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What dog grooming taught me.

I had a lovely time at Mastergroom , international dog grooming competition held in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire over the weekend.

Seeing all the lovely work in the competition ring reminded me of the times when I used to compete. My first competition was Pragobest, Prague in 2000. I took my mini Schnauzer, Indy, and to be honest I didn’t know much about preparation, timing, and many other things. At the time I had only once been at a grooming competition, and it was again Pragobest in 1998 – this competition was a breaking point in my dog grooming career, and made me realise this is what I want to do and that there is more to dog grooming than just clip off, short trims with comments “it’s ok, he is not a show dog”. That morning just before we, my mum, my dog & I, left the room I felt sick, my hands were shaking, and I was so nervous (I wish I had the Floral spray that time). Or excited? Who knows … have you ever realised that excitement and nervousness feel the same? Anyway, I finished Indy on time, and to my big surprise we got 3rd place! OMG! I was over the moon!! I was so excited I didn’t even ask for feedback … silly me! That day I started dreaming about winning Best in show at a grooming contest. While I lived in Slovakia I competed a few more times at Pragobest without placing, and it was an amazing learning curve. I borrowed an English Setter with a curly coat for hand stripping, crying after her owner; a matted standard Schnauzer for hand stripping with dirty feet and legs because she was chasing a cat that morning … I can laugh at it now 😊!

My first competition in the UK was a British dog grooming championship in 2005 where I competed with a Clipped Fox Terrier Lady and won 2nd place. Happy days! But honestly, hand stripping was the technique I wanted to compete with. So, in 2006 I entered a hand stripping class with Welsh Terrier, Bruce (half-brother of my Rosie). John brought him to me from his mum a day before to prepare him. And I remember that day like it was yesterday. I put him on the table and trimmed a few patches to see how the coat would come out and what it would look like. And then I started to cry because it looked like his cheeks would go bald … and I rung John crying. He reassured me we would be fine … and we were. We not only won the hand stripping class but also Best in show. My first Best in show! The same year, my Kerry Blue Terrier Kimi, Bruce & I won British groomer of the year. And the rest is a history…

Here are few things I have learned during my dog grooming career:

1/ Dream big and take little steps towards your dream every day. Every day in the salon I was working on my technique, my speed, my neatness. Analysing other peoples work. Taking photos, making notes, and using them.

2/ Do things that scare you – scissoring was scary for me for so many years. To improve my scissoring I got my Kerry Blue Kimi 14.5 years ago. Even though I got her to learn and practice my scissoring, I was still trimming her with comb attachments … too scared to do a full scissor trim. Then when I did my C&G Level 3 practical exam, I asked my examiner Zoe Duffy, if I could compete with a Kerry Blue but with comb attachments … she said yes, but you would be marked down on the technique … but her face was saying “why would anyone do that?!” (Or something like that, lol!) So one day I closed my eyes (not literally) and trimmed Kimi with scissors … the whole dog … a year later I won British groomer of the year with her. So be brave and persevere!

3/ Don’t listen to other people … or at least not all of them. You will come across people who will tell you, you should do something else, you can’t do this or that, you are too old, you are too young … When I opened my first salon in Slovakia, so many times I cried in my empty salon, praying for clients
… and slowly I built the business, the reputation, simply by following my passion, and not giving up. My parents used to tell me: you can’t have a job looking after dogs (at that time in Slovakia it was the reality, unless you were a vet) and I was happy to show them a few years later I could.

4/ Don’t take criticism personally. Take it as feedback, something you can learn from. It’s hard not to take it personally, because it makes our ego scream. But be honest with yourself, listen, be grateful and learn from it.

Jitka and Klaudia receive the award Grooming salon of the year from Chris Barrie

 

Jitka xx

Asian Style Miniature Schnauzer with Lisa Hart, July 8th 2018

Do you want to learn how to create the cutest Schnauzer face ever? Don’t miss this seminar!

Lisa Hart is a award winning groomer with 14 years of experience in dog grooming and handling dogs of all breeds. She very much enjoys and likes to specialize in Asian Fusion styles. She has won Asian Fusion classes at the British Dog Grooming Championship and Strictly Come Grooming with other placings at The Grooming Show in 2017 and 2018. In her busy schedule she still finds time to volunteer to groom at local rescue centres.

We have up to 15 places available for the morning seminar/demo for £45; 5 places are available on the afternoon workshop at £40. Combined places are discounted to £80
Fee is payable via PayPal to: enquiries@vitacanis.co.uk

Lunch an drinks are provided.

Pet-friendly shopping and cake!

 

 

To make the most of, and fully enjoy, the sunny weather we’ve had these last few days, Nicci, Sam, me & our dogs opted for a lovely walk to the Trentham Gardens.

Trentham Gardens is a beautiful place to walk your dogs and enjoy shopping and good food at the same time. Especially when the weather is warm, it makes such a difference for dog owners if they want to walk their dogs and do some shopping as well.

As a side note, please remember that when the weather is heating up it is more important than ever not to leave a dog in a car. I don’t think people realise that when the temperature outside is around 20 degree Celsius, inside, the cars’ temperature is well over 40! And this happens in minutes! As dogs don’t sweat, and they regulate their temperature by panting, in a small closed space like a car they will run out of fresh air really quickly …

To take advantage of the glorious weather, after our walk we decided to pop into Rawr  for our Style to Rescue committee meeting and enjoy some lunch at the same time. Dog friendly Rawr is definitely one of my favourite places to eat. Freshly made vegetarian/vegan food, juices, smoothies, delicious raw cakes, and the coffee … hmmm … divine!

Later on in the afternoon we took a short drive to Newcastle-under-Lyme to visit The Cakery and

to support the Great Guide Dogs Tea Party. In the Hound we met Elsa the Lhasa and her lovely owner Kelly from Paws across Britain. Paws across Britain is a wonderful blog where Kelly features dog friendly places such as shops, restaurants, bars, and other dog friendly places.

Elsa is the ambassador of the ORIJEN dog food that are one of the kind sponsors of our Style to Rescue dog grooming competition for rescue dogs (https://www.style2rescue.co.uk/). And we look forward to seeing her again at the show!

To finish the day off I bought 7 doggie ice creams, one for each of my dogs. Tinker and Adele enjoyed theirs in the car on our way home and the rest had theirs after our evening walk. Everybody really enjoyed the treat, only Jasmine struggled a bit … too much goodness in one small pot 😊

 

Jitka xx

How is your dog sleeping?

Yesterday I learnt about biphasic and polyphasic sleep and it fascinates me. I’ve always admired people like Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, T. Tesla and Leonardo Da Vinci, who achieved so much with only with few hours’ sleep. It seems like the secret to shorter sleep is napping? Ooh, and I love naps! My best time to have a nap (if possible) is on a Sunday afternoon. I’m thinking I might try this biphasic sleep so I can nap every day 😊 and see what it does to my productivity level??? Polyphasic sleep is common in many animals, including mammals. Our dogs are napping pretty much all day, and generally, dogs will sleep between 12 – 14 hours a day. Most of this is during the night, the same as their owners, and some sleep during the day, usually when the owner is at work.

Puppies sleep excessively after they’ve burnt their energy with running around, endless games, (and some naughtiness!), and older dogs tend to sleep a lot too, mostly because their metabolism is slowing down. You may even experience that your furry pensioner is sleeping less at night and more during the day. I experienced this problem with my 14-yearold Kerry blue terrier, Kimi. She used to sleep with us in the bedroom, but last November I had to move her to a spare room because of my husband. He’d had a major operation, and when he got back home, I didn’t want Kimi accidently jumping on his abdomen. To make it easier for Kimi to adjust to her new sleeping arrangement, I put our young Lakeland Terrier, Tinker, with her to keep her company.

She got used to the new set up straight away … but then she started waking up far too early! When she was getting up between 4:30 – 5 am it didn’t bother me too much, because it would make my day longer and that meant I could just do more of the things I enjoy doing! But when she started to wake up at 3 am, that was a little too much for me.

Another problem was, as soon as she woke up she was so active, and after she went out she was very demanding of her breakfast. And to be honest, she wouldn’t shut up until I fed her. Her barking would of course then wake up all the other dogs in the house … it was a vicious cycle!

To be fair to Kimi, I knew it was her old age kicking in, and it’s starting to look like canine cognitive dysfunction or doggie Alzheimer’s is now creeping into our lives. Knowing this, I started putting a few drops of Comfort Blend on her bedding in the evenings and a few drops on her chest as well after she’s been out first thing in the morning. She’s now started sleeping longer hours again, and she wasn’t so demanding when it came to her breakfast. Now that she’s back in our bedroom, she sleeps well until I wake up. Demanding her breakfast hasn’t stopped, but I just take it as a part of our new morning routine!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jitka x

 

Thank you Norbert Roland Photography for beautiful photos

How to Get Started a Greener Life for You & Your Dog

Every year Earth day is celebrated on April, 22nd.

But I think we should be “Earth conscious” every day!

I find it hard to get the balance and not feel too guilty if I buy something with extra plastic on it, if I don’t recycle something, or if I’ve used not very eco-friendly cleaning products etc. All these dilemmas in my head, it’s exhausting … but then I remind myself that I do my little bit in each moment, because it’s important to start no matter how small the steps are.

For example, in restaurants I’ve started to ask for no straw with my lovely G&T.

As a dog lover, I first started applying the natural approach on my dogs. That’s what we dog lovers do! Dogs first. Give them the best. Do the best for them. And then comes us.

Years ago I switched my dog’s diet to raw feeding and after a few bumps and mistakes I’ve now found the balance, and they just thrive on it. My old dogs, the puppies we raise, all of them. Even though I am a vegetarian (and I love my plant based diet!), I don’t have a problem feeding my dogs raw meat as I know I’m doing the best I can for them.

The same principle applies to other products I use on my dogs. They all need to be natural, eco-friendly and biodegradable … Tick Off for repelling ticks, Paw Butter to treat their paws, Ear Cleaner to treat their ears … as natural as possible. I also use grooming products like For All Dog Kind shampoos and marshmallow conditioner.

For cleaning the salon and my home, I like the Ecover products. However I did struggle to keep the hose hydro bath clean, and occasionally I needed to use bleach to clean it, and it was killing me. It was either bleach or I would have to buy a new hose regularly. Recently, though, thanks to my sister in Slovakia, I’ve discovered an amazing range of products called Eurona by Cerny. Their motto is: Ecology with pure philosophy. Their products are free of phosphate, formaldehyde, chlorine, perborate, and they are not tested on animals.

So, of course, I tried their product with Bleaching agent in my hydrobath. It contains active oxygen, and it cleans and kills mould, including 99.9% of bacteria, it doesn’t smell, and is very effective at removing stains, in drain cleaning, and whitening, etc. I use the product 3 times a day and you can see the result in the photos. I am planning to bring some of these amazing products to the UK, so keep eye on our website and Facebook page.

Jitka x

 

What People Say...

When we got home from the hospital with our new arrival it was clear that Perri, one of our miniature poodles, maternal instincts kicked in and went into overdrive. She was immediately acting like a mother separated from her pups and just wanted to care for the ‘naked puppy’. She has a history of being so motherly, even to the point that she has produced milk for puppies that aren’t hers even before she had a litter and has mothered every type of animal she could. She was panting, pacing and unable to relax for long at all. She could whine for England!

We tried other herbal remedies we had at hand for a previous anxious dog and nothing worked at all. She stopped eating and stressed herself into overheating too. Her stress was starting to impact the other dogs and she just couldn’t unwind. No matter if we worked off her energy with a walk and she wasn’t even interested in her usual mind games or call games. We also couldn’t offer long-lasting treats and chews too often as they gave her an upset stomach.

As soon as the Calming Floral Spray arrived I gave the bed a spritz and put some on her coat and the change was instant. She just got on her bed and fell asleep. She stopped panting and barely whines now, started eating again and she only does a bit of whining if the baby cries. We have now been able to positively reinforce her calm behaviour. I honestly can’t recommend this enough to people.
Natalie Griffiths