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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Would You Do?

When an owner asks you to clip their dog short enough for the groom to last  3 months.


 This little one was in for her third groom.

She had her first groom in February, a hand scissor cut.

Her second cut, in March, was another hand scissor cut.

Her owner does a wonderful job of keeping her combed out.


She was in again today for her third appointment.
This time her owner wanted to cut her short.
Short enough for the cut to last three months.






It killed me to clip this coat.

She looks so cute when she is hand scissored.







So, what blade?
How short should I take her?
How fast will her hair grow?

What would you do?

What blade would you use?

So, what did I do?






I chose to use a #4F blade.

I just could not bring myself to go shorter than that.









I told the owner that we would see how long it took for this cut to grow out.

She could go even shorter next time if she wanted.




As for the face...nothing short of shaving it would stop it from growing out before the three months were up.

Even though the 'before' is from the dog growing out of a longer clip, around the corner of the eyes were scissored just as short as in the 'after' picture.

The 'before' picture is only 4 weeks growth.

We told the owner that no matter how short we took her around her eyes, the face cut would not last three months.



I think she turned out cute, but I still liked her longer cut. :-)


Just a note:
I am working on the step by step grooming posts, but have found it a little harder to get my pictures.
My oldest son took most of the pictures while I groomed for my blog.
He has now moved on to a new career, so I have to relay on my husband or younger son, and they are busy with their own jobs at the shop.
It has been crazy busy lately, which is a good thing.
I hope everyone else is busy with the spring grooming season also. :-)


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Product Review: Half Moom Comb

To be exact; Utsumi® Half Moon Asian Fusion Combs.





 As you can see in the picture, this is a curved stainless steel comb.

It is a 6.5 inch comb.









This comb is extremely thin.

It is also the lightest comb (this size) I have ever held and used.


It is also the most expensive comb I have ever bought!!




I will admit that I had read about this comb about six months ago.
The reviews from groomers that used them were mostly very good.
I wanted to try one, but the price.....

I just could not talk myself into paying that much for a comb.

Until last month, when my sharpening guy returned our HV dryer after he repaired it.
I don't even remember how we started talking about combs, but he sells this comb.
He had one with him (probably more lol) smart guy. :)
We talked about the comb.....oh, that's right, I remember now.....I am the one who asked about the comb.
I just wanted to know if he had heard any feed back about this Half Moon comb and if the feed back was good.
After we talked awhile, he asked if I would like to see one.

I was amazed at how thin and light it was.
I like light combs.
I thought that I already had a pretty light, thin comb, but this comb is super light weight.
Even though I liked the feel of this comb, I was still hemming and hauling over the price even though my sharpener was offering it for $6 to $8 cheaper than other places.

In the end I broke down and bought one.
I started using it right away.

And.....

I was not at all sure that I liked it.

It felt so different in my hand from what I was used to.





I mean I have collected many combs over the years.

Some hanging on my wall behind my table.




Some in my tool box.

But, I had one special comb that I used all the time.

I could pick up a comb blindfolded and immediately know if it was my special/favorite comb or not.




This Half Moon comb felt so different in my hand.

Sometimes I almost felt as if it was too light.

I also wasn't really sure that I noticed any difference in combing the hair with this comb than with my other (favorite) comb.



I mean, I did notice that it fluffed up the hair nicely for scissoring, but I thought that my other comb also did a nice job.

Good grief.....did I just spend way too much for this comb?

I admit, I only used it a couple of days before I went back to my old comb.
A week went by, and I was pissed at myself for spending so much on one comb.
I was also a little ticked at myself for giving up on it so fast.
So, I forced myself to put my 'old favorite' comb away, out of my reach.
Away from my table so that I would not automatically reach for it.

Then I used only the Half Moon comb for every dog.
By about the third day it felt more comfortable in my hand.
I was starting to get used to it.
I really liked it for faces.
But, I still felt like I was not seeing that much of a difference from my old comb.
At least not enough difference to justify what I paid for it.

So, for a little over two weeks the Half Moon comb was the only comb that I used.
Then I came in one day and my new comb was not where I normally store it for the night.
I could not find it anywhere.

What the heck!
How could it just disappear like that?

I had just used it on my own dog right before we had left the previous day.
As I looked and looked  I felt sick to my stomach.

To be honest, I was still hung up on the cost of that comb, and all I could see was money disappearing instead of a silly comb.

I looked everywhere!
I was even ready to go through the trash.
I was afraid the comb was so light, it had been sucked up in the vacuum at the end of the day.

I didn't have time to look anymore, I had dogs waiting to be groomed, so I pulled out my trusty favorite.
I was still upset about the comb missing, but I would just use my favorite comb till I found the Half Moon comb, or whatever little Elf had taken it would bring it back.

So, I started grooming with my trusty old favorite comb, and wouldn't you know, I immediately notice a difference.
A big difference.
My old favorite comb was not picking up the hair, or combing out the hair the way the Half Moon comb had been.

How did I not notice this before?

As the day wore on I was missing that silly, expensive comb more and more.
I could not believe how different my old comb was to the new one.
Now, going back to the old comb, I could see how it just did not pick up and separate the hair as well as the Half Moon comb did.
I had also gotten very used to the very light weight of the Half Moon comb.

 Did I mention that I really missed it for the faces?

I felt much better about how much I had spent on the comb (although I still think it is over priced, just my personal opinion)
There was only one problem.....I could not find the darn thing!!!

I looked again before we left that evening but still could not find it.

I tried to will that comb to show up the next day.
I told that comb that it better be back on my table by the time I get into work the next morning.

So, was it on my table the next morning?

Of course not, but I could wish couldn't I?

I was determined to find that comb the next day.
I did not want to use my old comb again.
I really wanted that Half Moon comb back!

Again I looked and looked.
I moved things.
I moved things that it couldn't possibly be under.
Where was this darn comb?
How could it just disappear like that?
Just when I had gotten used to it and really liked it.....I lose it!

Then I dropped a leash that I was hanging up.
I dropped it behind a fan.
A fan that I had picked up and moved several times in my search for my missing comb.
My eye caught a glimmer of shinny silver.

Could it be?!

No??!??

I had picked that fan up several times the day before, and just a few minutes earlier, and that comb was not there!

It was now!!

There it was, nestled between the fan and its base!

I didn't care that it had been right under my nose all along.
I had found it!

I was actually kind of happy that I misplaced it for a day.
I found out just how much I liked it.



Just to give you a small example of what this comb does.

At least the best that I can do with just pictures.

This little Poodle has an awful coat.

Believe it or not this Poodle has been bathed, blow dried and combed out.

Combed with my regular comb.



All of the tiny natty knots are gone and my regular comb glides smoothly through this coat even though it still looks a little clumpy.

After I completely combed this Poodle with my regular comb (shown in the picture) I used the Half Moon comb to comb through the coat again.








This is what the coat looked like after I combed through it with the Half Moon comb.

Can you see the difference?




Maybe this is better.




< Regular Comb
















<Half Moon Comb









You can see the difference in the way the two combs comb out the same coat.
Using the Utsumi® Half Moon Comb does a much better job of separating the hair giving it more volume and making it much easier to get a nice finish.







The Half Moon Comb also catches hold of more hair on faces.

It allows you to comb the hair up and out to get a nicer and even scissor finish.







I have found two Cons to this comb so far.

One: The teeth are so thin and fine on this comb that I could see someone, who is heavy handed, using too much pressure while combing causing them to scratch the skin, or tearing the skin on a ear flap.
I hold all of my tools with a light touch, so this has not been a problem for me.
I will say that I have picked the darn comb up a couples of times and one of those very thin fine teeth have gone up under my fingernail.....ouch!!

Two: (This is a personal opinion) It is an expensive comb! They run about $80! Yes, you read it right.

Do I feel it was worth the money I paid?

Lets just say that I am not sorry that I bought the comb now.
It has become my go to comb.
I do really like it.

If you get a chance to go to a Grooming Expo, look for this comb.
Pick it up and feel it in your hand.
Check it out for yourself.

To me, grooming tools are a very personal thing.
Combs, brushes, scissors, and blades are all different.
Different groomers like different brands of the same tool.
I have seen groomers using brushes that I can't stand using, but they love the brush.

Some groomers may love this comb the very first time they try it.
Other groomers may need to force themselves to use it to get used to it. (like I did)

If you are interested in investing in one of these combs, my sharpener 'Blue Stallion Sharpening' sells the Utsumi® Half Moon Comb for $73 (free shipping at this time).

**I do not get anything from the Utsumi® Company for writing about their comb.
Nor do I get anything from my sharpener for mentioning his website.

So, if you have already heard about this comb, but was not sure if you wanted to sink the money into one, hopefully this post will help with you make up your mind. :-)


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SNEEZE!!

Shih Tzus....

I like Shih Tzus...

I used to own a Shih Tzu (well he was a mix but mostly Shih Tzu).....

A good portion of our clientele are Shih Tzus.

I am sure that most groomers out there also groom quite a few Shih Tzus, so they will completely understand what I am talking about when I say the 
'Shih Tzu sneeze'.

Every groomer has experienced it at one time or another.
More than likely they have experienced it every time they have groomed a 
Shih Tzu.

Now, if you are not a groomer and you are wondering; "What the heck is a 
'Shih Tzu sneeze'?"

Well, just let me explain.




This is a Shih Tzu.

This little ones nose is not as squished as some. 

Many Shih Tzus have very squished noses that are very close to the eyes, with several folds between the eyes and nose.








It takes a lot of concentration to scissor around a Shih Tzus eyes and nose.

The groomer is always saying a little prayer that the Shih Tzu will sit still long enough to scissor the hair from around the eyes safely.




The groomer also always prays that the Shih Tzu will not do this!

Lick!

A groomers worst nightmare.

You can see why we groomers are so busy concentrating, that we temporarily forget about the 'Shih Tzu sneeze'.





So, picture this....

The groomer holding the Shih-tzus chin.....getting their face close to the Shih-tzus face so they can see exactly what they are scissoring......praying that the dog does not move......or lick its nose.....or jerk backwards.....carefully scissoring away.....concentrating very hard ........when.......

SNEEZE!!!!

Like only a Shih Tzu can!

SNEEZE!
Doggy snot sprayed!
Right in the groomers face.
Right in the groomers eyes.
Doggy snot!
Sometimes a lot!

Now, sure, sometimes other dogs will also do this when a groomer is scissoring their face, but a Shih-tzu is pro at it and almost guaranteed to sneeze in a groomers face every time.

It is not like they sneeze all of the time during the grooming.
They rarely sneeze while being bathed, unless the groomer puts their face close to the Shih Tzus face to clean out eye crust.....then .....SNEEZE!
They rarely sneeze while being dried.
They rarely sneeze while the body is being clipped or scissored.

Nooooo, it is bred into them to wait for just the right time to sneeze.
Wait till they are face to face with the groomer.
Wait till the groomer leans in to scissor around the eyes.
Then.....with no warning what so ever.....SNEEZE!

A lot of the time it isn't even a sneeze per say, they just blow the doggy snot out of their noses.

I am convinced that the Mommy Shih Tzu teaches all her puppies to do this before they are weaned.

She tells them; "You are in for a lifetime of grooming my little ones. One day you will be taken to a person called a groomer to give you a bath and cut your hair," she will tell all the puppies. "Now listen closely. Every time that groomer gets their face close to yours, to scissor the hair around your nose and eyes, you just give a good strong sneeze and shoot doggy snot all over their faces. Remember, sneeze only when you are face to face! It is so fun!"

Oh yes, I am fully convinced of this.

If you are a groomer, you are lucky if the Shih Tzu only sneezes once while you are scissoring the face.
Most like to sneeze multiple times.

Just a fun fact I thought that I would share.  :-)



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

(Banging Head Against Wall)

I mentioned last week that I was restructuring the way I charge for grooms.

I truly thought that I had come up with a really fair pricing structure that was not too complicated and pet owners would understand.

I was still working on this new pricing structure when.....




This sweet guy came in for a grooming.

I call him my 'toy Old English'.

His coloring and hair texture remind me of an Old English.

His owner says that he is a Maltese/Shih-tzu mix.


I no longer groom as fast as I used to.
This dog should take me about an hour to and hour and 15 minutes to groom start to finish.
He is a hand scissor cut and his owner keeps him in great shape.
All he had were about 3 small mats.
He is an easy bath and a fairly quick HV dry.
The hand scissor should  be fairly quick also, because he has a really nice coat to scissor.

There is just one problem......



 I am pretty sure that his owner has trained him to lay out on his side to be brushed.

Soooooo, apparently he thinks that I should scissor him this way too.

The longest I can get him to stand, before plopping back down again, is about 2 minutes at a time.


Believe me, he has 'plopping' down to a fine art.
He can go from standing, to laying flat out, in a split second.
He just lifts a hind leg, crosses it under him and down he goes.
PLOP!
I mean, all of his bones just turn to jello.

Now, don't bother sending me comments about using grooming loops and belly bands.
First off, I personally don't like them.
They get in my way.
Secondly, this guy would still continually make attempts to lay down and put too much pressure on the neck and belly loops for my (and his) comfort.

I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to do the finish groom on this guy.
At first it didn't seem like I was taking too long.
I  just spent as much time standing him back up as I did scissoring him.
I probably spent too much time laughing at him each time he plopped down also.
I would rather laugh then get upset at him.






He took me a little over two hours to groom!!






He only stood long enough for this picture because I told him he was done and it was time to go.

He was waiting for me to pick him up.  ;-)











 My next groom went much faster.









I had her completely groomed in less than half the time it took to groom the little guy.










So, back to my pricing structure.....

Here I have two dogs.
Both in good shape.
Both well behaved.
Both basically a hand scissor job.

Even with my new pricing structure, I could not charge enough for the time I put into the smaller dog.
Technically the smaller dog should have been charged more than the Standard.
I personally don't think it is fair to charge the owner extra because her dog won't stand for the grooming.
He was not being a bad dog.
I truly believe that he won't stand because he has been trained to lay down to be brushed at home.
That would be like punishing the owner because she is taking care of her dogs coat.

Sometimes I don't think that we can charge a fair price for all of the work we put into some dogs.

Some groomers may say that I should have charged the smaller dog more because it would not stand, causing me to take longer to groom it.
Some groomers may say that it is my own fault that it took me so long, because I didn't hold the dog up with grooming loops to help speed up the grooming.

Well, I still think my new pricing structure will work for most of the dogs that we groom, but I guess that there will always be a dog here or there that we could never charge enough for the grooming that we do, or the time that we spent on the groom.

I'll keep working with him and hopefully I can train him to stand for me for the scissoring.
Hopefully each grooming will get a little faster. :)