About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hi Everyone!

Not sure if anyone is still checking in on my blog, I have been gone a while now.

The past two months have been a roller coaster ride, and just for the record, I hate roller coasters.

We buried my father this past Wednesday, and we said a tearful 'see you soon' to my 20 year old son yesterday as he left for 3 months of Boot Camp five months a head of schedule.

The last two months have been filled with dealing with many different people in respect to my fathers health and care.
EMT's, Nurses, Doctors, Technicians, Therapists, Supervisors, Social Workers, Shock Trauma Team, Administrators, and did I mentions Doctors and more Doctors?
Most of those professionals were just that, very professional, helpful, kind, and informative.....some were not.
Being a Professional, in a customer service based business, I found myself being very sensitive to the way my Father, my sister and myself were treated.

I have talked many times in my blog posts about how important I feel it is to respectfully talk to and educate our customers.
In my book no question is stupid.
The question may seem like common sense to the professional, but if the customer (or family member of the patient) asks a question, it is not common sense (or a stupid question) to the person asking the question.

There was nothing more degrading than to have a so called professional look at me as if I had just asked the dumbest question on earth, or answer my question in a tone of voice as if they were talking to an imbecile.
Sometimes I would ask a question that I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to, but I just wanted to be reassured that what I thought was right.
Sure, the answers were pretty common sense answers, but I just needed that professional to confirm the answer for me.

That is the way I deal with my customers.
No matter how stupid some of their questions may seem to me, I always answer them respectfully, as if they just asked me a very important question.
Of course I know more than my customers, I should, I am the professional.
I am there to help educate them, just as all of the professionals that I dealt with the past couple of months were supposed to be there to help educate me.

It saddens me to read some of the posts on grooming groups when a groomer will make fun of a customer who they felt asked a really stupid question, and the groomer responded in a rude and insulting way, and on top of that, the groomer felt justified to do so, because of how stupid they felt the question was.

After my experience of the last two months, I will always make sure that I answer every question my customers ask as respectfully as I can, and never make them feel stupid.

Okay, I am climbing down off of my soapbox now.
How's that for my first post back?
Sorry, had to get that off of my chest.

Trying to move on....

I am looking forward to getting back to writing again.
I am also looking forward to this coming weekend.
My daughter Jessica and I will both be going to Groom Expo in Hershey again.
We both need this break and we really enjoy the Expo.
I will be competing with my Dachshund/ Bichon in the Salon Freestyle, and my daughters Bichon in the Abstract Runway.
Most exciting of all...Jessica and I will be competing together in the Rescue Round-up Invitational.
We plan on having some much needed fun. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cute Face How-To

I have been asked to show how I did this face on my Toy Poodle.

This is a fairly easy face to do.

It would be a great face to do on dogs whose owners don't want the whole face shaved, but want around the eyes short.

It is also a great cut for dogs whose beards are matted, but you want to save some hair on the face.

Or those dogs that come in with food and mats in their beard and around their mouth.

For my dog here, I used a #15 blade against the grain.

I clipped all of the way up the throat and chin, taking the entire beard off.

Make sure to hold the upper lip hair out of the way while clipping the chin.

Clip from the ear to the corner of the eyes just like you would when shaving a Poodles clean face.

 When doing this type of face on other breeds, I have also used a #5F against the grain, or a #7F with or against the grain.

It all depends on the type of coat and how thick of thin the coat on the face is.

I shave out under and between the eyes, going about a quarter of the way down the muzzle.

How far I clip down the muzzle depends on how full I want to leave the mustache and how long the muzzle is.

I stopped shaving at the corner of the mouth.

All washed, blow dried and ready to scissor.

My goal is to scissor the mustache to give it a dome look on top of the nose.

I start by combing all of the hair on the muzzle up.

You want the hair to be either standing up or sticking out sideways.

It will depend on the type of hair as to how much it will stand up.

As you slowly shorten the hair to shape, the hair may stand up better for you to shape it.

I like to start scissoring at the back of the mustache, to scissor the hair away from the eyes and shape the line from the top of the muzzle to the corner of the lip.

This is the type of line I will be scissoring.

Next, I scissor the top and sides of the mustache, going for a round shape.

I scissor a little hair at a time, every once in a while combing the hair up again and then scissoring a little more to shape.

I like to think of my scissoring as sculpting.

Scissoring a little at a time helps you to shape what you are scissoring.

 Sometimes we have a vision in our heads about what we think something should look like, and we take that first cut of hair that we think needs to come off only to find that we have cut too much.

That is why I like to scissor small amounts of hair at a time, taking more off as I need to.

Does that make any sense?
I hope so. :)

Now I scissor the bottom of the mustache.

How short you take it is up to the groomer.

On my guy, I take it up to just below the lip line.

On other dogs, and dogs with messy mouths, I have taken the mustache up very tight to the lip line.

Next, I comb all of the hair forward towards the nose.

Then I scissor and shape all of the hair in front of the nose.

I shape all of the way around the front of the mouth and the top of the nose.

I like to round off the front of the mustache just like the back of it.  

 This is what it looks like from the side.

This is what it looks like straight on.

(This picture is from my guys last grooming, because I forgot to take a front picture of him from the grooming session pictured above. :/ )

Hope this helped.  :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesdays Tip #61: Before The Furminator

Once upon a time there was no tool called 'The Furminator'.

I was there...in that 'once upon a time'.
I groomed for years without a Furminator.
My bank account wishes that I came up with the idea for the Furminator.
After all, how many times, while using a simple blade to do the same thing that the Furminator does, did I think to myself; "I wish there was an easier way to hold this blade."

That thought had to have crossed my mind at least a few times, especially when my hand would cramp up while using the blade to card on a large job.

I was very excited when The Furminator tool came onto the grooming seen.
I saw the first one used at Groom Expo.
Then I saw what they were charging for it.....:(
I didn't get one the first year they came out.
After all, I could do the same thing holding a simple blade.

I did eventually break down and buy one, mainly for the fact that my hand does not cramp up using it.

I do know that there are groomers out there that refuse to buy The Furminator because they refuse to pay what they feel is too high a price for it.
So I am going to give a tip on what I used to do to card a dog before 'The Furminator' was invented.

First, for anyone who is wondering; what is carding?

Carding a coat is to remove  the undercoat, mainly on short and medium coated dogs.

You can use a simple #10 or #15 blade.

 Hold the blade with the back of the blade facing you.

Place the teeth on the coat at a 45 to 90 degree angle.

I hold it at an angle that is comfortable in my hand.

With a gentle pressure, run the teeth of the blade with the growth of the coat.

 The teeth will run over top of the top coat and pull out the undercoat.

This method also works really great on cats with short to medium length coats.

The dog in this picture is a Beagle.

Running a slicker over this dog gets little to no coat out, where as using the blade to card removes a lot of the shedding coat.

I also like using the carding method on some Spaniels, Goldens and Cockers that have that very soft, fuzzy, ugly hair that grows on some of them.

The Spaniel in this picture has some of that soft fuzzy hair on her legs.

 I could just scissor it tight to the leg, but the fuzzy texture of the hair will still show.

I want it to look more natural and like the rest of her hair.

I take a few gentle swipes over the area with the fuzzy hair.

I use just enough pressure to get all of the way down to the skin, but not scrape the skin.

The teeth of the blade works great to grab that fine fuzzy hair.

Now the fine fuzzy hair is gone and the natural coat lays more nicely.

There are also carding knives available to groomers.
I don't use them, because I have never found any left handed ones.
Plus, those little knives tend to cramp up my hands.
The clipper blade works just fine for me. 

Hope this tip helps.  :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tip #60: Cheap Mat Splitter

Hi Everyone!
It has been a very long month.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who left the nice comments on my last post.
It is amazing how fast someones life can turn around.
My Father has gone from living in his own home and driving to a Hospital stay, then rehab, and now will be moving into Assisted Living with 24/7 care.
I am very thankful that I found him when I did.
I am also very grateful that he still knows who I am, even though everything else is so mixed up in his head.
I had hoped to bring my Father home to live with me, but unfortunately he will require around the clock care.
I am also very lucky that I found a beautiful, very caring place for him to live that is close to my home so that I can see and check on him often.

Once again, Thank You for all of your good wishes! 

On to Tuesday's Tip:

I know that a lot of groomers prefer to just cut or clips mats out of, or off of a dogs coat.
There are also groomers out there, like me, who like to save a coat, face, ears, or tails.
Many groomers have their own way that they like to demat a coat.

My tip today is for using a tool that will help split large mats into smaller mats so that they will be brushed out more easily.

There are many groomers that like to use mats rakes.
That's fine as long as groomers are very careful while using them.
Personally, I don't care for them.
Too many blades to worry about getting caught up with the skin that the mat is pulling.

I like the single blade mat splitter.

(Don't ask me why I have three of them. ??)

I feel like I have more control using just the one blade.

I also know exactly what and where that one blade is cutting at all times. 

 This single blade mat splitter only costs around $5, but there is one problem.

It is hard as heck to find replacement blades for it.

The blades are small, narrow razor blades that are sold in a cartridge (as shown are).

These blades have to be changed fairly often, because they tend to lose their sharpness quickly, but they are great when they are sharp.

The splitter goes through the mat like a hot knife through butter.

It is also a very dangerous tool, and must be used very slowly and carefully, preferably on a dog that does not jump around.

Also, the blades, when you can find them, are not cheap.
If you use the splitter a lot and want to keep it sharp, it can turn into and expensive tool.

There is a cheaper alternative....

A letter opener......yes, I said a letter opener.

Not just any old letter opener.

It has to look something like the one pictured here.

This one came from Wal Mart for a whooping .97 cents.

You want a letter opener where the blade is surrounded by plastic.

The orange line shows the part of the letter opener that will be between the dogs body and the mat.

The plastic point helps glide the blade through the mat.

 This dog has been bathed and blow dried.

Most of the mat easily brushed out while fluff drying, but there are still a few larger mats that need to be split into smaller mats so that they can be brushed out more gently.

 The pointy tip of the letter opener goes down behind the mat, between the mat and skin.

**Always make sure that the blade is facing out, away from the dogs body.

With the grooming mat splitter tool (shown in the above pictures), all you need to do is get behind the mat and pull the blade through.

With the letter opener it is a little different.

It is best to use a picking motion.

Down, up, down, up.

Push the blade down into the mat and than pull back up.

 Down, up, down, up.

**Always away from the dogs body. Never use sideways.

  Now the mats are smaller.....

...... and much easier to brush out.

 The mat is gone and there is no hole in the coat that would be left if it had been scissored or clipped out.

Here is a quick video of me using this inexpensive letter opener as a mat splitting tool:


I feel that the letter opener is a little safer than the Mat Splitter Tool, but it is still a razor blade and must always be used very carefully.
Always make sure that you are only cutting through mat and not pulling skin up into the blade.

Because this letter opener is so cheap...even if it dulls after using it on only one dog (big job)...you can easily charge the customer an extra dollar for the use of the demat tool.
Throw it away and grab a new letter opener for the next demat job.

Hope this tip helps someone. :)