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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Answers to Questions 11-19

Here are the rest of the answers to the True or False Bathing Test.

11) A dog should not be allowed to lay down in the tub while bathing.

FALSE: Why not? Your first priority as a groomer is to keep the dog comfortable. If the dog wants or needs to lay down once in a while, why not?  Some dogs may have hip or knee issues, some are elderly, some may just be scared. If they need to sit or lay of a few minutes, let them and work on another part of the dog for awhile.
If the dog insists on laying down because it is scared, let it for a while and wash it's back. As the dog calms down and relaxes, tickle it's belly gently while saying 'up'. Let the dog stand up at it's own pace.
If the dog only gets half way up, that's okay, praise him/her and work on what you can. The more the dog relaxes the more they will let you do what you need to.

12) Always use a sprayer with a strong pressure when bathing a dog.

FALSE: Use a sprayer with an adjustable pressure button. Some sprayer pressures can be too strong for some dogs. A lower or gentle pressure works better on some small or elderly dogs. A stronger pressure works well on large dogs and thick coats. Once again it comes down to the comfort of each individual dog.

13) It is better to express Anal Glans in the tub while bathing.

TRUE: The tub is one of the best places to express Anal Glans. This way the dogs rear can be soaped up and rinsed off immediately. *Note: Anal Glans can also be expressed outside of the tub for walk-ins. Use a baby wipe to catch the mess as the Glans are expressed, and also to clean up the residue. If you do have someone walk in for this service be sure to explain to the owner that you will clean up the dog the best that you can, but that there may be an odor left behind. 

14) You can only get a dog clean by hand bathing.

FALSE: There are many different shampoo systems on the market, that if used properly, will get a dogs coat good and clean. The one thing that a shampoo system can not do that hand washing can, is find ticks, lumps and/or sores. Personally, I enjoy hand washing dogs. I love being able to feel all over the dog. I can feel when a dog is still dirty even when it is covered in soap. I like being able to find lumps and sores that may need Veterinarian attention. Besides, every time I have used a bathing system, I still end up rubbing my hands all over the dog before I rinse it. I can't help it, too many years of hand washing, I just have to have my hands on that dog.  :)

15) It is okay to leave Creme Rinse on a dogs coat.

TRUE: There are some Creme Rinses, that if diluted correctly, can be left on the coat.

16) A dogs coat must be completely rinsed off of all shampoo.

TRUE: All shampoo must be thoroughly rinsed out of the coat. A baking soda rinse can help remove the shampoo more quickly and also remove all shampoo residue.

17) All undercoat must be brushed out of a dog before bathing.

False: Save your hands and wrists! Let the HV dryer do most of the work for you.


Put the dog straight in the tub and bath with a shampoo made for helping remove undercoat such as Best Shot Shampoo. Work the shampoo into the undercoat really well.

Rinse the shampoo well, then use Best Shot Creme Rinse. Work it into the undercoat like shampoo.

Towel dry.  *Note: At this time you can drap a towel over the dogs back while HVing so that the undercoat does not fly around the room as much.

Now use the HV to remove as much undercoat as possible. Place the wide mouth of the dryer hose right up against the skin and work the undercoat out.

  There is much less brushing after the bath.

Bathing first and using the HV to remove most of the undercoat saves time, and your hands and wrists.

18) Using flea shampoo is the only way to kill fleas on a dog.

FALSE: Using any kind of shampoo will kill fleas if you sud up the dog well enough, and let the shampoo soak so that it will suffocate the fleas. The thicker the shampoo the better.

That was fun.

Next weeks test will be about drying the dog.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Answers to Questions 1-10

Here are the answers to yesterdays questions.

As I said yesterday the answers are based on my experiences grooming.
They are questions that I would like to see a groomer answer if I were hiring them.

True and False Answers:

1)  A dog feels more comfortable gently showered with a sprayer rather then submerged into a tub full of water.

TRUE: Submerging a dog into a tub full of water can greatly freak some dogs out. The dog is more likely to stand calmly in an empty tub with a sprayer being used to gently shower them.
If there is a reason that a dog needs to be submerged in water to soak, place the dog into an empty tub and slowly fill the water to where it is needed. This way the dog can gradually get used to the water around it's legs and body.

2) People soaps and shampoos can be used on dogs and cats as long as they have been recommended by a Veterinarian.

TRUE: Some dish detergents and people shampoos have been recommended by Veterinarians to be safely used on dogs and cats, also wildlife caught in oil spills. A good rule of thumb is to follow up with a second shampooing in a good pet Medicated bath after using the dish detergents and people shampoos. *Note: Dish detergents and people shampoos should be used very sparingly. Once every 4-8 weeks is not going to harm a pet.

3) It is okay to spray water directly into a dogs face.

FALSE: Spraying a dog or cat directly in the face can be very uncomfortable for the pet. It can also cause a perfectly calm pet to become a scared, and frightened pet in the tub. Most importantly, it could cause water to enter the pets lungs.
Every effort should be made to avoid getting water in the dogs nose. If you have a dog that is scared of getting it's face washed, turn the water sprayer down to the lowest pressure and work slowly, telling the dog that everything is okay.
If the dog has a tendency to turn it's face and nose right into the sprayer, let the dog sneeze the water out, or drop their head down so that the water will run back out of the nose. I also keep a towel ready to wipe the nose off if water starts to run into it.

4) A dog can drown if they get too much water into their lungs.

TRUE: It is called dry drowning. Dry drowning happens when too much water gets in the lungs and becomes trapped. Dry drowning can kill a pet and people hours after taking in water.

5) It is okay to get shampoo in a dogs eyes, because the label states that the shampoo is tearless.

FALSE: The answer to this question is my own personal opinion. After years of bathing thousands of dogs, and having dogs shake and spray shampoo into my eyes, I have come to the conclusion that every pet shampoo stings when it gets in the eyes regardless of whether it is tearless or not.
Dogs can, and do turn their heads at the wrong time and accidentally get shampoo in their eyes. If this happens, immediately rinse the eye out. One way is to place the sprayer directly on the top of the dogs head and let water run down over the eye until the dog is opening it's eye comfortably.

6) A dog should be bathed in cool water.

FALSE: Once again this answer comes from years of bathing dogs. I have found that most dogs do not like to be bathed in cool water. They enjoy a lukewarm or warm bath just as we do. I have found that a warm bath relaxes them and keeps them comfortable in the tub. I have also found that elderly dogs enjoy bathes that are toasty, not hot, just a little warmer than warm. (hope that makes sense) Every dog is different, just like people. Some people like cool showers, some like warm showers, and others like toasty showers. I base the temperature on each individual dog. I start with a warm bath, if they start to pant a little, I make the water a little cooler. If they are shivering, I make the water warmer till the dog is comfortable.
For elderly dogs, I usually lock the sprayer in the on position so that even while I am shampooing them, the toasty water is still keeping them warm.

7) It is a good idea to put cotton balls into a dogs ears to keep water out while bathing.

FALSE: The cotton balls can become saturated with water and trap the water in the ear while bathing. You can also cause water to drip down into the ear while trying to remove the saturated cotton ball from the ear. 
I hold the ears against the head while rinsing. 


 Or, fold the ear in half to close it, and rinse.

8) Eye crust must be shaved off before the bath.

FALSE: Actually, some eye crust can be clipped or scissored off before the bath if it is dry and has an airspace between the skin and crust so that it can be safely removed. No matter how crusty the eyes, soaking the crust, (to let it soften) while bathing the rest of the dog, makes removing the eye crust much easier.

9) It is okay to bathe a matted dog.

TRUE: It is perfectly safe to bath a matted dog as long as it is not  left to air or cage dry. You can either wet shave a matted dog, or it should be HV dried immediately after the bath.

 HV drying a matted dog straight from the tub will blow the mats away from the skin allowing a larger airspace between the skin and mat. You will be able to clip the dog with a longer blade. Your blades also stay sharper longer.
It is much safer to clip a clean, matted dog than to fight a blade through a dirty matted dog.

10) It is okay to leave the dog soaking, in Medicated shampoo while you work on another dog, as long as the dog is tied safely in the tub.

FALSE: NEVER, EVER leave a dog unattended in the tub or on the table for any reason PERIOD!

The rest of the answers tomorrow.  :)

If you disagree with any of my answers, I would love to hear your opinion.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Well, I guess not really a test per-say.

While on vacation I thought that it would be fun to write up some True or False questions about grooming.
I know, I am anal, who goes on vacation and still thinks about work.
I do apparently. lol

At the beach you do a lot of sitting around.
I usually take 4 or 5 books with me to read, but all of the authors that I like to read did not have any new books out right now.
I took the last Harry Potter book to read again before I saw the movie, but I finished that the second day.
So, the rest of the time I wrote.

I thought that it would be fun to write a grooming test.
I wrote questions that I would like any groomers that I was going to hire to answer just to get an idea if they were on the same page as me with the way they groom.
This little test would have definitely come in handy back when I was hiring employees.

Today I will post the first set of questions.
They are all about bathing dogs.
(Other tests on drying and clipping will follow in the coming weeks.)
Over the next couple of days I will post the answers and explanations of the answers.

This test is for groomers, and is for fun.
The answers are based on my 27 years of grooming experience.
Some groomers will agree with my answers, and I am sure that some may not.
I would love to hear comments from any groomers that have a different opinion.

Bathing Test: True or False

1)  A dog feels more comfortable gently showered with a sprayer rather then submerged into a tub full of water.

2) People soaps and shampoos can be used on dogs and cats as long as they have been recommended by a Veterinarian.

3) It is okay to spray water directly into a dogs face.

4) A dog can drown if they get too much water into their lungs.

5) It is okay to get shampoo in a dogs eyes, because the label states that the shampoo is tearless.

6) A dog should be bathed in cool water.

7) It is a good idea to put cotton balls into a dogs ears to keep water out while bathing.

8) Eye crust must be shaved off before the bath.

9) It is okay to bathe a matted dog.

10) It is okay to leave the dog soaking, in Medicated shampoo while you work on another dog, as long as the dog is tied safely in the tub.

11) A dog should not be allowed to lay down in the tub while bathing.

12) Always use a sprayer with a strong pressure when bathing a dog.

13) It is better to express Anal Glans in the tub while bathing.

14) You can only get a dog clean by hand bathing.

15) It is okay to leave Creme Rinse on a dogs coat.

16) A dogs coat must be completely rinsed off of all shampoo.

17) All undercoat must be brushed out of a dog before bathing.

18) Using flea shampoo is the only way to kill fleas on a dog.

The answers will be posted over the next couple of days.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back to Work

Hi everybody!

My vacation is over and it is time to go back to work.
It is defiantly a killer, business wise, to take an entire week off of work, but I think that every groomer should make some time to themselves so the they can take a brake and get recharged.
The first 10 or so years that I groomed, I hardly took any time off.
A day here or a long weekend there.

Then my kids got a little older and they wanted to stay longer at the beach. 
So we take a week now, and it is well worth it.
Of course, this year we picked one of the hottest weeks on record to go to the beach.
You know it is hot when your sitting only five feet from the water and you still feel like you are a piece of bacon frying in a skillet.

 We were staying in a motel 2 blocks from the beach.

The walk to the water was like walking across the Sierra Desert.

Of course, I have never been to the Sierra Desert, but since it was 103 degrees on Friday with a heat index of 114, I think that the Sierra Desert is a good example.

The haze was incredible, and even the breeze coming off of the ocean was hot sometimes.

Too hazy for a nice sunset shot.

Don't get me wrong.

I am not complaining.

We had a great time.

The boys got to ride the waves on their boogie boards.

The kids played games at the Arcade on the board walk.

My youngest played his favorite game on the board walk.

He takes it very seriously.

He makes every dart count.


Well, we don't do very many rides.

My daughter and I both get motion sick on some rides.
My kids won't go in the hunted houses.
I don't even want to talk about how much the tickets cost.

My youngest son does love the Phloom ride.
Well, we don't really go ON the Phloom ride.
My son has heard the story, too many times, of the one and only time that I went on the Phloom ride, and I guess I ruined him for life from ever going on it.

You see, when my daughter was around 3 years old, I decided to take her on the Phloom ride.
It looked fun.
Even though I don't like rollers coasters, the hill on the Phloom didn't look that bad.
So my daughter and I waited in line for the Phloom.
When the log seat came to us, we climbed in.
It was one long seat going down the center of the log.
We climbed in and straddled the seat, with my daughter seated in front of me.

I remember thinking, 'why don't they have any seat belts?'

We floated around a couple bends before the drop came into sight.
As that drop got closer and closer it started looking higher and higher to me.
I had my arms around my daughter.
I was her seat belt, because she was so little, and it was just now dawning on me, as we got closer to that drop, that I must have been temporarily insane to climb into this floating log.
Then we got to the drop, and I looked down, and I couldn't find the emergency stop button.
Surely they must have an emergency stop button for people like me.
People that realize at the last moment that they just made a big mistake and really want off the ride.

We went down the drop.
I think that I almost squeezed all of the air out of my poor little daughter.
She didn't like the ride.
Maybe she sensed my fear.
I was trying to laugh and make the best of it, I didn't want her to be scared.

We splashed down at the bottom, and got a little wet, that made us laugh.
I was so glad it was over.
I was never going on that ride again.
"Did you like that?," I asked my daughter.
"No, I want to get off Mommy", she told me.
"Okay, we'll be off in a minute," I told her.

I did not mean to lie to her, really I didn't.
I truly thought the ride was over, until..

We rounded another bend, and there was another drop.
Another drop, and it was higher then the first drop.

My daughter saw the drop at the same time that I did.
"Mommy I don't want to go down again!" she told me.
"It's okay sweetie, it will be fun," I lied to my daughter, again, for the second time in a matter of minutes.
"I don't like it," she said, breaking my heart.
Why did I bring my daughter on this ride in the first place?

It's okay sweetie, I"ll cover your eyes and you won't have to look when we go down,"   I told her covering her eyes as we got closer to the drop.
It was all I could do not to let my daughter know that I was more scared then she was.

We went over the last drop.
I can only thank God today that my daughter still has eyes in the front of her head, because I was pressing so hard on my poor little girls eyes as we went down that drop that lasted forever.
I think that I apologized to her the rest of the night for squeezing her face so hard.

Needless to say, my son has heard that story too many times.
He won't go on the ride, but he still wants to get wet.

So he found another way to get wet from the ride without getting on it.

It takes a little while to get just the right wave to hit him.

There has to be a lot of people in the log seat so that the wave is big when they land at the bottom.

The wetter he gets, the happier he is.

 Every year, we walk down to the water in the evening to take pictures.

The dogs find us even when we are on vacation.

This little guy was with his Dad, riding the waves.

For the last 19 years, we end the week by feeding the birds all of the bread we have collected all week.

I did notice something when I got home.
I was amazed to find that all of my dogs where dirty and some were matted.
I brushed them before I left!

I have had owners come in and tell me that their dogs became matted while they were away on vacation.

I never believed them.

I may have to give them the benefit of the doubt now.
I was surprised how matted a couple of mine were.

So I spent my last day off at work bathing and clipping 5 of my dogs.
 (Don't look to hard at my white standard. She is all uneven because of the design for creative.)

It felt good to be grooming again.

I missed the dogs.

I really do love grooming.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Going on Vacation


It is finally here.

I will be off line for a week.

Going to the beach.
Hopefully we will have good weather.

I will be back blogging in a week.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF

Friday, July 15, 2011

Scissoring a Yorkie

Yorkies come in so many different sizes and body shapes.
They also come in different coat types.
Some have very thick hair, some have thin silky type hair.
The thick coated Yorkies are pretty easy to clip or scissor and to get a nice finish on, the thin silky type coat can be harder to work with.

 This type of coat can be hard to get the desired length using a blade.

Most of the time the hair will just feed through the blade without taking much off, unless you use a short blade.

If you use a shorter blade to clip these dogs, it can come out looking very choppy and looking like you skinned the dog.

The owner of the dog above was having me just shorten the outline of her Yorkie for previous grooms.
The last time she was in she wanted some length taken off of the body, but not too much.
I decided that a 5/8th blade would give me the desired length, only the 5/8 blade just glided over the hair without cutting anything.
Then I tried the 3/4 blade to see if it would take anything off.
It only took a little off, but not as much as I wanted.
I moved on to the 4F blade.

 The 4F blade took off just the amount of hair I wanted to take off.

The 4F blade was taking off the length that the 5/8th blade would have taken off a thick coated Yorkie.

I only ran the blade down the back and sides.

I want the dog to have a hand scissored appearance.

With each clip start down the back and slowly turn the blade to go down the sides.
Clip with the growth of the hair.
I also clipped half way down the back leg.

I have left the legs, chest, and skirt to be blended in and hand scissored.

Next, I want to do the outline trim that the dog had been getting.

I comb the hair to the front of the leg and scissor.

Do the same for the back of the leg and rear.

Comb up the hair on the inside of the back legs and scissor to the desired length.

Comb the same way on the front legs and scissor.

You can also lift the front leg forward, comb the hair downward and scissor.

When scissoring this way, be very careful not to scissor too much hair off, exposing the cow lick on the back of the leg.

Once you set the leg back down, comb it out to see what more you need to scissor.

 Comb the hair up on the leg and let it fall naturally.

Neaten up any stray or uneven hairs.

The blade 4F blade took off just enough hair to neaten up the body leaving it looking natural at the same time.

The Groom:

Body: #4F blade, clipped with the growth of the hair.
Legs: Scissor to blend in with the body.
Head: Bangs with a bow, scissor beard in proportion with the rest of the body.
Ears: Neaten only

Happy Grooming, MFF

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The True Meanings of What Owners Say

 Sometimes owners don't say what they really mean.

~"He does not have any knots in his coat."
True meaning:  He has not been groomed in 6 months, and is matted from his head to his toes.

~ "I brush him all of the time."
True meaning:  I run the brush down the middle of his back once a week.

~ "Can you fit him in? He is small and easy to do."
True meaning:  He is a 40lb, matted, Tasmanian devil.

~ "Take him a tad shorter than last time."
True meaning:  Clip him the same length as the last time, because if you go any shorter, I'll forget that I told you to take him shorter and I'll freak out.

~ "Do whatever you think he needs, your the professional."
True meaning:  You better read my mind and do exactly what I am picturing in my head.

~ "Let's try something new this time."
True meaning:  You better do close to the same groom, because I won't remember this conversation, and the next time I come in, I will complain and ask you why you groomed him differently.

~ "Call my cell when he is finished."
True meaning:  I won't have my phone on... I won't answer it... My voice mailbox will be full.

~(9am appointment arrives at 9:20) "Can you have him done by 11am, I have another appointment across town and I have to have him no later than 11am, or I can't keep this appointment."
True meaning:  My plans will change...I won't bother to call you...my dog will sit there waiting till 2pm when I finally decide to come pick him up.

~ "Take him as short as you can get him."
True meaning:  Leave at least 3 inches on him.

~ "I have to cancel my dogs 10am appointment today, (it's 10:10am) he is sick.
True meaning:  I made other plans, and never bothered to call you.

~ "I am sorry I am late for his appointment, the traffic was bad."
True meaning:  I wasn't in any hurry to get out of bed this morning.

~ "I am sorry he pooped in your lobby, he must be nervous. He hates coming here."
True meaning:  I just put him in the car, and didn't bother to see if he had to go to the bathroom.

~ "He doesn't bite."
True meaning: He doesn't bite unless you brush him...bathe him...dry him...clip his nails...ect.

~ "All of the other groomers say that he is great to groom."
True meaning:  Watch out! He has been thrown out of every other grooming shop.

~ "I know that you said you would call when he was finished, but I was in the area, and decided to stop in and see if he was done."
True meaning:  I thought that if I just walked in, he would magically be done.

Of course not everything my customers say means something else, but  I have found that a lot of times it does.
I have gotten very good at reading my customers minds over the years.

Sometimes, they still manage to surprise me.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday's Tip #28 Clipping a Cat's Nails

At this time I don't groom a lot of cats.
That may be changing soon, I'll blog about that later.

Today's tip is about clipping a cat's nails.
I guess to be exact, it is about the clipper that I like to use to clip a cat's nails.

 I use my regular dog nail clippers to clip cat nails, and most cat's are fine with it.

But, I feel that the clipper is too large for cat's.

I have several cat nail clippers and small dog clippers, but don't particularly like any of them for cats.

What is my favorite tool to use for clipping a cat's nails? 

This one is pretty good.

It is a toenail clipper for people, but it is not my favorite.

This is my favorite clipper for clipping cat nails.

Yep, your seeing right.

It is a simple fingernail clipper for people.

I love that it is small and easy to hold while you are working to keep a cat still.

The nail fits between the cutting blades perfectly.

The scissor type toenail clippers work well on large cats that have larger thick nails.

It works well also on those thick nails on some of the cats back feet.

They also work really well for getting in there and reaching those side dew claws that can be very tight to the side of the paw sometimes.

As I said before the small fingernail clipper works perfectly.

The nail slides very easily between the blades.

If you have a good cat that does not mind it's nails being clipped, you can have one foot done in literally 10 seconds.
One second to depress the nail, one second to clip it.

If you have a cat like I had walk in last Saturday, it can take 15 minutes to clip two feet.
Clip a nail, spend a couple of minutes calming the cat down, clip another nail, repeat...
Actually I had to give up after the 9th nail.

I can deal with the hissing and spitting, but when the teeth come out I am done.
I really have to invest in one of those nice cat air muzzles.  :)
It would keep me and the cat safe.

I have also taught some of my cat customers how to clip their own cat's nails.
I know.
I lose money by doing that, but I mainly do it for the owners who's cat's get very stressed coming to the groomer.
If the owner can do the clipping at home, it is better for a stressful cat.

Clipping a cats nails:

~First, find a quiet place, preferably a closed in room in case the cat gets away from you.
~Either put the cat up on a table, or in your lap.
~Gently, (I can't stress this enough) very gently pick up a foot.
If the cat pulls the foot away, let him.. pet him..then try again.
~Once the cat lets you lightly hold it's foot, gently
press down on the cats knuckle to expose the nail.

The last thing you want to do with a cat is get upset with it.
Always remember, you piss a cat off enough, he can tear you up in no time flat.
A cat bite will put you in the ER faster than any dog bite.

Most cat nails are clear enough for you to see where the pink quick shows.

 Slide the nail between the blades and cut just below the pink area.

For pet owners:

If you are afraid to clip the nail back that far, just clip half way up the nail, or clip the pointy tip off.

The small fingernail clipper can also be used on the side dew claw.



 You want the cut to be quick and firm.

 Do not squeeze too slowly, the cat could jerk the foot away and you would only cut part of the nail, or splinter the nail.

If your fingernail clipper does not give a clean, quick cut, it may be dull.

Buy a pair of clippers just for the cat. 

Clip the back nails the same as the front.


I hope this helps.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF