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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Difficult Dogs

People tell me I am weird because I like to groom difficult dogs.
I don't know what to say to that except...

Yep, I guess I am weird.  :-)

I love the challenge.
I love working with the dog.
I love trying to figure out what it is that bothers the dog.
I love finding ways to work with the dog.
I love showing the dog that grooming can be a pleasant thing.
I love giving the dog a chance.

I am proud to say that I rarely have to turn a dog away.
Some of my most difficult dogs have turned into wonderful grooms.
Some have always stayed biters, but rarely bite me anymore because I respect them and they know that I will not hurt them. (they will bite me if I do :/ )

I try to only groom one difficult dog in a day.

Don't ask me what happened, but for some reason, I had 3 difficult dogs today...and one was a new customer.

Don't let this cute face fool you.
This little girl is a spoiled brat.
I can say that because her Mom and Dad call her that too.  :)

She can be sweet one second, but you even tug on a little natty mat, ( you know the kind, that little teeny, tiny knot that the brush just glides over and you have to pick out with your fingers) she will try to eat you alive.

Boy, can she sound like Cujo when she wants to.

This little guy belongs to one of my long time customers.
His Dad has been coming to me since a year after I started grooming.

He just rescued this guy about 5 months ago.
I have groomed him 4 times.
The rescue did not tell him that the dog was a biter.

I almost lost both of my hands the first time that I groomed him.
Yes, he broke skin.

He is getting better with each groom.
He only got mad at me twice today.
The first time was my fault...I forgot he does not like his body rubbed with the towel.
The second time...no reason, he just felt like it, but it was only a quick nibble.
I think he just wanted to remind me that he still could bite me.

This guy is a rescue.
He is deaf and partially blind.

His Mom called us because her Vet told her to bring him to us, because they wouldn't do him anymore.

He is around 2-3 years old.
After talking to this dogs Mom on the phone, I really was not sure I would be able to groom this dog.

Other grooming shops had sent the dog home, and the Vet didn't want to groom him anymore.

He was pretty dirty and matted.
His Mom told me that when he goes to the Vet's, the Vet tech puts his whole body on the dog while the Vet tries to work on him.

I was so upset when I heard this.
Of course he is biting and fighting.
He was fine when I took him from the owner.
He was fine as I held him, and rubbed him while talking to his Mom.

He went straight into the tub.

He was great in the tub.
I had to talk a lot while rinsing his face.
Once he realized I wasn't going to get water in his nose, he let me finish rinsing his face without anymore fuss.

I kept waiting for this dog to go off.

His Mom told me that every time she gave him a bath, she came out bleeding.

He did great with the drier also.
He was not crazy about it around his face, but he let me dry it.

Still waiting...there must be a trigger somewhere.

He stood there great for the clipping.

He did not like the clipper going down his matted front legs, but he did not bite, and did not fuss too badly.

He like hanging over my backboard.

That was okay with me.

It kept him happy.

He was great about clipping his nails.

Still waiting...

He did fuss a little for his face.
He does not like it brushed or combed.

He didn't fuss anymore then some other dogs I groom.
He did not try to bite at all.

Tell me again why this dog has been thrown out of grooming shops.

I don't get it.

The owners walked in for him ten minutes early, while I was talking him through getting his face scissored.
So, once again I forgot to get a after picture.  :(

Below is a short video of him being clipped.

I told his owners that they need to bring him every 6-8 weeks so that he can get used to the grooming.
They made another appointment.
We will see if they keep it.

I told them to find another Vet also.
Hope I don't get in trouble for that.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Please tell me where you are located - we just had the worst experience ever grooming our little guy.

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    I am very sorry that you and your pet had to experience a bad grooming. I am located in Maryland, in the Towson/Parkville area. If you do not live anywhere near me, please don't give up on finding a good groomer. It can be hard, unfortunately, but there are good groomers out there. Not knowing what happened or how the grooming was bad, I am not sure how to help you. Maybe if you told me a little more, I could help you out. If you are in the Maryland area you can check out my website.


    I really hope that you can find a groomer who will understand your pet and show him/her that grooming CAN be a good thing. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  3. Hi Lisa! I just stuble on your blog and am so happy that I did. I just opened up my own pet salon and it is nice to read your stories with such great information. Alot of them male me laugh because theyre so typical! Its nice to hear from someone going though similar experiences every day! Keep it up and I look forward to reading more! K

  4. Hi K,
    I glad you like the blog. Congratulations on your new shop! I hope all goes well for you. May you NOT get too many crazy customers. :)
    Thanks for reading.
    Lisa, MFF

  5. Does anybody know where this guy is. I really need help please

    1. Hi,
      I am not exactly sure who it is you are looking for.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. I love your work. I was so excited when I ran across your page. My dog will not let me trim her feet or face. I recently moved to NYC and is scared of the price someone would charge to see her. Do you have any suggestions of a good grooming in NYC...

    1. Thank you!
      I wish that I knew someone I could send you to. The best thing is to call around, be very honest about how your dog may be. (sometimes a dog is bad for the owner but really great for the groomer)
      Try to find groomer that enjoys working with dogs to get them to like the grooming. Ask questions and go with your gut. If the groomer takes time out to talk to you, (they may have to call you back if they are really busy) they will probably take the time with your dog also.
      I wish that I could help more.
      Lisa, MFF

  7. Hi, I have 3 shih tzus (2 male, 1 female). The female is terrible when it comes to being groomed. I have a great groomer, love her. She does everything she can to get my dog through the grooming session. She has been bitten and has never told me not to bring her back. She said she enjoys working with her but I always feel guilty when I leave there. Is there anything at all that I can do before dropping the dog off at my groomers to help?

    1. Hi,
      Unfortunately some dogs just never like being groomed, and Shih-tzu's tend to be one of those breeds that are stubborn and little rockheads. lol (I can say that because I owned one for 17 years and he was a total rockhead about being groomed)

      I have several Shih-tzus that I groom that are biters. I don't blame the owners in any way because all of these owners bring the dogs in faithfully every 4 to 6 weeks so that I can work with their dogs and keep them on a regular grooming schedule so that they don't get overgrown causing longer groom times and a more stressful grooming. It is just the type of personalities that these dogs have. I have gotten most of them to no longer bite, but I will never trust them fully.

      As long as your groomer does not mind working with your dog, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I am just happy when my biting dog owners understand if their dog would not let me do everything that I needed to do, or understand if the grooming is not as nice as it should be because their dog was acting up.

      Just knowing that the owner understands how hard it is to groom their dog and appreciates the work I do is enough for me. It is when a pet owner laughs and thinks that it is funny that their dog bit me that upsets me and makes me not want to groom their dog.
      If your groomer is okay with grooming and working with a biting dog, you are lucky to have found her. :)

      Lisa, MFF

    2. Thank you for the reply and yes you are right I am lucky to have found her!

  8. Hello my name is violet I hae a tri colur french pomchi who hates a bath

  9. It looks like your first two pics are of Havanese. I have a hav who hates to be groomed. The trainer I had working with him recommended a groomer who works with difficult dogs here in Miami. Thank for you groomers who venture to work with this toughies.