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, September 4, 2011

More Proof...

...that bathing before clipping is a good thing.

I am sure that if you have been reading my blog that you already know that I bath every dog before I do any grooming on them, with exception of shaving Poodle feet and faces first.
In grooming school I was taught to clip everything first.
Boy, do I remember the days of fighting blades through filthy, dirty coats.
Also having to clip a dog very short, because the short blade would be the only blade that would go through the dirty, matted coat.

I groomed that way for around 15 years.
What made me change?
I went mobile.
I needed to find a way to groom more productively.
Oh, I also discovered HV dryers, but I have talked about that before.

I am so happy with the results of bathing before the groom, that I want every groomer to try it for one week, just to see what a difference it makes in the finished product.

This little guy came in Friday with his bother, who was in the same condition.

Overgrown, matted, and chopped up from his Mom scissoring out mats.

This coat is curly and matted.

If I had to clip her before the bath, I would have had to fight a #5F blade through her hair.

The blade would get hot, and there would be some pulling on the dog to get the blade through the mats.

The fact that he is a white Poodle also increases the chance of clipper irritation.

In this picture you can see the tight curls mixed in with the matting.

My goal was to bathe this dog and HV the mats away from his skin just enough to easily run a #4f blade through the coat.

I bathed him in an Oatmeal shampoo, then rubbed in Best Shot Creme Rinse.
After rinsing the creme rinse off, I gave him a Baking Soda rinse and left it on.

Then I HVed the dog to 99% dry.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how much of the matting just blow out of the coat.

Five minutes later, I had finished fluffing him up with the hand dryer, and the rest of his mats brushed right out.

This coat had a little of a wiry texture to it which helped the mats slide out easily.

His bothers coat was more cottony, and the mats did not totally come out of his coat.

I was able to clip this dog with a 12mm clip comb.

A much better cut then if I had clipped the dog before the bath.

I still preach to my customers not to bathe their dogs with mats in them.

Also, if you are a groomer who kennel drys and does not use a HV dryer straight from the tub, you should probably continue to clip matted dogs before the bath.

In my opinion, matted dogs must be HVed straight from the tub, or the mats will tighten as they dry under a kennel dryer.

As for the topknot...
I am a pretty good groomer, but there is no way that I could fix Mom's hack job.

All I could do was, shape the head into a dome and hope the owner would leave the head alone, so that it could grow out, and I can scissor a nice topknot the next time.

I know that some groomers would argue with me; "why try to save hair when the owner let it get matted in the first place."

There are a few reasons:

~One: I totally believe that clipping a clean matted dog is much safer than forcing and fighting a blade through a dirty, matted coat.

~Two: I almost never have a blade jam up on me anymore. I am ashamed to admit that a few of my #7 blades went sailing across the room after they had jammed up on me one too many times while clipping the same dog.

~Three: There are also times that I know an owner is really trying to keep their dog brushed out, and I don't mind trying to save as much of the coat as I can.

~Four: If a customer always brings their dog in matted, I will clip the dog short, even if I could save more of the coat, but I would still rather clip a clean coat no matter how short I am going to take it.

This particular customer is the daughter of a long time customer, whose Cocker just passed away.
The daughter is taking over her Mother's appointments, so the Poodles will be coming in every 8 weeks.
Their coats should be in better shape the next time.
If they are matted again, I will go shorter.

Try bathing before the clip.
There is nothing like sliding a blade through a nice, fluffy, clean coat.  :)


Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. i almost always bathe before I clip. Its how I was taught tho. I also jip out on some pregrooming that i was also taught. it takes up so much time. I will on some cockers and certain dogs do the pads of the feet ect before the bath. helps the drying process! i have found so many new techniques by reading blogs like yours online and other websites

  2. proudpitbullmom,
    I love reading other blogs and websites too. I think, what makes you a good groomer, is when you are willing to try new things to help you grow.
    Lisa, MFF