamb cut you want the the length of the hair on the body to blend smoothly into the legs with no noticeable line.






At this point, on most dogs, I would use either my scissors or my thinning shears to blend the legs into the body.

This Poodles hair is so thick, and I want to blend the legs a little lower, so I take my #4F blade and skim down the top of the legs a little more.

I don't want to use the #5F body blade because the hair left on the legs is so much longer than the hair on the body.







So that I get a nice blend, I start the #4F blade up where I clipped with the #5F.

Then using full pressure I blend the top of the legs, skimming off again.

This way the #4F does more of the blending for me.

You can see that the line is starting to disappear.


 




Next I comb the hair up.

I do this on all breeds.





I will also pluck at the hair, especially at the blend line.

Sometimes I will gently shake the leg to let the hair fall naturally.








Then I scissor the leg to finish.







See, no elbow sticking out.

A nice transition from body to leg.








This side of the dog is finished.

Sorry, I forgot to get a picture of the dog entirely finished.





If you are interested...

~The Body: #5F blade
~The Legs: #0 clip comb and scissor
~The Feet: #7F blade against the grain
~The Face: #7F and scissor
~The Tail: #0 clip comb, scissor and blend to body
~The Ears: Skim with #0 clip comb and scissor to just below the leather


The important part of the Lamb cut is to blend the top of the legs nicely into the body length.

I hope that this helps someone.

I hope you could understand the directions too. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


Friday, May 18, 2012

What Would You Do? #2

I'll tell you what I feel like doing after the last couple of days of grooming.....is have a nervous breakdown.

I have mentioned before that I like grooming hard to handle dogs, and I really do, but too many in a short amount of time will do anyone in.

I am done in.

I have had four hard to handle dogs in the last 2 days.
I am not talking about dogs that don't stand up, or dogs that are wiggly, or dogs that fight you a little while you groom them.

Two of the dog are 'go for blood' biters.
The Shih-tzu I have been grooming for a few years now.
When I first started grooming the Shih-tzu, he lunged for my face 30 seconds after I put him on my table.
I pulled my face away just in time.
I felt his teeth skim the tip of my nose.

That was 3 or 4 years ago.
I have gone from having to muzzle him for the total groom, to only having to muzzle him for his feet and nails now.
Funny, even though we seem to have a mutual respect for each other, and he now lets me bathe him, clip his body and legs, and scissor his face without trying to eat me, when he does get pissed, (which is when I groom his feet and nails) he still 'goes for blood' even with the muzzle on.
He has managed to nail me, even through the muzzle, a couple of times.
But, even with all of that, I still would have rather groomed him a couple times in a row then groom the Bichon I had after him.

The Bichon that I groomed after the Shih-tzu yesterday is a sweet dog and she is not a biter.
So, why would I rather groom the biter?
Because, I know what to expect from him.
I have learned all of the little things that set him off.

The Bichon.
She is 5 or 6 years old.
Her Mom had been home grooming her.
Yesterday was only her second professional grooming.
Of course she is very scared and nervous.
She is also suicidal!
She is the type of dog that will give you several heart attacks during the grooming.
She jerks towards your scissors.
She will stand beautifully, then with no warning, she will have a panic attack.
I am talking flip backwards and freaking out.
You must be prepared at all times to pull the scissors or clipper away in case she moves the wrong way and stabs herself. 
You must talk her down before you can start again.
Yes, that sweet little Bichon is so nerve racking to groom that I would rather groom the biter.

It was only her second time, and her Mom is faithfully making every 4 week appointments for her, so I am sure that over time she will get better.
I just hope 'over time' is in the next few groomings. :/

As I said before, that was yesterday.

Today I had two more.
One, and elderly, biting Cocker.
Most of the time, working slowly, I am able to get her groomed without pissing her off.
Some of her triggers are rubbing soap on her legs, rubbing her with a towel, scissoring her feet, and clipping her nails.
If I am very careful and work slowly, we do okay.
But, if I somehow touch her the wrong way...watch out!
She goes for blood.
Even if you move away, she will chase your hands and search out something to bite, and it is not just one quick bite.
If she catches hold, she will gnaw on you like a steak bone.

She wants blood!

You also have to give her a minute to cool down before you can touch her again.
Once she has cooled down you can go on with the groom, but you have blown it, because she is watching you very closely now and ready to go after you if you do something wrong again.
Most of the time I can get through grooming her without pissing her off.
Today I pissed her off trying to shave mats out of her armpits.
I moved away fast enough, her teeth only skimmed the knuckles of my hand.
But I had to stop this time and calm myself down.

I had had it.

I was ready for a nervous breakdown.
I was ready to get rid of all my special needs groom dogs, because right before this Cocker, I groomed this guy.

He had already taken 5 years off of my life.



Looks easy enough doesn't he?

He is 14 years old, and today was his very first professional grooming.

Looks darn good for 14 doesn't he.

His owner brought him in now because he said that it was taking 3 people to hold him down and groom him.

?!?!?!?!?

His owner did not think that I would be able to groom him.



After the owner finished filling out the new customer information sheet, I asked him what he wanted me to do.

"Whatever you can do," he told me.
"How would you like me to cut his hair?" I asked.
"Whatever you can do, it takes 3 people to hold him down, I don't know how you are going to do this," he told me, shaking his head.
"Well, if he will let me, would you like half of his hair off or shorter?" I tried again.
"Whatever you can do. I can't believe he is letting you hold him like that, I don't understand it," he said pointing at his dog resting in my arms.
"He has stopped shaking, I think he will be fine," I tell him.
"So, do you know how short you would like his hair?" I try again for the third time.
"Whatever you can do. I guess short, we have never had him short before," he told me, again shaking his head.

I admit, I gave up.
"I'll call you when I finish him," I told him and watched him walk out the door.

As you can see from the picture below, his owners had already been chopping on his coat.



 He did really well for the bath.

I packed his ears with cotton before using the HV at half power to dry him.

I was prepared for him to reject the HV but he didn't, he did very well.

All good signs, right?

If I only knew what was coming.


What kind of clip would you have done?

I decided to clip him with a #4f blade.

I knew that the blade would glide though most of his hair and not take a lot off.


The only problem was that he had a couple different types of hair.

Around his neck and hips he had a thicker, plushier type of hair that the blade took shorter than the rest of the body.

No problem I thought, he was doing really good with the clipping, I would just use my scissors and thinning shears to blend in the neck and hips.


I would also scissor the legs, because his owner had told me that he really didn't like his legs and feet touched.

He had let me soap up his legs and feet.
He had let me dry his legs and feet with the HV.
He had let me brush and blow dry his legs to fluff them up.

Now, he hadn't been perfect up until this point.
He was very nervous and I had to talk him through everything, but talking was really helping, and it definitely calmed him down.
He also liked to constantly back up and suddenly twist, but all of that was mild.

Then I started to scissor his front leg.
I say started, because all I managed was one snip before this cute little dog lost it.
His reaction was so unexpected, quick, and violent, that the next thing I knew his entire front leg was inside my open scissors... and I froze.
I was able to quickly grab his leg with my other hand and pull it away from the open scissors.
I pulled the scissors away from him only to have him suddenly turn in my hand and bite down on my now closed scissors in my other hand.
All of this happened within seconds.

Oh, lets not forget my heart attack too, and the five years off of my life that i will never get back.

After checking his leg and mouth, I put the scissors away.

No scissors!

So much for blending the neck and hips.



 So, I skimmed his legs with the Moser.

I still had to talk him through this.

He definitely did not like the hair on his legs and feet cut.

What have his owners been doing to him?

Oh, that's right....three people had been pinning him down to groom him!








Once I had talked him through skimming the first leg, he calmed down and excepted it for the rest of his legs.










I used the Moser to skim everything that I would normally scissor.

For the most part he did pretty well.








The scary times were his sudden backups and twists.

He never stayed still for too long.

All that was left was the head.








Would you take a chance with the scissors on his head and face?


His face was pretty chopped up already by the owner, so I figured that they had used scissors on his face.

Believe me, I was very careful with my first cut using the scissors on his face.

Thankfully, he let me scissor his face, although he did jerk his head out of my hands about a half a dozen times before I finished scissoring it.

But, I got him groomed.
It only took me one and a half hours. :/

I was drained.
I was ready to go home.

He was my first dog of the day.


Up next...the biting Cocker.

Is it the weekend yet?

Yes, it is, BUT I work on Saturday.
And, guess what?

My first dog tomorrow is a special needs dog.
Apparently a biter.

Shoot me now!

Where are they coming from?
How do they find me?

Is it too much to ask for just one day of simple grooms?

Is it crazy for me to say that I am hoping that the new dog tomorrow is a biter and not a suicidal dog?

Wish me luck! :)

Oh, one more thing...the daughter picked up the Yorkie.
Apparently Dad didn't tell her that he asked me to take her dog short.
She wasn't upset, she just was not prepared for the short cut.
She was happy that I was able to groom her dog. 

See D, I don't even take my own advice and get a questionable owner to sign grooming instructions to cover my bu**. lol

Happy Grooming, MFF

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Speechless

I have seen a lot of nasty things over the last 28 years of grooming and the short time that I worked for a Vet, but I have to say that the picture I saw on my facebook the other day made my jaw drop.

Before I enlarged the picture, I knew what I was looking at, but my brain just would not except it.

The picture and story were shared from another facebook page.
I saw the picture when Serena from Lu Lu's Groom posted it on her business facebook page.
You do great work with rescues Serena.!
I hope you don't mind me passing on this story.

Click on the link below and it will take you to the facebook page of the Louisiana Boxer Rescue.
Scroll down about half way.
On the right hand side you will see a picture of a white and tan puppy.
The picture is to show what is in the puppies ear.
You will be speechless too.

As of todays update, Momma and puppies are doing well. :)


Happy Grooming, MFF

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hmmmmmm...

This is the reason why parents should not let their 16 year old son bring the dog in for grooming.

The sons grooming instructions:

"Can you shave him really, really close, like showing skin close, can you do that?"
"And leave a Mohawk on the top of his head, going all of the way down his back."
"Would that be okay?"

I am thinking; 'does your Mom know about this?'

"You can take him down to his skin right?"
"And, I want you to leave the hair on his chin, but no mustache."

Oookaay.

I gave my daughter the instructions, but I told her not to clip him any shorter than the #7F.
He is usually a clip down #5F.

She asked me if I wanted her to do everything he asked.
"He brought the dog in, and he is the one picking it up," I told her.
"I follow the instructions of the person who brings in the dog."










He is such a sweet boy.



















I have to say...it kind of grows on you.



















The son picked him up around 2pm.
He was beyond thrilled.

By the time we left work today, the Mom had not called to complain.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF