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 6, 2010

Teeny,Tiny,Toys...Careful, Don't Brake Them!

Is it just me, or are some of the Toy breeds getting even smaller.

I groom a 4 pound Toy poodle whose little toes are so tiny, I don't realize I am holding my breath while clipping her feet until I pass out.

No, not really.

  I do hold my breath and pray she does not jerk her foot the wrong way, at the wrong time.
She is a good girl.
I also groom a tiny Shih-Tzu that is only 2pounds!
Her owners like her short.
I clip her body with a #4F blade.
I scissor her legs down to the 4 length, because I can not bring myself to run that giant blade down those teeny, tiny, bony legs.

I have nightmares about it.

Have you ever had Grooming Nightmares?
It is amazing how you can wake up exhausted after
grooming dogs in your dreams all night.

You know the dream.
The one were your grooming the last dog of the day, and then you turn around and all of the kennels are filled again.
AND, this is the 7th time the kennels have refilled in ONE dream!!!

It does not end until you are right at the breaking point, and your subcontinents yells at you to 'Wake the he** up. It's a dream!'
You wake up.
Your heart is pounding.
You look at the clock, and...

You have 10 minutes before you have to get out of bed, go to work, and start grooming all over again!
I had that dream almost every night when I was pregnant with my first. 
I only have it once or twice a year now.

You have NEVER had that dream?
Lucky you.
Crazy me.

Sorry, I got of the topic.

Teeny, Tiny, Toys.
Last week, one of my very good customers came in with their two Bichons and their daughters new Yorkie.
Or should I say...
Toy Yorkie,
Micro Yorkie,
Teeny, Tiny Yorkie!

This is 'CoCo'.
She barely weights 1 1/2 pounds.
She is like picking up air.

Thank God, she is very calm.

She sits so still to have her face rinsed.

The pressure on the sprayer is set on the lowest setting.

'CoCo' gets wrapped in a nice warm towel.

I would not dare use a HV dryer on her for fear that it would blow her across the room.

I let her lay against me while hand drying her.

My brush is almost as big as she is.

 'CoCo' likes to lean against the wall on my table.
It makes her feel secure, and she stays very still.

Works for me.
The less a Teeny, Tiny, Toy moves around, the better.

I felt like I was use giant scissors and thinning shears.

There is only ONE problem...

 Trying to keep her AWAKE!

I don't know what it is, I tend to have that effect on dogs.

I think I am developing a complex.
Am I really THAT boring?

 Maybe I can wake her enough to get a finished picture.

Oh, by the way.
'CoCo' is a little bit of a success story.

This was 'CoCo's' second grooming.
Her first grooming was 4 weeks ago.
She came in matted all over.
It was pretty tight too.
Her owner was sure that I would have to shave her.

I thought that there was a possibility that I could save the coat.
I did not tell the owner that.

Now, there are only four reasons that I will attempt to demat a dog that is matted all over.
4) My shampoos and conditioners will loosen the matting enough to work with.
3) The dog is good about brushing the mat out.
2) The dematting process is not causing the dog any pain.
1) The owner deserves a chance.

These pictures are from her first grooming.
Best Shot Shampoo and Best Shot Creme Rinse really loosened up her mats.
I then used thinning shears on hers mats, and gently combed out each mat.
It did take a little time, around 20 minutes.
'CoCo' was great.
She did not mind the dematting at all.

The owner was very surprised and very grateful.
They are very good owners, and their Bichons are never matted.
I believed that they deserved a chance.
I showed them what to use and how to brush her.

They did not let me down. 
'CoCo' did not have a single mat in her this time.

Good dogs and good customers.
You could not ask for more.
Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I too, have nightmares about grooming!

    My 3rd week of grooming a sweet little wheaten decided to have a lick of my shears...
    There was enough blood to think that there wasn't any tongue left but it turned out to be a tiny, almost invisable knick on the tip of her tongue.

    It horrified me, and after I recovered from fainting I decided right there I would never scissor near a dogs mouth without holding it shut. Havn't had any accidents since and I hope it stays this way.

  2. First of all thank you for your blogg with the interesting (and funny) information :-)
    In January 2012 I will open my own salon after my education and working 2 years in a grooming salon.
    The nightmares keep on chasing me !!! I´m scared to death that something would happen to one of the dogs in my care.

  3. Hi,
    Congratulations on opening your own shop! I did the same as you. I opened my shop about 3 years after grooming school. I did it for two reasons. I did not like the way I was treated and used at some of the shops I worked at, and I did not let the way some dogs were treated at some shops.
    I found that the hardest thing for me was finding groomers to work for me. Unfortunately there are a lot of groomers out there only concerned with grooming as many dogs as they can to make as much money as they can and they forget that they have a live, feeling animal on their table. They are also trying to work so fast that they don't care what the dog looks like when it goes home.
    I built my entire clientele on word of mouth. I never advertised. I am nice to the customers, I am nice to the dogs, and I do the best job that I can on each dog no matter how difficult they may be. Always remember, customers talk, and if they like you, and know that you like and take care of their dog when it is your care, they WILL pass the word.
    Even after 24 years of owning my own shop, I still have the same fear that you do. I think that it is good to have that fear. It keeps you on your toes. If that fear goes away, you are not caring anymore.
    The very week that I was doing the finial paper work on buying my business ( I bought a run down shop with a bad reputation ) I had a dog yank one of his canine teeth right out of his head, chewing on a kennel door. I actually thought about stopping the deal. I bought it anyway. Accidents happen. You are working on a living, moving animal. All you can do is use common sense and be careful. Don't hide small nicks from customers. Always explain to the customer and don't entirely blame the dog. Show compassion and remorse, and mean it. Educate the owner, and always agree to pay a vet bill if needed.
    As I am writing this to you, I am thinking that I just may write a post about this. I could go on and on, can't you tell? lol
    Again, congratulations!
    Lisa, MFF

  4. Hi. First off, I just found this blog today through a picture on pintrest for hair dying with chalk. Can I just say I absolutely LOVE your blog! I'm going back and reading every single post. Keep it up. Now on to my comment about this post.
    I just wanted to say I absolutely have that same nightmare. I went to school this past summer and then opened my own shop in August. About three weeks in I cut a dog with the clippers. It was a toy poodle and the owner wanted it shaved. I was cutting the back leg and caught the flap of skin where the body meets the leg. I was HORRIFIED. As soon as the owner got there I told her exactly what happened. It didn't look really that bad but I was worried anyway. She was not at all upset. I couldn't belive it. I followed up the next day and the owner said everything looked fine. I waited about a week and decided to call back and check one more time just to be sure. She hadn't looked at it anymore so she didn't notice that it had gotten worse. The dog tore the skin and it had gotten infected. She had to have antibiotics and stiches. I payed the vet bill and the owner was very glad that I had called back b/c she wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Needless to say I am exceptionaly careful now. Even though I thought I was then. That customer actually referred me another customer to my surprise. I guess it pays off to really check up on your customers.

  5. Hi Lacy,
    I am so glad that you are enjoying the blog. Congratulations on becoming a groomer and opening your own salon.
    One of the scariest things about grooming is to harm a dog. Just the fact that you showed worry and concern says a lot about you as a groomer already. Sad to say that I have had several groomers work for me who cut dogs and thought nothing of it. "It was the dogs fault, he moved." They would move on without taking any responsibility for it.
    I made a rule that if a dog was nicked or cut of any reason, the owner was not charged for the groom and the groomer would lose the commission for that dog. This rule went for me too. Each groomer was told this rule before they were hired, so it was their choice whether they wanted to work for me.
    You did great telling the owner and taking responsibility. I am sorry that the owners irresponsibility cost you money. How in the world could the owner of a small poodle not notice that a sore on her dog is getting worse?!
    Why was she not watching it and keeping it clean?
    I just don't understand it. Don't they pick up and touch their dogs? I see this so many times when I find things on dogs and inform the owner, and the have no clue. It is all I can do not to say, "Don't you ever touch or pet your dog?"
    I have only had three accidents that have required Vet attention in 28 years. To me that is three times too many, but you are working on a moving target with a mind of it's own, I guess I should be happy that it has only been three. I only lost one customer. A little Yorkie that did not know what the words 'stop moving' even meant. I am sure that that happy little Yorkie also moved in it's sleep. Anyway, I was almost done the dog, all I had left to do was scissor around the shaved part of the ear. SLICE! He turned his head, turned his ear right into the scissors as I was cutting. The dog never made a sound. He was so hyper and happy that he didn't even notice the cut. I DID. I was ready to freak. I could not get the ear to stop bleeding. Every time that I did, he would shake his head and it would start again. His Mother walked in 5 minutes later.
    She was a nurse, and she was so nice about it. I was crying. She said that she understood because she knew how her dog was and didn't see how it didn't get cut all of the time. That did not make me feel any better. I took care of the bill also. The ear could not be stitched. The dog had to live the rest of his life with a little slice in the ear.
    A couple of weeks after this happened I got a very nice note from the owner saying that she wanted to come back to me but her husband was mad and said no. So I lost that customer. I understood. That was 25 years ago and it still bothers me.
    The spot that you cut is one of the danger areas when clipping, and very easy to nick. Just always remember to take your time. Don't let owners rush you. I always tell the owners that I work at the pace of their dog. If their dog likes grooming and stands nice and still I can work quickly, but if they are scared or are not crazy about the grooming I must work slowly. Every owner that I have explained this to has understood. I refuse to be rushed. I nicked an OES on the ear once because I let an owner intimidate me into rushing. Luckily it was only a little nick and do not require a Vet. I got mad at the owner and myself and immediately slowed down and didn't care if the owner had to stand in my lobby and wait for their dog. Turned out he picked the dog up an hour AFTER he said that he HAD to have him back. I have never rushed since then.
    Don't beat yourself up too bad. Sometimes no matter how careful you are accidents happen. How we deal with it is the main thing, and you did great.
    Thanks for reading my blog.
    Lisa, MFF

  6. It is so difficult trying to groom the tiny ones.The 5/8 wide toe blade helps tremendously with the tiny ones clean feet. I have a 4lbs teacup poodle and she is so tiny! It is hard to get the correct pattern lines on her because the blades are so big on her body!I am so tempted to invent my own line of grooming tools for teacup and tiny dogs,lol.
    I thought grooming her was difficult!!! I just got her brother a week ago and he is half her size !!! 2 full lbs can you believe that! I have him in a Scandinavian Puppy show trim right now. I cant even imagine getting the pattern for an English Saddle on him it would be impossible!!

    1. Hi Anjanette,
      Good grief, I can't even imagine. I always feel like I will brake their bones while holding them and they move the wrong way. Two pounds....I can't even wrap my head around that...and a style clip at that! Kudos to you. :)
      Lisa, MFF