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.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Lesson Learned

We call our customers the day before their appointments to give them a reminder so that they do not miss their appointment.
I wish I could say that this little extra that we do for our customers has been a success, but it is amazing how many customers don't even listen to their messages.
We still get missed appointments even with a reminder.  :(

Anyway, that is not what this post is about.
Thursday my husband was making the reminder calls when one of the customers that he left a message for called back to confirm the appointment, but that was not all.

"My wife and I were very disappointed in the results of the grooming last time,"  the customer told my husband.
"I thought that I would call you and tell you, because my wife is too shy to complain," he added.
The husband was not clear on what they did not like with the last grooming.

Okay, let me give a little history on this customer.
The dog is a very sweet Airedale.
My daughter has been grooming him since he was a puppy.
As with almost all of the Airedale's that we have ever groomed, he does not come in often.
Two to three times a year.
The dog is now almost 3 years old.
The grooming is slightly different, as per owner instructions, each time the dog has been in.
We have not seen the dog in months.

The owner (husband) was not clear on what they did not like.
He could not quiet explain what it was that they didn't like.
They wanted me to groom the dog this time.
They didn't even know who had been grooming the dog, they only wanted me because I am the owner.
The owner of the shop does not always mean the best groomer.

To say the least, my daughter was very upset.
I think she was more upset that they wanted me to groom the dog, and not even give her another chance when she has been the only one to groom the dog, and they were happy all of the other times.
It was also a little hard on her because she has been grooming for 10 years and rarely ever gets a call back or complaint.

All that I could tell her was that the grooming couldn't have been that bad, they were coming in again.
I also told her that we would have to wait and see the dog, and talk to the wife.

When the wife dropped the dog off the next morning, I don't think that she was going to say a thing about the last grooming.
I had to ask her what was wrong the last time.
The main thing that she pointed out was the patchy areas on the legs.
Now remember, I said that we have not groomed this dog in months.
The missing patches of hair were not from the last grooming.

There are times where it is very hard to keep the mouth shut and be tactful.

This Airedale does have short patches of hair all over, mainly on the back legs, do to the brittle terrier hair naturally breaking off.

I wanted to say, "lady, give me a break, we didn't put that hole in your dogs hair. The hair has broken away on it's own."

 Instead, I started plucking at the hair and explaining about terrier hair and how easily it can be plucked or break off do to scratching.
The owner started plucking hair out of her dogs coat herself and said, "I know, I am plucking it out all of the time."
I just looked at her while she stood there plucking the hair...biting my tongue.  :/

The owner had pictures off of  the internet.
Pictures of other Airedales.
Un-groomed Airedales.
Airedales with a lot of hair on their legs, all kinky and curly.
Pictures of Airedales with long full beards and eyebrows.

If you scroll back up and take a look at the Airedale before the bath and any grooming, you will see that he has no eyebrows, and hardly any hair on his back legs.
Everywhere she wanted hair, he didn't have much.

I can cut it off...I can't put it on.

Most of the dogs hair was on its back, and they wanted that very short.
The more I talked to her and asked questions, it turned out that she did not even know what a true Airedale cut was supposed to look like.
I told her that we would not do the Airedale cut this time.
I told her that we would cut the dog the way that she wanted it.
So I started asking questions.
How do you want the head to look?...."Clip the top and sides, but leave the muzzle and bread very long and full like the picture."
Do you want the ears shaved like an Airedale? ..."I don't know."  (we did)
You want us to clip the body short? ..."Yes, only the saddle."
You want us to leave the hair full on the legs and hips? ..."Yes, like the picture."

After the bath and blow dry, I had to call the owner back, because the uneven patches on the legs were so bad, we would have to scissor to make them look nice.

Even the front legs had short patchy areas.

There were places all over this dog where there was hair broken off and missing.

When I called the owner I told her that the only way to make the legs look even was to clip them to the length of the shortest patch.

She understood, but did not want the legs that short, so we settled on scissoring the legs to even them up a little.

You can also see, where I put the arrows, is where the dogs harness has broken off a lot of hair.

 While my daughter was grooming the dog, I had a light bulb moment.
I asked my daughter if she remembered the legs being choppy like that the last time she groomed the dog.
She said that the legs were the same way the last time.
"Did we tell them about it?" I asked her.
"I don't think so, I assumed that they could see that the hair on the legs was not growing in evenly," she answered.

That got me to thinking...I can still smell the smoke.

How often do we as groomers see things on a dog, and just assume that the owner must already know about it?
Like the sore that we find on a leg that has certainly been their for a week or so....surely they would have noticed that.
Or, that big pancake of crap on the rear that has caused the rear to become raw ....surely they could smell it, if not see it.
Or, the pieces of sticker bushes and spiky hitchhikers stuck on the hair on the belly and legs that have created red sores....surely they pick up their dog and have felt them.

Never assume.
Tell the owner about everything you see.
Even if your can't possibly imagine how they could not know about it.
Tell them about every lump, wart, scab, tick removed, mat that you had to cut out, bald spot that you find, rash on a belly, sore under the eye do to eye crust, ect, ect.
So the owner won't come back and tell you that do did an awful grooming because you did not make their dogs thin, uneven legs look full and thick.

This is the finished clip of the Airedale.
Please do not look too hard.
It is not a true Airedale cut.
It is what the owner wanted.
My daughter tried to create some kind of eyebrows.
She left the face and beard along.
She tried to even the legs out without taking off too much hair. (you can still see the holes)
She clipped the back and head with a #7F.

The owner said that he looked good, and that she liked it when she left.
She said the same thing the last time too.

As I told my daughter....

Do the best you can with what you have to work with.

Unfortunately, you can not please everyone.

Oh, don't forget.
Tell the owner everything, even if you don't think it is a big deal.
The owner may think it is a big deal.

Happy grooming, MFF