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, September 28, 2011

Hack Job

Yesterday I had a new customer come in.
This one I am keeping. :)
He was not a customer from the pregnant groomer.
This customer was recommended by another customer of mine.
So, I get to keep this one.

He came in with a 13 year old, very small Sheltie.
They have been getting this dog groomed every three weeks for its entire life.
The owner said that they do this because they don't brush her themselves.

If only every pet owner thought this way.

So, why are they looking for another groomer?
They relocated from New York because of a job.
They had been taking her to the same groomer for 13 years.

I hate when I have a long time customer who's dog I have been grooming all of it's life moves somewhere else.
I always wondered if they will find a groomer that will treat their dog like I did.
Can you tell that I am possessive with my furry customers?

Anyway, the Shelties owner had already taken the Sheltie to another groomer here in Maryland.
He said that they were very happy with the first grooming.
Then they took her back to the same place 3 weeks later.

All they were supposed to do was give a bath and trim the feet.
The dog had never had any of her feathering cut.

The owner pointed to his dog and said, "this is what the last groomer did to my dog."

 This is a picture of her after I bathed and dried her.
All of her feathering had been cut off.

The owner said that when he picked his dog up that the groomer said, "We hope you don't mind, but we shortened her up a bit."

The owner could not believe what they did to his dog.

I could not believe what they did to his dog without asking first.

 They could not blame it on matting, the dog gets groomed every 3 weeks.

She has no undercoat ready to come out.

There was absolutely no reason to cut this dogs hair.

Even after 3 weeks, the hair around the rectum was cut so short, that the dog still looks like it has what I call a 'baboon butt' when you lift the tail.

Also, may I ask what look they were going for here.

Why did they cut into the leg like that?

The poor thing looks like she has a crippled leg.

If you are going to trim rear feathering, at least round it off.

I can't help but wonder, if it was a new groomer that this place had just hired or someone being trained, that did this.

 I had a couple of those nightmares when I first opened my shop.
I opened in October, and by November I was almost booked for Christmas and needed help.

So I hired my very first employees.

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.
I must have gotten 50 calls for my ad in the paper for an experienced groomer.
Only, they were not all experienced groomers that called.
As a matter of fact, only two were experienced.
One had been grooming for 6 months, and the other for about a year.

All of the others?

Well, they had bathed their own dogs, how hard could grooming be?

Needless to say, I hired the two with experience.
They would do great right?
They must feel the same about grooming as I do.
They will treat the dogs the same way I do..right?

Let's just say we got through Christmas.
One day, one of the groomers called to me and said, "Lisa, I need help with this topknot, I can't seem to get it right."

"Okay," I said, as I looked over at her dog.
There was just one problem...the dog no longer had a topknot.

She had scissored and scissored and scissored trying to 'fix it'.
Unfortunately, she scissored all of the hair off.
This was the last customer that I needed her to do this to.
Great dog, Mom, not so much.

Boy, was the customer upset.
She reminded me about that flat topknot for more than a year after that, every time she came in for her appointment.
"Don't make her look like you hit her on the top of the head with a book again," she would tell me.
At least I did not lose her as a customer.

Now that I think of it...a P.I.T.A customer never goes away.

How was the other groomer?

I don't remember a whole lot about her.
I just remember that she was grooming a Shep/Span mix one day.
This dog was to get a clipdown #7, blend the head into the neck, blend the leg at the top of the hock on the rear leg, and elbow on the front leg, then scissor the leg feathering tight to the leg, trim up the tail.
Those were my instructions, only she did not like them.

I had been bathing a dog.
When I came back into the grooming room she was finishing up the dog.
Only she had shaved it with a #10 blade from the tip of it's nose to the tip of it's tail and toes.
I mean every single inch, every piece of hair had been shaved with a #10 blade.

"Why did you do that?" I asked, stupefied.
They didn't want the head and tail shaved!, I added still in shock.

How was I going to fix this?
Could I fix this?

Why did she do something different then I instructed?

She said that she couldn't get the clip smooth with a #7, and that she thought the dog looked stupid with a blended head, so she took it upon herself to clip the dog the way she liked it.

I lost that customer.
They never came back.

Needless to say, it is a big pet peeve of mine when a groomer does what they like on a dog and not what the owner wanted.
Over the years I have been amazed at the number of groomers who do this.

I was even at a seminar once when the speaker made a joke about telling customers that she accidentally clipped off dogs eyelashes because she didn't like eyelashes left on a dog.
I was also amazed at how many other groomers started agreeing with her, and sharing their stories about how they would go ahead and groom the dog the way they thought it should be groomed instead of how the owner wanted.

So, I asked the Sheltie owner if they would let me try to 'fix' the dogs hair without cutting anymore length off of the dog.
He told me I could do whatever I thought best as long as I didn't make her look any worse.

So, I picked up my thinning shears and started blending and softening the scissor lines.

I also blended under the scissor line.

I thinned out the hair on the leg and under the scissor line to help make the blending look softer.

I was careful to not thin too much.

I would scissor, comb, and scissor again as much as needed till I got the look I wanted.

I could not do anything about all of the feathering that was taken off of this dog, but the thinning shears did help to soften the scissor lines a little without taking anymore length off.

The owner was happy, and this little Sheltie will be coming to me every 3 weeks from now on.

I make it a rule to always ask the owner first if I want to cut anything on a dog that was not talked about at check-in.
Even if it is something that has to be clipped, I want the customer to know first.
There is always that slight chance that they will say no.

This Sheltie is 13 years old.
I am not even sure if the coat will ever grow back as long as it was.
It is a shame that someone calling themselves a groomer did this.

Okay, I am getting off of my soapbox now.

Happy Grooming, MFF

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