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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Importance of Blowdrying

Blow drying...

Do you know how many times I have been standing there blow drying a dog, that is taking forever to dry, and thinking;  if only I could be 'Jennie' from the 'I Dream of Jennie' show, so that I could blink, and the dog would be fluffy and dry.

Actually I don't mind blow drying.
Sometimes it is nice to be closed off in the bathing/drying room, with my earphones on drying a dog.
I like writing books in my head, or thinking about my next blog entry.
Or.... if I really want to be nuts.... I sing to the dog.

The dog would rather that I shut up, think to myself, and most of all, sing to myself.

I have talked before about how important I feel a good bath is to a good grooming.
If that dog is not clean, you can not do a good cut, period!

I feel the same way about blow drying a dog.

It's funny really, because I don't remember blow drying being talked about at grooming school at all.
I can't even remember whether there was a stand dryer in the grooming room.
I can still picture that whole room, but for the life of me I can't ever remember using a stand dryer.

Every dog was shave before the bath and put straight under a cage dryer.
I groomed like that for the first two years that I groomed.
Most of my dogs were dry when I got them out of the kennel.
Of course, I did eventually use a stand dryer.
If the dogs were still a little damp, I only used the stand dryer to dry the damp areas.

I still remember the very first time that I dried a dog straight from the tub.

It was my own little TerrierX.
It was the end of the , and I was waiting for customers to pick up their dogs.
I had been grooming for two years and was working for a friend (big mistake..long story)
Anyway, while I waited, I gave my dog a bath, and decided to blow dry her right from the tub.

I remember being amazed at how fluffy she was.
I even took her up to show my boss how fluffy I had gotten her.

Something clicked that day.
I still kennel dried most of my dogs, but I would get them out when they were still kind of damp and try to fluff them up with my hand dryer.
I noticed, that very quickly, I started to get complements on my grooming.

I moved on to another grooming job where I was allowed to set my appointment times.
Since I did not like all of my dogs coming in in the morning and staying all day, ( I got so many complaints from owners about their dogs taking all day to groom) I booked my dogs to come in through out the day.

I still had not discovered the blessings of having a HV dryer.
I was very close minded to new things back then.
I was still grooming with a kennel dryer and a stand dryer.
I would have two dogs come in at a time.
I would clip and bathe one, put it under the kennel drier for only 10 minutes, just enough to leave the dog fairly damp.
I would clip and bathe the second dog, put him under the dryer and take the other dog out to fluff it up with the stand dryer, and finish it.

Grooming the dogs that way made a difference from when I would let the dogs dry entirely under the kennel dryer.

Boy, did the owners notice.
I really managed to build up the clientele at that pet store, and it was all from word of mouth.
I was still clipping like I had always been.
The only difference was that I was fluffing up the dogs.

Of course, once I finally opened my  eyes to using a HV dryer, and learning how to use it right, I became obsessed with getting my dogs as fluffy as I could.

I can't tell you when the last time was that I used a kennel dryer.

Well, that is not true.

I do have a few elderly dogs that can not handle the HV dryer, and because their coats are so thick, we do put them under the kennel dryer for about 10 minutes so they won't be dripping wet while we hand dry them.
But, that is only two dogs.

As those who have been following my blog know, I have been grooming another groomers dogs while she has been out on maternity leave.

After grooming a few of her dogs, I started to suspect that she kennel dries all of her dogs.


Because I bathe every dog before clipping, after I HV dried the dogs you could see how uneven the last cut was.

You can not get an even cut on a dog that has been completely kennel dried.
It may look even, but it isn't.

Don't believe me.

Test it out one time..if you have time.

Clip a dog that has been completely kennel dried with a #4 or #5 blade and finish like you normally would.
Now take that same dog back in the tub and wash it again.
This time HV dry and fluff it up.
You will find uneven spots, and this time your finish will be nicer.

Just about every customer of the other groomer, has commented on how fluffy and velvety their dogs coats have been when I take the dog up to them.

I have actually had a few of them just stand there rubbing their dogs saying over and over again; "What do you do? His coat has never felt like this before." 
Or "He looks so velvety and fluffy, I have never seen him look like this before!"

I am sure that the other groomers grooms are nice.
Her customers have only good things to say about her.
But, they have noticed the difference in the quality of the grooming.
The only thing that I am doing different from her seems to be the blow drying.

Can you imagine not blowing the curls out of this dog?

Can you imagine how curly he would be if his hair dried totally in the kennel.

You can not get an even cut on a curly dog.

He was actually a pretty quick blow dry.

The baking soda rinse really helps to speed up the drying time.

A nice plushy finish that the owner noticed.

Even the elderly owner of this elderly Standard noticed the difference in his dogs grooming.

He was very happy that the legs looked fluffy, and especially that the topknot was nice and high on the top of the head.

Sorry I cut the top of the head off in the picture.
I had to take it quickly because I didn't want to be away from her.

I have found out that the other groomer works by herself, and grooms about 12 dogs a day.
She takes all of her dogs in at 8am and everyone picks them up at 5pm.
This is according to one of her customers.
It must be true because most of her customers are surprised that we have their dogs done so quickly.

You can not get through a day like that without kennel drying most of your dogs.
Been there, done that.

If I was in her shoes, without a bather, and grooming that many dogs in one day, I would still try to fluff up my dogs.

I would quickly run the HV, without the pointy nozzle, all over the dog.
Just enough to separate all of the hair, and pick it up away from the skin.
I would place the dog under a kennel dryer for no longer than 10 minutes, depending on the size of the dog and the length and thickness of the coat.
Then I would bathe another dog, do the same with the HV dryer, place that dog in a kennel and get the first dog back out and quickly finish HVing it, and then brush through the coat.
Repeat till I had all of my dogs bathed.

The dogs would not be fluffed up the way I like them to be, but I bet she would notice a difference in her grooming.
So would her customers.

I have thought about going to see her after she comes back to work, but I have learned from experience that other groomers do not like to be told how to groom.
Not that I want to tell her how to groom.
I just like to try to help when I see something that I know could be better.

Okay, it's none of my business.
She has a good following, so she has been doing fine on her own.
I have no desire for a fellow groomer to think that I am sticking my nose in her business.

Remember, customers do notice the qualities of your grooms.
If you offer something that other groomers around you don't offer...like a good, fluffy blow dry, they will talk.
They will tell other dog owners, and your clientele will grow.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I have been reading your blog for a couple days now and I love it! Ive been grooming for 1.5 years and I have a couple questions about drying. In grooming school I didnt learn anything at all about it. I was concentrating on forcing the water off of the hair with the HV when I should be drying it from the skin out. My questions: Is there a breed that you DONT fluff dry with the HV? How would you dry a lab? Also, when you say "hand fluff" after they are dried, what does that mean? Just brush?

    I hope that makes sense! Thank you!

    1. Hi Amanda,
      I hand dry EVERY dog with the HV (even Labs) as long as the dog can handle it. I don't force it on old dogs. Also, the HV that I use is a veritable speed dryer that I can adjust the force. This comes in very handy for scared dogs, puppies, and elderly dogs.
      Here is a post that I wrote about fluff drying with a link to a youtube video that I did on using the HV to fluff dry:


      Here is another post with a link about removing undercoat with the HV dryer:


      I hope that these videos will help you.
      As for the 'hand fluff', I HV most of my dogs to where they are 95 to 99% dry, then I take them to my table and use my trusty hand dryer (like we use on our hair) and use my brush to quickly brush out the dog while blowing the hair with the hand dryer. This is just a final fluff to thoroughly fluff up the coat and get out any tangles that may still be left in the coat.
      I hope that this will help you. If you have any more questions, just ask. No question is too silly when you are trying to better your skill. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  2. I've never completely kennel dried a dog before. I feel like kennel drying a dog all the way can actually make them smell since the water is just staying there. I have a question? Do you have any tips or blogposts on drying a dog who does not like being dried? I have a hard time with the sometimes. I love your blog and I think i've given you a good amount of comments since i've just discovered you :p

    1. Hi Joanna,

      Three things...cotton balls in the ears, variable speed dryer, patience.

      Cotton balls in the ears helps to drown out the sound of the dryer. Variable speeds on the dryer are great to be able to turn the speed down when a dog is very scared. Start drying on a very low speed, on the rear leg, until the dog gets comfortable, then slowly increase the speed.

      Patience come in handy, because it takes extra time to teach a dog to except the dryer. A lot of baby talk, and a comforting tone of voice.

      I'll have to try to do a video on this. :)

      Lisa, MFF

  3. Hmm you mentioned baking soda as helping dry a dog faster? I read a post you did on your baking soda rinse befoe.. but I have a question: If I am not able to use a gallon with drilled holes at the top as the final rinse do you think if I mixed water with some baking soda and put it in a mini spray bottle.. ( i have a tiny craftsman bag to hold all my tools.. the salon I work in is small and there are not enough stations for the amount of groomers we have) do you think with the spray bottle if i sprayed the dog after the bath would leave the finish it gives you?

    1. Hi,
      I am really not sure if spraying the baking soda on will give you the same results. By pouring the baking soda all over the dog, you are able to really saturate the coat, down to the skin. Would you have room to carry a smaller half gallon jug?
      Lisa, MFF

  4. I love your blog about blow drying the dogs - How do I get my Owner - an non groomer- to believe that we MUST blow dry or even kennel dry all the dogs NOW as opposed to later in the day - just before they go home. The boarding kennel is outdoors and he wants them to air dry! Yes SoCal is weather friendly but he doesn't get that the skin& coat not to mention the UNDERCOAT will be compromised by sitting around wet/damp. I do dry all the Haircut dogs but the labs, shepherds and other short hairs he want to air dry. Help!

    1. Hi,
      It is so aggravating when a non-groomer runs a grooming shop. Grrrr. I worked for one once and it was like banging your head against the wall to get them to change something.
      He needs to understand that drying is a very important part of the grooming. It can help blow out mats, it WILL blow out undercoat. It will help the groomer save time from excess brushing. Those Labs and Shepard's have a ton of coat that needs to be blown out with the dryer.
      Don't you have trouble with those wet dogs wanting to go out and rub all over the ground after the bath when they are still wet? Do you have to rebathe some of them? If you do, that is taking time away from you grooming another paying customer.
      I wish that I had the answer for you.
      Tell him that a good quality groom includes a good blow dry on every pet. People notice quality, then they spread the word about what a good groom they got. That leads to more customers. If he is a good business man, he should understand that. Good Luck. :)
      Lisa, MFF