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.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesdays Tip #57...Christmas Extras Chart

For those groomers who spend a lot of time and money to make Christmas extras for your customers, like bows, bandanas, bow ties, ect.
Or, for the groomers who spend a lot of hard earned money buying already made extras for their customers dogs.

I don't know about other groomers out there, but it really bothers me when I put these little extras on a pet, and a customer either yanks them out of the dogs ears and throws them in the trash right in front of me, or I find them out in the parking lot where the owner yanked them off of the dog and just tossed them away.
I understand that not everyone likes the extras, and that is fine.

So, this year I have made a little chart to put on my counter, showing the extra Christmas Bling that I have to offer.



Starting after Thanksgiving, we will ask each customer if they would like a complimentary Christmas Extra.
They may choose one, per dog, of the extras pictured.
We will let them choose so that the customer will be able to tell us ahead of time if they do not want any extras on their dog.
The chart also helps, at this time of year, when you are not quite sure of your customers religious beliefs.
The last thing I want to do is to unintentionally offend someone.

It has always surprised me how some customers get almost offended by any bows being put in their dogs ears....any time of year.

This chart would actually be helpful all year round.
I will just take pictures of the extras offered for other Holidays and the summer time.

You could just take pictures of the actual extras, or of the extras on the dog.
I choose to take pictures of the extras on the dog, so that customers could see what each extra looked like on a dog.

Hope this helps. :)



Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ultimate Let Down

The disappointment!
The 'REALLY!!!?????'
The Nothing!
The 'it sticks with you for the rest of the day....sometimes the next day too....AND if you really have issues, it could stick with you forever!

What in the world am I talking about?

Okay....I am pretty sure that most every groomer can relate to this.....and if it hasn't happened to you, IT WILL!

It has happened to me a number of times over the years, usually with a new customer.
It happened to me Saturday, and the feeling from it never changes.

Okay, okay, I am finally going to explain.

My last dog of the day Saturday was a new customer with a Maltese.
The grooming instructions where 'do a puppy cut', which after more questions, turned out to be 'short but not shaved'.
The owner said that she was not picky about the groom, so do what I thought would make the dog look nice.
The hair on the body was a little over 4 inches long, with a tiny bit of matting on the hips and around where the harness touched the dog.
The head was pretty over grown, as if the head had been left much fuller than the body for the last grooming.
The ears were a little matted, but not bad.

As the owner tentatively handed me her dog, she kept repeating to the dog; "be nice, be nice, be nice."
She most definitely made me feel that her dog might be a problem.
I asked if another groomer had ever told her that her dog was hard to groom, or if her dog had ever bitten another groomer.
Her answer was that she didn't think so, but the dog had come home from a couple of groomings acting upset.

The groom was very simple.
I chose to use a #3¾ blade on the body, with a lighter touch and scissor on the legs.
The #3¾ blade  on the top of the head, blending over the ears and down the sides of the head, and scissor the face nice and round, and in proportion with the rest of the body.
I dematted the ears then took about ½ an inch off of the ears.

As I said, it was a very simple, easy groom.
The dog turned out to be very good, although I don't think anyone had ever used a HV drier on him before.
I had to talk him through that, but he learned fast that it was not hurting him.
The only thing that he protested about were having the nails clipped, and that was only a tiny protest.

I don't know why, but for some reason I was very proud of this groom.
I thought that, compared to the way the dog looked when he came in, he really looked cute.
Because he had come in with the long, overgrown, old man looking beard, I thought that the shorter round face really made him look more puppyish.

(Sorry I don't have pictures to show. I have become a little gun shy about showing pictures when I am telling a story about a particular customer. Without the pictures, I could be talking about anyone in the world. :/  )

Anyway, when the customer came to pick up, I took the dog up to the owner.
I came out of the grooming room to the lobby.
Mother and daughter were standing at the counter.
I walked over to the daughter (she was closest to me) and stopped.
And stood there....
And stood there.....
And stood there.....

Nothing!

No greeting to the dog.
No squeals of happiness to see the dog.
No oohs and awes.
They didn't even reach for the dog.
I had to eventually just put him down on the floor and hand the daughter the leash.

Nothing!

I don't know if I felt more sorry for the dog, or hurt that my cute groom was not even noticed.

Don't get me wrong.
I am not looking for praise...well, maybe a tiny bit.
I certainly want the owners to be happy with my work and the groom.

But, come on.....at least a smile, or a smile at the dog.
At least tell the dog he looks good.

I have no idea whether they liked the groom or not.
I walked back into the grooming room feeling down and defeated.
I was hoping that the owners would like the groom.
I was hoping that they would think that his face looked really cute.
I was looking forward to their reaction.

It's funny.....it seems that whenever I do expect (or hope for) a good reaction from a customer....I get nothing.
Everytime it brings me down.

But, on the other hand...I can almost ALWAYS rely on the very simple, short hair bath owners to tell me that I did an absolutely wonderful job grooming their dog. ;)

It is one of the crazy things about pet grooming.
At least I knew that that Maltese went home looking really cute. :)

So, if this happens to you once in a while, try not to get down, or upset about it.
Just remember that you did the best job that you could, and you made that dog feel good.


Friday, November 22, 2013

What Would You Do?...First Groom

I think that one of the most challenging parts of a grooming career, no mater whether you are a new groomer, or a seasoned groomer, is understanding an owners instructions for how they want their dog to be groomed.

Some owners know exactly how they want their dogs groomed, and have no problem describing what they want.
Other dog owners like to leave it up to the groomer to groom their dog any way the groomer wishes as long as the dog is clean and cut short. lol
Some other dog owners you have to ask a million questions, and drag the answers out of them, to find out how they want their dog to look.

Then there are the dog owners that I had in the other day.
The owners that confuse the heck out of you.

Whenever I have an owner come in, especially with  a new puppy, I listen to what they want done, or think that they want done, and then I describe to them exactly how I am going to groom their dog, giving them the opportunity to change something if they want.

This has always worked for me.

Till the other day.....




This 8 month old pup came for her first grooming.

Oh my gosh, isn't she darling?

She turned out to be the sweetest thing.

Great for the bath, the dryer, and the grooming.

Your dream puppy. :)



I listened to her owners instructions.
They seemed pretty clear.
She did not really want any length off of the body, but she did not like all of the messy hair on the pups legs, feet, and chest.
She also wanted the face cleaned up so that she could see her dogs eyes.

Seemed simple, right?



Until I described back to the owner exactly what I was going to do.

I told the owner that I would leave the hair on the dogs back, neaten up the hair on the underbelly and chest, shorten the hair on the legs and feet, and shape up the face.




I thought that I more or less repeated what she had just said to me.
I could tell right away that she didn't seem to like what I described.

I got the impression that the owner did not think what I described would make the dog look any different than it looked at the moment.
Some of the things she was saying made me feel like I had misunderstood her when she told me that she like the length on the pups body as it was.
The more we talked, the more I went back and forth feeling confused, to feeling like I was sure she would like what I described once she saw her dog done.




So, I ended up doing exactly what I described to the owner, with one added difference.

Even though I heard the owner say that she liked the length of hair on the body as it was, I also got the impression that she wanted some of it off, or neatened.

Soooo, after scissoring and neatening the entire outline of the dog, I also used my thinning shears on some of the fly away hair on the sides of the legs and the pups body.








That way the dog looked nice and neat without taking length off of the body.


I scissored the face up into proportion with the rest of the body, and neatened the ears.

There was only one problem.

I hated the way the ears looked.

If this pup were mine, I would handstrip, or shave the ears. (she has cute ears)

The hair on them was so thin and stringy, that they looked messy.

I decided to scissor the top 1/4 of the ear to the leather, leaving the long hair hanging down the middle of the ears. (almost like tassels)






 I thought that it made her ears look neater without taking away the length that the owner wanted.

I would keep this little lady in a second.

What pleasure she was to groom.








I guess that I made the right decision.
The owner was happy.
This little pup is now on a 6 week schedule. :)



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Product Review...Scissor Comb

As I have stated before, my reviews of products that I try are my opinions.
I try to talk about the pros and the cons that I found when using the product.
Hopefully my review will help another groomers decided whether or not they would like to try the product.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a link that another groomer had posted on one of the grooming forums.
She was curious about a product that she found on-line.
It was for Scissor Combs.
I clicked on the website, because I was also very curious about this product.
Because of the low price (at least I thought that it was low compared to so many other expensive grooming tools) I decided to try it out.





It took about a week and a half, but the Scissor comb arrived a couple of days ago.







The Scissor Comb came with instructions on how to put it on your scissors.





Before taking off the adhesive cover, I placed the comb against my scissors to see if I would need to cut the Scissor Comb to fit.

Yes, it can be cut to fit any size scissor.


After following the instructions, I stuck the comb to my scissors.

The comb is very light weight.

The adhesive also sticks immediately to the scissors.

So, you must make sure you have it lined up before you press the comb to your scissors.


I tried them out with my first dog of the day.

I have to admit it was a little awkward at first.

That could partly be because I am ambidextrous.

Meaning, I groom with both hands.

I am naturally left handed, but I scissor with my right hand.

Because of this, I usually use my left hand to comb while I am scissoring.

It makes a very nice flow when I scissor.
Comb, scissor, comb, scissor, without having to put my scissors down.
I though that the Scissor Comb could come in handy for those times when I have to hold a dog still with my left hand and can not comb, without putting my scissors down.

I have a feeling that a right handed groomer may benefit from the Scissor Comb more than me.
Mainly because I don't comb with my right hand.
That is why I found it very awkward to comb with the Scissor Comb in my right hand.



 At one point, I even tried switching the Scissor Comb to the other side of my scissors to see if it would not be as awkward to comb.

There was no problem combing, but the comb did get in the way with scissoring when placed on the wrong blade.




I had no problem removing the comb and trying it on the other side of the scissors.
The adhesive did leave a little residue. (I think that the longer the comb is on the scissors, the harder the comb may be to remove, and more adhesive may be left behind.)
I am pretty sure that a tiny bit of Goo-be-Gone would easily take care of that without harming your scissors.






Surprisingly, the Scissor Comb did not get in the way while scissoring the legs and body. (when placed on the scissors correctly)







The comb was so light weight that it did not add any weight to my scissors.

The comb was really nice when combing up the hair on the inside of the legs.





I wasn't that crazy about the comb when combing the body.

The comb did not glide through the hair as nicely as my medal comb does.

I found that it tended to get caught up in the hair when you tried to comb all of the way down to the skin.



As I said before, the comb did not get in the way when scissoring the body.

I lost count of how many times I reached for my medal comb.

Mainly because I kept forgetting to use the comb on my scissors.

Old habits die hard. :)





Most of the problems came when scissoring the topknot.

I tried using the Scissor Comb to comb up the topknot before scissoring.

I was able to comb the topknot, but the comb would get caught up in the  long hair. (there were no knots)

I was not able to comb the topknot out the way I like it before I start to scissor, so I did use my medal comb before I scissored anything.









Scissoring the top and sides of the topknot where no problem....







...but I was unable to hold and scissor the front of the topknot the way I normally would.

The Scissor Comb was in the way.







I needed to flip the scissors and twist my wrist in a way that I normally do not scissor.








Oh correction, I had no problem scissoring the right side of the topknot, but the Scissor comb did get in the way when scissoring my line over the top of the left ear.







Once again I needed to flip my scissors and wrist to get the comb out of the way.



I used  only the Scissor Comb to comb out the topknot while scissoring.

Again, it was a little awkward for me, but I guess with time I could get used to using the Scissor Comb.

I personally could not see using the Scissor Comb on a Standard Poodles topknot.

The teeth on the Scissor Comb are just too short to comb long hair.






After I finished the topknot with the Scissor Comb, I went over the topknot with my medal comb.

As you can see, The Scissor Comb didn't do a bad job, but the medal comb did bring up more hair that still needed some more scissoring.








I kept the Scissor Comb on my scissors all day.

I wanted to try it out on different coats.

It worked the best on a Goldendoodle Coat that I was scissoring.








The Scissor Comb seems to work best on thin, medium length coats.








As you can see, the teeth are not very long.

If you have to comb deep in the coat, the comb tends to get caught up and pulls the hair a little.









I will say that I am impressed that the comb rarely gets in the way while scissoring.









I have used it for two days now.
I find that, even though the comb is attached to my scissors at all times, I tend to forget to use it.
I naturally reach for my medal comb.

I also found today, that the comb also got in the way when I was trying to scissor the edges of a dogs ears leather close.
I didn't like that at all, it was dangerous to me.

                The Pros:                                                     The Cons:
~Lightweight                                                   ~Comb teeth too pointy and short
~Fits scissors well                                           ~Comb does not always glide
~Strong hold adhesive                                       smoothly through hair.
~Low cost                                                       ~Comb may tend to get in the
~For the most part, comb does not                     when scissoring around eyes
   get in the way of scissoring                              and ears.
~Do not have to put scissors down                  ~The comb is well made
   to comb hair.


As with any grooming tools, you either love them, or you don't.
I have several tools that I have bought over the years that are sitting in a cabinet not being used.
Not because they didn't work as intended, but because I didn't feel comfortable, or like using them.

Some groomers may find that they love using the Scissor Comb, others may not like it at all.
I have mixed feelings.
I like the idea of it, but as I said at the top of this post, because I don't normally comb with my right hand, it feels very awkward to me when I try to comb with the Scissor Comb.

Well, I guess when it comes right down to it, this reviews stinks.
I  have been no help at all.
Sorry about that. :/

The link for the Scissor Comb is at the top of this post.
Go to the website and check it out if you would like.
There is a video demonstrating the Scissor Comb for you to watch and decide for yourself.
I think that the price is reasonable.
I am not sorry that I bought one to try it out. :)


 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Makeover #20 Well kind of....

A very long time customer of mine lost her Miniature Poodle last year.
He lived a very long life.

The Poodle that passed was black with a really good coat.
Even as he got well into his teens, the coat stayed thick and full, and was still nice to scissor.
The owner liked him groomed with the pom-poms on all four legs, a nice full topknot and poodle tail.
Also very long ears that I was never allowed to trim.

My customer got another male Miniature Poodle.
This one is a chocolate.
Unfortunately, his coat leaves something to be desired.
He has been groomed several times now, and I was really hoping that his adult coat would be better than his puppy coat.





Sadly, his coat is nothing like his predecessors.

His owner is not happy that his coat is not as nice as their other Poodle.

So, I have to see if I can get those pom-poms to look full.








I was hoping that a good blow dry and brush out would help.

It helped a little bit.






I had to try to make a pom-pom out of this.

The hair is so straight, fine and soft.

I needed some help.




 So ,I pulled this off of my shelf.

Chris Christensen's Thick-N-Thicker.

I do not use it very often, because the smell of it is over powering.

By the time I finished this dog, I had a heck of a headache.

It does build volume and body.
It also helps to lift the coat without making the coat sticky, or weighing it down.







So, this went from this.......








....to this!

Okay, so it is not a major difference.







At least I have something to work with, to try get get some kind of pom-pom.





This is it.

It looks something like a pom-pom.

I sprayed the hair with Thick-N-Thicker and then blew dried the pom-pom again, brushing upwards, until the spray was dry.


I did the same with each pom-pom, only I think that someone out there really didn't want this dog to have pom-poms.

Or maybe this dog didn't want the pom-poms.

If you look closely at this pom-pom, you can see where he jerked his leg upward as I was clipping the leg.
I jerked the clipper away, but not fast enough.
I ended up clipping into the top of the pom-pom a little.








I sprayed the tail too.










Oh well....I tried.






I still think that he turned out cute.

Not sure if his owner will stick with the pom-pom cut.

That would be okay with me.

I think that he would look nice in a Lamb cut. :)