Let’s be real...grooming comes with a major list of headaches, most of which your groomer will never tell you about. But today we are sharing a few of the things groomers wish you knew.
Pets Nervous at Drop Off DO Calm Down. When your pet arrives at the salon, they are often shaky and nervous. But once mom and dad leave, they are usually fine. They become themselves again. They watch their family go, and then turn right around to head back with the groomer or take a spot on a comfy bed. We find it's best to make drop off short and sweet. We often compare it to drop off at pre-school. A long, drawn out, anxious departure does more harm than good. Although you want to shower them with affection and comfort and let them know it's "OK"…this actually reinforces their unstable behavior. In addition, if YOU are anxious and uneasy about leaving your pet, they will pick up on this. Talk to the groomer, say a quick goodbye and leave. It makes it a lot easier on the dog.
Different Breeds Present Different Challenges. Groomers work on pets of varying sizes and weights - from the tiniest of pups up to 150lbs+. The smaller breeds may be easier to lift, but can be hard to groom because they are so small. They may be more sensitive and delicate. They have such small paws and move quickly so nails can be a challenge. The very large breeds can be difficult if there is something they absolutely do not want to do - i.e. walk back to the tub. Large dogs with a double coat like Newfoundlands or Great Pyrenees make bath time more of a challenge as its more difficult to get the shampoo into their coat and ensure it's rinsed out completely. Some of them may even be too big for the grooming table and may have to be groomed on the floor. All of this plays in to the time it takes to groom each individual dog.
BRUSH Your Pup Between REGULAR Appointments. Most dogs need to be groomed every four to six weeks. If owners don't maintain a regular schedule, we deal with a lot of matted dogs. While short haired breeds only require occasional brushing - dogs such as Poodles, Doodles, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Bichons, and Pomeranians, among others, have coats that require daily brushing. If these breeds go too long without a good brushing, mats will form. To be blunt, matting is very painful for your pet. Think of it in terms of someone combing your tangled hair constantly. Any pulling or tugging on knotted hair makes the whole grooming experience uncomfortable for them. If they seem like they hate being groomed, this is probably why. If you brush at home frequently, you'll avoid that discomfort for them and avoid needing a complete shave down.
Grooming Can Be Risky. Pet grooming is probably the most challenging profession in the pet industry. Hand, wrist, and arm issues which stem from repetitive motion are common for groomers. So is back pain. And yes, bites are too. Groomers are often caring for frightened, uncooperative, or even aggressive pets. A great deal of patience and gentleness are required. In addition, groomers are at risk for inhaling all types of things that aren't good for them. There is a risk of respiratory issues including irritation, allergies, asthma and more. And with standing all day…groomers legs and feet suffer.
Many Dogs Don't Like Their Paws Touched. A dog can be the happiest dog on and off the grooming table until it's nail trimming time. There are certain dogs that really don't like their feet touched -mostly smaller breeds. If that's the case, it's helpful to spend time touching their feet (including their paws, nails, and pads) at home to help them get used to it. It could help avoid a potential bite to the groomer.
We Don't Play With Puppies All Day. Grooming can be challenging…especially when a dog has anxiety. We have to calm them down and take things slow. A groomer can't always just pick up a dog and start to work on it. Anxious dogs require extra time. Pet groomers have an ability to connect with an animal and convince them to trust them. A calm, confident groomer will encourage pets that they are not in any danger. It's a process that takes time.
There's a Reason Grooming is Expensive. Many people comment on how expensive it is to groom their pet in comparison to their own haircut. But what we do takes a lot longer than a color service or a haircut for you. Most grooms consist of bathing the entire dog, cutting the nails, combing out the hair, cleaning the ears, expressing anal glands, etc. If a dog is very matted, it can take hours. Many people are very surprised at how long it can take. A very easy groom can take two hours, but others can take five or six.
Although grooming can be a challenging profession, it's a labor of love. We do it because we truly love animals. We form deep attachments to our clients. We enjoy seeing their names on our books each day. We love their hugs, their tail wags, and how excited they are to see us. It makes it all worth it in the end. Thank you for trusting us with the care of the furry members of your family.