Special cases; I don't consider biters special cases.
They are just biters that you have to take your time with and figure out what makes them bite and go from there.
To me special cases are dogs that need to be groomed differently than the usual way.
When I was in grooming school, we were told to make the dog stay standing at all times.
We were also told to keep them still, and the owner of the school did not believe in using nooses.
I spent a lot of years following those rules.
I spent a lot of time getting frustrated with dogs that would not stand up, or would fuss and fidget on the table.
I got very used to not using a noose, and I still don't use one today.
I did finally have a light bulb moment, one day, when I was grooming a partially paralyzed poodle that could not use its back legs.
I was working alone and had no one to help me with the dog.
I was stressing because I truly believed that I would not be able to groom the dog without it standing up.
I remember standing there looking at the dog half lying on my table, so frustrated and close to tears.
Then I gave myself one of my pep talks.
Yes, I talk to myself.
I used to do it a lot when I was grooming by myself, on some days when I felt over whelmed.
I learned to stop and count to ten and give myself a pep talk.
They would go something like this; 'Come on Lisa, you know what you are doing. Just calm down and relax. You will get done. You will finish this dog. Just think. Figure out the best way to get done.'
Yes, I am even long winded when I talk to myself. :)
With the paralyzed dog, I suddenly thought to myself; 'why am I so worried about this dog standing? Why can't I just groom him laying down. I'll groom one side then turn him over and groom the other side.'
I can actually remember a feeling of re lief coming over me when I made this decision.
I managed to get that dog groomed, and even though it wasn't the nicest groom, the owner was tickled pink that I even finished the dog and was happy when I said that I would groom it again.
I learned two things that day.
One: Grooming school was not right about everything.
Two: The groom did not always have to be perfect as long as I did my best.
Oh, and I did learn one more thing, talk to the owners, explain things.
Don't blame anyone or anything, just be sincere with the owner, and explain why the grooming may not be the best.
Even though I learned this lesson fairly early in my grooming career, I would still have to remind myself of it sometimes over the years.
Case in point.
This little guy.
He is not a biter.
He does not sit or lay on the table.
He stands like a statue to be scissored.
So why is he a spacial case?
He can not stand to have his face washed and rinsed.
So I have to turn the pressure of the water way down to rinse his face, and work very slowly.
It takes extra time.
He is utterly petrified of the HV drier.
So I dry him by hand.
His owner has him groomed with a 3/4 blade in the winter, and a #5f blade in the summer.
This little guy can not stand to have a blade touch his legs.
For a while I struggled to teach this dog to accept the blade running down it's legs.
That was not going to happen!
I am sad to say that it took a while for me to remember the old lesson that I had learned years earlier.
There I was one day, struggling to get this dog to allow me to take the #5f blade down his legs, when I suddenly thought; 'why am I doing this? Stop fighting with the dog Lisa, and just scissor the legs to the 5 length. Who says that the leg has to be cut with a blade?'
I have been doing that ever since.
I no longer even try to take a blade down his legs.
He is much happier and so am I. :)
Today's clip was with a 3/4 blade on the body, and scissor the legs to match.
(It's not hot enough yet for the owner to change to the #5 blade.)
The owner also wanted the face scissored short and tight.
Don't trim the ears and tail!
I guess what I am trying to say, is that Grooming School teaches just the basics to get you started.
With time you must be open to learning new and different ways to safely finish a groom.
Dogs are living things with different personalities, and feelings.
They can not all be groomed the same way.
If you have to groom a dog differently, and it takes a little more time, charge a couple more dollars for the groom.
Don't stress because the dog will not stand, or moves too much, or won't let you do something.
Do the best you can, and explain it to the owner.
Tell the owner that you are working with their dog, that you want them to enjoy the groom, and that you don't want to force their dog to do anything that makes it uncomfortable.
Most owner will understand, and will be very grateful that you were thinking only of their dogs comfort.
Stress is a groomers worst enemy.
It makes us burnout.
It makes us no longer enjoy our job.
I do a pretty good job not stressing over the dogs anymore.
I have no problem going up to an owner and explaining why a groom may not be perfect.
So far all of the owners that I have had to do this with have been very understanding, and the dogs have gotten better with time, with the fact that neither of us is stressed anymore.
Now, if only I could stop stressing over some of the owners. :/
Happy Grooming, MFF