Home Grooming – We’ve All Made Mistakes

April 30th, 2020

Did you know that because of the current situation, home dog grooming is one of the top searched topics on various search sites?

People are needing to pay more attention to their dog’s coat, ears, eyes, and nails more than ever before. Home grooming is more popular (and necessary ) as dog owners can’t just drop their dog off at their groomer. As a result, people will also come to realise that dog grooming is, indeed, a very skilled profession that requires not only skills when it comes to clipping, scissoring, and hand stripping but also knowledge of a dog’s anatomy, behaviour, and animal first aid. Us dog groomers also have fast reflexes because dogs can move really fast when they decide to and the sharp equipment, that groomers use, makes it quite dangerous.

I remember my first pair of scissors… they were small paper scissors with an excessively rounded tip – perhaps kiddie paper scissors and they were tiny and blunt as my mum and I were terrified of hurting our Miniature Schnauzer Ajo. I guess that’s where my grooming career began (even though I didn’t like it at the time and for quite some time after).

There were a few reasons why I and my mum (as well as our dog 😂) found it very stressful:

1) We didn’t have the right equipment.

I’m talking mid/late 80’s in Slovakia. No proper hand stripping tools, scissors, shampoos, or clippers. My first-hand stripping tool was a special knife I bought in a pet shop and it was used for brushing angora rabbits. It was sharp and I didn’t know how to hold it properly so my thumb was always scratched and bleeding after hand stripping Ajo. 

The poor dog got scratched so many times and I won’t even mention the bald patches all over him 🙈. No wonder he never liked it and suddenly disappeared when he saw us getting the kitchen table and our equipment ready. Thank God he didn’t have as much coat as Schnauzers nowadays!!

2) We didn’t have the technique.

This was the main reason that he hated being groomed, why we hated doing it, and why it was an all-day event for all three of us. Mum and I were exhausted at the end of it and Ajo wouldn’t come into the kitchen for the rest of the day. No one told me to stretch the skin, to pick only a little bit of hair up at a time, or to hold it by the tip so I don’t pull out the undercoat. And in order not to scratch him… no one told me how to hold the knife correctly so that I don’t hurt myself by digging a hole into my thumb 🙄.

3) We didn’t bath our dog.

Do not bath your dog! We heard this so many times in the past and the truth was that shampoos were not as good as the ones you find these days. I remember there being only one shampoo in pet shops and it was an antiparasitic shampoo that smelled nasty like the smell of petrol or something similar. God knows what nastiness was in it! Because of this we only bathed our first dog when he rolled in something disgusting or if he had fleas.

I think that the old shampoos also stripped the coat of its oils which resulted in dry skin. Luckily, nowadays the choice is amazing ❤️. It’s still important though to do your research before buying one or if you need some advice to perhaps ask your groomer. 

4) We didn’t have any tick and flea repellents.

I don’t remember using any repellents on our first dog. I remember the flea-killing shampoo, mentioned above, and that we had a flea comb which we used to keep checking the coat on a regular basis. If we found any (which wasn’t very often) we gave him a bath.

And ticks? We found these quite a lot and we’d check him after each walk in the woods. If we found a tick, we’d pull it out and flush it down the toilet. We didn’t know about transmitted diseases back then and we didn’t know that fleas can be hatched in a carpet. I cringe now when thinking about it 🥴.

5) We brushed every day.

Talking about it now, our home grooming sessions seemed like one big disaster but at least we did one thing right – we brushed our dog every single day and every single evening. I or mum would sit on the floor and put a few tiny dog biscuits on our lap. While Ajo munched away, we brushed and combed him. He didn’t like it (and that’s why we had to bribe him) but he never ever turned on us and never tried to bite us – he just didn’t like it. Life would have been much easier and less stressful if we had had Calming Floral Spray back then lol.

What I’m trying to show you is that we all started somewhere and we’ve all made mistakes. At least we learn from them (we definitely should). Perhaps now that you have to groom your dog at home more often you’ll even discover a new passion or a set of new skills and maybe you’ll start thinking about a new career? Why not?

If dog grooming is something that you’re interested in check the Summit website for a suitable grooming school in your area. To be honest, I’m not sure how this will all play out but we’ll figure it all out.

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