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, February 28, 2011

Old Dogs

I groom a lot of old dogs.
Most of them I have been grooming for years.
Some I have started grooming because their regular groomers will no longer groom them because of their age or the way they act now.

It's funny how my hard to handle dogs seem to mellow with age, and the dogs that were great to groom in their younger years become nasty as they get older.
Believe me , there are times when I would like to turn away some of these old guys, because some of them are just down right scary to groom.
I make sure that their owners understand that I will only do what the dog will allow.
If he/she is having a bad day and I don't think they can get through a grooming, they will go home and we will try another time.

Below are just a few of the elderly dogs that I groom.

I have been grooming this little girl for about 15 years.

She has always gotten a clipdown #4f, with a short round face.
I used to be able to have her bathed, dried and clipped in about 50 minutes.
She takes about an hour and a half now to groom.

The bath must be very warm or she gets upset in the tub.
She can know longer handle the HV drier, even at low speed, and must be dried with a small hand drier.
I can still use the #4f blade on her body,but she is so bony now that I end up doing a lot of scissoring to even her out.
The legs are scissored down to a #4f length because she can't stand the clipper on her legs.

This little lady is now around 13 years old.
She is still very sweet and good about her grooming, but has become very nervous.
If she gets too worked up because of other dogs barking she will start having seizures.

She can know longer be HV dried, and must be dried by hand.

This little guy is one of my most challenging grooms.
I have been grooming him for 16 years.
He can no longer see and hear.

He used to stand great on the table.
Now that he is blind, he wants to walk all over the table.

No. I don't use grooming loops.
Even with a loop, this dog would try to walk off the end of the table.
My husband stands in  front of him while I groom him.
He no longer wants his face shaved.
I do the best I can without forcing it.

 The hardest part of grooming him now is the scissor work.

He likes to bark the entire time he is being groomed.
When he barks, he bounces.
Try scissoring nice, round pom poms when a dog is bouncing up and down.

Can you say 'Swiss cheese pom poms?'

I groomed this guy just the other day.

I have been grooming him for 17 years.
He was always good to groom.

Now he is deaf and blind.
Once again, a blind dog that can not stand still.
He can not stand to have his face held in anyway.
This makes scissoring it a challenge.
His owners are very understanding about sticky outies.
They understand that I do the best I can.

I took some video of me trying to scissor his face the last time he was in.

He likes to bat my hand away with his feet.
His groom doesn't always look the best, but he goes home feeling happy and clean.

I'll be honest.
There have been times when I thought about no longer grooming elderly dogs, but I just couldn't imagine turning them away when they get old.

As long as their owners understand the dangers of grooming an elderly pet, I will groom their dog.
Their owners also have to leave it up to me what is the best cut for their dog.

I had one customer years ago that had a toy poodle that I had groomed for years.
Her Mom liked a Lamb clip on her, a #4f on the body and the legs scissored very full.
As the poodle got older it was harder and harder for her to stand while having her legs scissored.
I would let her sit a lot, but it was obvious that the scissoring was too much.
After one of her groomings, I told her owner that they should think about having her legs clipped shorter so she would not have to stand so long.
The owner said she would think about it.

The next time the dog came in, every 4 weeks like clock work, I asked the owner if she tought about what I had suggested the last time.
"Yes, we gave her an aspirin, so continue doing the same cut, she will be fine," the owner answered.

Vanity, isn't it a wonderful thing?

I am tougher with owners now.
I lay it on thick about the dogs age, and how the grooming can effect them.
So if you have the patience to work on the elderly dogs, more power to you.
They need someone who understands them, and will take the time to work with them.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. My boss is so incredible with both the very young and the very old. She has a reserve of patience for them that constantly amazes me! And she is able to pull out of them the desire to work with her - and you are so right. When they leave, they do feel much better!

  2. Lol, you'd love to groom my Miniature Schnauzer- his old groomer said he was the best client she'd ever had- even though he used to be quite shy and slightly skittish. He's one of those dogs that mellows with age :)

    If you are particularly gentle, he'll fall asleep(either laying or standing) while you groom him. We even had to do minor home-surgery on him to remove a deeply embedded tick and he was stoic throughout the whole procedure. He is so afraid of hurting people- he absolutely will NOT let his teeth ever graze your skin. Even when a groomer almost lopped his dewclaw off and quicked all his nails, the worst he does is give them a stern look.

    A true 'angel' to groom!

  3. My friend has a dog that just recently became blind when he was hit by a car and had both eyes removed. They are looking for a groomer who understands how skittish and very needy he is now. can you recommend anyone in the Waukesha County, WI area? my email is zanon_monica@yahoo.com