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, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Tip #14 Water Fears

I have been away for a couple of days doing some research.
I will be posting about that in the near future.
I think it is something important for every groomer to think about.

Anyway, today I had one of my little furry customers in that has always hated having his face and head bathed and groomed.
He has gotten much better about having his face scissored, but washing his face is another story.
He is petrified about having any water around his face.
He always has been and most likely always will be.
So, I had to find a way to wash this little guys face without getting any water in his nose.
That is a lot harder said then done.
He is his own worst enemy.

I am very good at not getting any water down a dogs nose.
I know that feeling and I hate it.

I had a groomer that worked for me years ago...scratch that.
She was the groomer girlfriend of the groomer that worked for me at the time.
Did you understand that?  :)
Anyway, she came in one day to cover for her friend, who was sick, and to groom her friends dogs.
She had groomed for me a couple of times before, so this was okay.
Sometime that morning, she suddenly came running into the grooming room yelling that the dog she was washing had pasted out in the tub and she thought it was dieing.
"Where is he?" I asked.
"I left him in the tub," she informed me.

By the time I ran back to the tub, the dog had come back around and was sputtering, spitting, and coughing.
"Did you get water down the nose?" I asked her as I picked up the dog, and started wiping its nose and face with a towel.
"Water always goes in the nose when your washing a dog," she answered, sounding like I asked a really stupid question.
Thankfully, the dog was fine.

After that, I watched the next dog that she bathed.
Sure enough, she pointed that sprayer straight into the front of the dogs face.
I stopped her and told her that that was why to dog had passed out.
She had almost drowned it.
Needless to say she was not happy with me.
She did not agree with me that you could bathe a dog without getting water down the nose.

This is one time that it is usually the dogs fault if it gets water down the nose when I bath it.
How many times have you, as a groomer, had the dog suddenly turn their face right into the sprayer before you could pull it away.

I always drop their head down and have a towel handy to wipe off the face, and water away from the nose.

The first thing that I do for dogs that do not like water around their faces is, if possible, turn the water pressure down on your sprayer.

My sprayer has a knob on the sprayer itself to adjust the pressure.

For this dog, I turn it down as far has it will go.

I tilt the head up and start at the back of the neck.
I press the sprayer up against the body so that the dog does not hear the spray of the water.

If they start to fuss, I keep the water on the back of the neck and talk to them till they settle.

Then I slowly work the sprayer up to the top of the head, still keeping it against the skin.

I let the water trickle down between the eyes and use my thumb to guide the water away from the nose.

If the dog moves suddenly or the wrong way and water goes into the nose, I immediately stop and wipe the water away from the nose, calm the dog down and start again.

Then I slide the sprayer up the neck to the sides of the face.

This little guy likes to hold onto my arm with his front feet, and stand up on his two hind feet for most of the bath.

I let him hang on to me because it helps to keep him still, in turn, stopping him from fighting.

Once his face has been soaped up, I start to rinse.
Once again, he shoots up and wraps his front feet around my arm.

I try to keep his head up and back so that the water runs down the back of his head and not into his face.

Work slow and always be prepared to pull the sprayer away.

After awhile, some dogs calm down and realize that you will not get any water in their nose.

Keeping the sprayer up close to the skin also helps control where the water is going.

I try to always keep the nose up unless water runs into it.
Then I let the face drop and quickly wipe off the face with a towel.

'Buster' did really great today.
No water in the nose at all.
Hopefully he will be calmer next time.

God help me if I do get water in his nose.
I will lose all of the trust I have built up.
All he will remember is water in the nose, not that he didn't get any in his nose all of the other times.  :)

I guess my best advice is to work slowly.
Every dog is different.
Some will fight no matter how careful you are, and you end up getting water in their nose anyway.
If that happens, put the head down to let the nose drain and wipe the water out of the nose.
A dog can drown if water gets into the lungs.

I have been grooming 'Buster' for years.
He always works himself up as soon as I put him in the tub.
Usually, by the time I am rinsing off his face, he has calmed down.
He seems to always forget that he did not get any water in his nose the last time.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF

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