Tips How To Talk To Your Groomer And Get What You’re After

December 19th, 2019

Does your fur-baby ever come back from the salon looking nothing like you expected? Are you sure you communicated properly with the groomer?

Below are some tips on how to talk to your groomer and get what you’re after 🙂.

I’ve been in the dog grooming industry for over 20 years now and even though I’ve retired, I’m still very much involved. I rent my salon to 3 very talented ladies, do seminars, teach one on one, and exhibit my products at grooming shows. On top of this I, of course, still trim my own dogs. Am I the only one who feels that they can’t keep up with how fast their dog’s hair grows 🙈?!

Over the years while talking to other groomers, it’s always the same stories that come up no matter what country you live in… the same misunderstandings, and the same requirements and frustrations.

At this time of the year, dog groomers are under a lot of pressure because everybody wants their furry friend to be smart for the festive season. They work tirelessly, for many long hours and some have no days off. Been there, done that… not anymore.

To make everybody’s life easier, clear communication is key while also remembering that good communication is a two-way street.

Your dog groomer should ask you open-ended (instead of yes/no) questions about your dog and the style you require. Follow these open-ended questions with more direct questions because this can help ensure that you and your groomer understand each other clearly.

After examining the coat, your groomer will ask you what length of coat you would like (assuming that the dog is well brushed).

“ Short but not too short”

Not a clear answer. Short is anything between 3mm to 2”.  Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the exact length so your groomer may show you the blades and comb attachments to help you to choose.

“ Don’t make him look like a poodle.”

Fellow groomers hear this sentence far too often from crossbreeds owners. This is sometimes very difficult, especially if your cockapoo, schnoodle, or labradoodle has a very curly coat like one of his parents or grandparents… the poodle. Yes, the face and feet don’t have to be shaved but the coat on the body and legs will look like a poodle. Also, with age, the coat usually gets more curly and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Life is too short not to fret over things that cannot be changed. We need to learn to adjust your expectations and change our outlook. Then we don’t waste moments that could have been great ones.

“The last groomer shaved him.”

If you take your dog to a reputable and caring groomer and he/she shaves your dog, there is usually a reason for that. This reason is most likely, a matted coat.

Matting refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat. If a coat is not properly and/or frequently brushed, loose and live hair becomes embedded in large masses. Some coat types also matt easier and quicker than others. Harsh coats don’t matt as easily as the wool coats of a poodle or bichon, or the mix wool coat of a cockapoo and doodle.

There are two main reasons your groomer will suggest clipping:

1) If your dog won’t tolerate de-matting it’s the only sensible thing to do. De-matting solid knots is not only painful (imagine you have dreadlocks and you try to brush them out) but it also damages the coat.

2) If the coat is solidly matted and it looks like felting. This results in it being impossible to penetrate the coat with water, shampoo, and conditioner.
After all this, the good news is that the coat will grow back and while it’s growing you can systematically brush and comb your dog. Check my blog on how to look after different types of coats.

Is brushing your dog stressing you and your dog out? Why not try Calming Floral Spray. Many groomers use it in their salon with great results. I frequently use it on our puppies when teaching them to be brushed, bathed, and trimmed and it really does work!

“I want him to look like the dog in this picture”.

Another common requirement that can cause a lot of misunderstanding. When we buy a certain breed we all want it to look a certain way and there’s nothing wrong with that. What we don’t realise (me included, years ago) is how much work is involved in creating this definite look. Let’s take a wirehaired Fox terrier for example… neat and tight jacket, fluffy and snow-white legs, rich red/brown, and even richer black markings with a crispy beard and short sharp eyebrows, creating the typical expression for long-legged terriers. When we see a photo like this we need to realise that there are hours and hours of hard work that people put into this.

These dogs will be coat stripped weekly (the technique is called rolling), sometimes even twice a week. They’ll have regular bathing and conditioning of the furnishing and will be hand stripped as well. It also has to be accepted that the dog will be stripped bald once or twice a year. This is a very short and simple description about what is required for a show terrier and I’m not even going to start on the different styles for poodles and other breeds and their coat maintenance!

If you’re not showing and you don’t want to put that much effort into the whole process, then you have to compromise.

This is where clear communication between you (as a dog owner) and your groomer is important. Your groomer should happily show you how to brush and comb and what shampoo and conditioner to use and how often etc. They should also offer bathing in-between haircuts and tidying up but then it’s your responsibility to do your bit in between too. The more effort you put into your dog’s coat maintenance, the more likely your groomer will be able to create the style you always wanted for your dog.

“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others”.

Anthony Robbins

Jitka xx

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