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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Listen to that little voice in your head

That little voice has saved my a** a few times.
I have said before how important it is to ask your customer questions.
Listen to what they say, and be prepared to read between the lines.

What about those customers that won't give you a straight answer to save their lives?
Yes, those kind of customers can drive  you insane.
I ask as many questions as I can, and sometimes I ask the same questions a few different ways until I get some kind of idea of what they want.
Then, when I think that I have an idea of what they want, I use their dog to tell them exactly what I am going to do, and try very hard to make them understand the cut I will be giving their dog.

I can't stand for a customer to come back to me and say that I didn't do what they wanted.

Today I had a long time customer in with their new puppy.
This puppy is around 6 months old now.
I have groomed her once already.
I scissored 1/2 off for her for her first grooming.
She did pretty good for a puppy.

Today they brought her in for her second grooming.

Imagine my surprise when my husband brought the dog back and told me that they wanted me to shave her down to match the hair on her belly that the vet had shaved for her spay.

You have to understand that the dog they had before this puppy was a small Sheltie.
They never let me cut anything but her feet for all of the years I groomed that dog.

To top that off, the first time that I groomed this dog, they went back and fourth unable to decide if they wanted me to take some hair off or just trim the dog.

So you can understand why I questioned my husband when he told me they wanted the dog shaved.

"They want me to do what?" I looked at him like I hadn't heard him right.
"She said she wants you to clip her to the same length as her tummy," he insisted that he heard her right.
"That would be a #7F blade, she would look awful," I said as I looked at the dogs belly.
"Does she understand what her dog will look like?" I continued my little tirade.
"You go up and talk to her," my husband said.
"Okay, watch my dog," I said as I walked up to the lobby to talk to the owner.

I went up to the owner and asked her if she realized just how short the belly was, and did she know what the dog would look like if it was that length all over.
"We want her short," she said.
"Okay, well let me show you some pictures of dogs and poodles clipped that short so that you can get an idea of what she will look like," I said as I pulled out my trusty photo book.

That book was the best thing I ever did.

I showed her a few pictures of dogs that had been clipped down in #5 and #7 blades.

"Oh, she'll look like that?" she asked, as she looked at the pictures.
"Yes, her legs will look like toothpicks," I said, making sure that she understood what she was asking for.

She pointed to another picture.
"I like that," she said.
It was still basically a clip down on a dog, but the legs were just a little longer so they didn't look shaved.
The dog in the picture was a Lamb #4F, with a 3/4 blade on the legs.

I think that some people have a hard time visualizing what they want, or they have a picture in their mind, but don't really know how to describe it.

That is why I ask so many questions.
That is why I made my picture book. 

The owner also did not want the face and feet shaved.
No poodle look.

Can I ask a question that has always bothered me?

Why do people buy Poodles if they don't want it to look like a Poodle?

Okay...two questions...

Why do people buy long hair breeds and then shave them down?
And, it is always the dogs with the really nice coats that they want kept shaved.
Not the ones with crappy coats, they always want the fancy cuts.

This is her after the bath and blow dry.
She would have looked really pretty hand scissored.

I only found two mats.  :-/

I only posted this picture because I thought it was cute.

She couldn't see a thing.  :-)

The Clip:

Body: #4F
Legs: 3/4 blade and scissor.
Head and Face:  Round and short.
Ears: ????

I forgot to ask about the ears.

If I had my choice, I would have made them short and tight to go with the rest of the cut.
She said everything short.

But, that little voice was going off in my head.
"You better call her."
"You better call her."

My husband called her.

She only wanted the ears trimmed.

Thank you little voice.

Did she like it?

She didn't say.
She wanted to know if I could take the hair shorter over the eyes.

I have a feeling that this dog will end up being shaved down very short, head and all.

Why did they buy a Poodle?

I guess it is just me.
I have three Poodles.
I love the Poodle look.
I love the shaved feet and shaved faces.

Shaved faces...they stay so clean.
No chewing the hair..you know what I mean, when they sit there with their head bobbing up and down and chew, chew, chew, trying to spit the hair out of their mouth.
No food in the hair.
No stinky face...especially on a St. Poodle with a full face.  :-p

Well, at least I can clip my Poodles like Poodles.  :-)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I'm considering a standard poodle for my next dog and doing all the grooming research. I've been searching the internet looking at poodle clips, I'm not even a poodle owner yet and all the fuzzy feet and faces make me cringe. But then, so do all the shaved double coated breeds. I have a border collie and an Aussie. No way clippers are touching their beautiful coats. I use scissors to shape my aussie's butt just a little to make it cute and round, give him a nice happy tail trim and I trim feet on both dogs so they look tight and clean. It's nice to see you talking the people with double coated dogs out of serious hair cuts. I try to do that when possible and I'm not a groomer. And yes, I want my poodle (if I get one) to look like a poodle. Makes no sense to me to get a dog if you don't like how it looks or don't want to put in the effort to groom it properly. Your comments about matting almost killed me, I swear. Dog is matted and it is the groomer's fault? How about combing your dog occasionally? Does nobody do breed research? People drive me crazy. *exasperated sigh*
    P.S. - I've been reading your blog for many hours straight, it's your fault that I haven't slept, mmmhmmm, that's it, all your fault. :)

    1. Hi Tristyn,
      I think you would be very happy with a Standard Poodle, but I am partial to them....I have three!! lol
      Sorry about the sleep. :)
      Lisa, MFF