Here are some things your groomer would love for you to know!
1. Brushing is more important than bathing.
Bathing in between grooms is great, especially if you are using a good shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for dogs. But, if you are going to bathe Fluffy, you must first detangle his coat. And re-detangle his coat once he is dry(or while he is still wet.)
If you have to choose between brushing or bathing, I always tell my clients to opt for brushing/combing. Getting the tangles and dead undercoat out stimulates healthy coat growth and also knocks out a lot of dirt and dander as well, and keeps Fluffy cooler and looking good. A bath is not really a necessity, especially if your dog is groomed regularly.
Of course, if Fluffy decides to give himself an all over spa treatment in the local mudhole and you must bathe him, make sure you brush him out completely before or after (or both). Otherwise, your good deed is going to turn into a nightmare for you, Fluffy, and the groomer. You see, tangled hair gets tighter and more tangled each time it gets wet. And, if you have a double coated dog, like a golden retriever or german shepherd, the dead undercoat collects like a smelly wool coat if not brushed out on a regular basis. This leads to matting, which can pull on your dog’s skin and cause problems, and that can lead to a good old fashioned shave-down at his next grooming appointment.
2. Don’t drag out your goodbye.
Parting is such sweet sorrow. But the reality is, your dog easily picks up on your stress. When dropping your dog off at the grooming shop, keep things lowkey and don’t make a big production of saying goodbye.
I see it a lot in my shop: Mrs. Owner hugs her dog, professing her love and promising to come back VERY SOON! Fluffy knows she’s leaving, and starts to fuss a bit. Mrs. O pauses at the door to yell back that he’s a good boy. Fluffy starts to whine. Mrs. O rushes back in to give him one more hug- that’ll make him feel better, right? But as she moves towards the door again he starts to bark and lunge at the end of his leash. She glances at me with concern and maybe a little suspicion. “Why is he so upset?” I assure her he will be fine, and she reluctantly leaves. Fluffy sniffs once at the door and then turns to me with a doggy smile and a tail wag, ready to get on with it.
The better option is to bring Fluffy in and let the groomer greet him, quietly discuss what you want done, and leave without looking back. No, it doesn’t make you mean to skip the big goodbye, it makes you an owner who understands how to minimize stress for your dog.
3. Regular grooming is really a good thing.
I totally understand trying to stretch out grooming appointments to save money. But the reality is, regular grooming is the best way to keep your dog’s coat healthy and clean. Not only that, but many dogs get stressed when they are groomed only sporadically. The trip to the grooming shop is a strange, alien torture session that they must endure with lots of shaving and tugging on tangled coats- ouch! Can you blame them? Regular grooming appointments, on the other hand, become something they expect and can tolerate much better, since their coats will be much less tangled with more frequent care.
4. Prepare your dog for life outside of his house.
One thing I tell all my new puppy owners is this: The best thing you can do for your puppy (or grown dog) is to prepare them for anything that might happen in the future. What do I mean by this? Well, your dog probably at some point will be at the groomer’s or the vet’s for an extended visit. They will probably be crated (or in a dog run.) So crate train your dog, even if you don’t expect to keep your dog crated at home. It’s an important skill to have, as a dog. Also, play with your dog’s toes. A lot. And his ears. And practice opening his mouth and examining his teeth and tongue. Practice holding his head still in your hand. Clean the gook out of the corners of his eyes. Of course, make it a positive experience for him, with lots of praise and treats. That way, if/when these things happen in moments of stress, like his first haircut, or having a bone unstuck from his teeth, he will be used to being handled in this way and better able to tolerate it from a stranger.
5. There’s a reason we won’t let you stay.
And it’s not that we don’t want you to see us make any mistakes! I promise, the main reason any good groomer wants you to leave your dog in her hands is because if you stay, your dog will be trying to get to you the whole time. I need Fluffy to give his attention to me so I can safely use my very sharp grooming tools safely. If he is struggling to get to his owner, he could get cut with shears or the clippers, and no one wants that! I will also admit to a little stage fright- I am honestly more likely to make a mistake if I feel like someone is staring at my every move. I used to groom in a shop that had a viewing window for the outside customers and it made me so very NERVOUS! I much prefer to be one on one with a dog, unless there is a good reason for the owner to stay, like a medical condition or extremely scared dog.
6. If there is ANYTHING don’t like, or don’t understand, please ask!
Any groomer worth her salt wants you to be 100% satisfied every time you leave the shop. Unfortunately, we are only human, so sometimes there will be a miscommunication and we may leave the coat length too long, or we will forget to mention that big matt we had to shave off your dog’s ear, leaving it mostly bald.
When you pick up your dog, or even later after you are home, if there is anything that leaves you wondering, please ask us about it. Any groomer should be happy to fix a problem if you call within twenty-four hours of your appointment, or explain what happened if things turned out different than you expected. If it is something that can’t be fixed this time, like a coat trimmed too short, we should be happy to make a note of it for next time!
I’d love to hear from you- please comment below if you have any good tips for going to the groomer’s, or if you have any questions on the whole grooming process. And don’t forget to subscribe to get updates from Shiny Healthy Dogs!