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, March 29, 2012

Toys and Treats

Sometimes customers bring in toys and treats with their dogs.
I never have the heart to tell them that their dog really does not care.
I think, that more often than not, the toys and treats make the owners feel better about bring their dogs in to be groomed.

I have tried to warn owners that their dog most likely will not eat the treats when offered, but it seems to upset them when I tell them that.
So, I smile and take the treats back with the dog.

I honestly do try to give the dogs their treats.
I usually wait until I have finished grooming the dog, because if they do eat it, I don't want them throwing it up during the grooming.
If they don't eat the treats, I give them back to the owner when they come back to pick their dog up.
Most of the time I tell them that their dog did not eat the treats while they were here, but will most likely want one on the ride home.

I must confess, there are some owners that I do lie to.

Yes, I said lie.
A little white lie. :)

If I have an owner that is just a little on the crazy side, and I know that they will hit me with a hundred questions as to why their baby didn't eat any of the treats, I will take one or two out of the baggy and tell the owner that their dog had a treat.

Now, it is not a total lie.
I do offer the treat to the dog.
I even put it in the kennel with them.
So, when I tell the owner that their dog had one of it's treats, I just don't add that they didn't actually eat it.
I am not really lying.....am I?
(shaking head) I am a bad, bad, girl.

I am sure that you understand.
You must have experienced an owner trying to shove a treat down it's dogs throat.

I've seen it.

I have a treat dish by my counter filled with free Milkbones for owners to give their dogs when they drop off or pick up.

I can not tell you how many times I have watched owners try to give their dogs a treat, and then get upset because their dog will not eat it.

"Why won't he eat it? He loves these," the owner will say while trying to push the bone in the dogs mouth.

I always try to save the dog by telling the owner that their dog is just excited to see them and they can take the treat with them.
"I am sure that he will eat it in the car on the way home. He just wants to go home instead of eating the treat right now," I tell the owner with a little laugh.

Meanwhile I am thinking; 'Stop trying to force feed your dog. Can't you see he doesn't want it?'

Somehow, the fact that the dog does not want a treat, always seems to make the owner think that their dog must have hated the grooming.

What is it?
Why do so many owners have to think that their dogs don't like the grooming.
How does the dog not wanting to eat a treat mean that they didn't like being groomed?

I also have owners bring toys in with their dogs.
Most of the time it is puppy owners that bring the toys.
I guess that it makes the owner feel better about leaving their dog, because bring that toy is only comforting the owner.
I do put the toys in the kennel with the dogs, but they could care less.

Today I had two dogs come in with their toys.

This little one is almost a year old.

My guess is that the owner brought in a toy today because there was a possibility that the owner might have been picking up later than normal.

So her toy kept her company while she waited for her owner to pick her up.

After I took this picture, she walked away from the toy and curled up close to the kennel door to watch everything going on in the grooming room.

This guy did grab his toy when we handed it to him, but he promptly dropped it and plopped down on it. :)

I've seen balls, blankets, rubber bones, dolls, chew bones, rawhides, and stuffed animals.

I am all for whatever will make the owner feel better about leaving their dog. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Wrong Blade

I used to do this once in a while when I was new to grooming.

I would pick up my clippers and forget to check the blade.
I would start to clip only to realize that I had the wrong blade on my clipper.

Oh, that feeling when your stomach drops to your feet as you look at the hole in the hair.
If only you could rewind the last five minutes of your life.

Just imagine...the dog you are clipping is supposed to get clipped with a #4F blade.
You pick up your clipper, you place it on the dogs back, taking your first swipe down the back.
You clip about an inch of the dogs back, just enough to realize, too late, that you have a #10 blade on your clipper.


You stand there and stare at that hole in the hair.
You stare at it, trying to will it away.
You stand there cussing at yourself.


I only needed this to happen a few times, to drill it into my head, to make sure that I always check the blade before I start to clip.

Yes, sorry to say that it took a few times messing up to teach me.
Slow learner I guess. :(

Thankfully I almost always was able to use thinning shears and or scissors to fix the hole by blending all around it.
All but that one Poodle mix.
Nothing helps fix a hole in the hair of a creme colored poodle mix that was supposed to get a #4F blade on the back...not the #15 blade.

Could it be any more embarrassing then to go up to an owner and try to explain that you started clipping their dog with the wrong blade?
That customer was very nice and understanding, but I was still embarrassed.

That was a long, long time ago.
It is very second nature for me to check the blade on my clipper before I start clipping.
I don't even really think about it anymore.
I haven't put a hole in a dogs coat in a long time.

Well.....until the other day.

I had a regular in.
A Pekingese.
He comes in every 8 weeks.
His Mom likes him very short.
He gets a #4F blade on the body, the head blend the ears, scissor the legs, and trim the tail.
Simple right?

So, I picked up my clipper and stared to clip. 

The only problem was, I didn't just clip a small hole.

I clipped the top of the head and part way down the neck before I though; 'boy, this #4F is cutting nice and smooth."
At the exact time this thought is going thought my head, my little voice is screaming at me; 'you're using the wrong blade stupid!'

Too late, I looked at the blade.


Not like it was a teeny, tiny number you can't read in the corner!

Of course, after all of these years, I can tell what number blade it is just by looking at the teeth, even if it didn't have a gigantic number printed on it.

Thankfully, a #5F blade is not that much different from a #4F blade.

I was able to continue with the #4F blade without having to do very much blending.

I couldn't believe that I did that!

I always check the blade.


What makes it worse, is that I clipped more than just a small spot before I registered what I done.

Good grief.

Every once and a while, something will happen to shake you up, and make you remember that you must always stay alert to what you are doing while grooming.

When you get too comfortable, you can make mistakes.
Thankfully, this one was a minor mistake.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Monday, March 26, 2012

ShowEdge Blades

Maybe I should say 'blade'.
I have only bought one so far.

As you can see the teeth are closer together than the #7F blade.

The ad for the SE (ShowEdge) Blade talks about the blade being designed to 'create the smoothest finish possible.'
It also talks about the blade requiring 'fewer passes through the hair.'

I bought this blade at Hershey 6 months ago.
I like trying new tools.
The unfortunate part about that is, that you have to buy them to try them.
I hate to admit that I have a number of tools that I didn't like after I bought them. :(

I did try this blade when I first got it, but it was riding over the coat that I was trying to clip and I got annoyed with it.
To be honest I put it in with my other blades and forgot about it.

Then, the other day I was looking for another blade when I came across it again.
I had forgotten all about it.

Saturday I had a Terrier mix in whose owner likes everything very short.

I normally clip her with a #7F blade.

I decided to try the SE7 blade again to see if I saw any difference between the #7F and the SE.

  I clipped a section with the #7F.

This section of coat was clipped with the regular #7F blade.

If you look closely you can see some lines, but to be honest all you have to do is run your hand over the coat and those lines disappear.

 Then I clipped another section with the SE7.

At first it started to ride over the top of the hair again.

I tried again using a little more pressure than I usually do.

  As you can see, it is a smoother finish, and I didn't have to run my hand over it to smooth it out.

Although, I haven't ever had a problem getting a nice smooth finish with the #7F blade.

 The ShowEdge blade comes in blade numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 30.
I am curious to try the SE #4 and #5 because those F blades do to tend to leave certain types of coats a little choppy.
I am also still not sold on the SE7 blade.

I don't like having to use a lot of pressure to get a smooth cut on a coat.
I always use a light pressure when I clip.
I am always prepared to pull the blade away if I meet the least bit of resistance.
You just never know when you might hit a small wart, a skin tag, or a small mat pulls the skin up into your blade.
Using a light touch when clipping has saved me more than once.

If I have to use more pressure to get the close teeth on these  SE blades to go through the hair, than I would rather not use them.
That being said, knowing me, I will probably brake down and buy another one.
The SE4, I think,  just to try it out.
I might like it.
I hope that I won't be wasting my money. :)


On another note, some of you who read my blog regularly may have noticed that I have changed the water mark on my pictures.

I have read posts on the groomer forums about people who post ads on Craigslist saying that they will groom your dog for $15 dollars.

Today when I was at my Bank, the teller was talking about going to Craigslist to find someone to watch her dog.
I warned her to be careful and find someone who was Bonded and Insured, and who could also give her references.

It got me wondering what kind of grooming ads were on Craigslist.
So I went to Craigslist services.
Most of the ads were for pet sitters.
There were a few groomers.

All of the groomers that I saw with ads were groomers advertizing their shops or in-home grooming shops.
Just about all of them had websites.
I like going to websites.
I like looking at other shops and grooming pictures.

One of the groomers ads had her website and facebook page.
So I went to her facebook page.
She has a home shop that is an hour away from me.
She had a lot of before and after pictures posted to her facebook, so I scrolled down her page looking at the pictures.




Then I see a picture that stops me dead.

This picture!

Of my girl!

On another shops facebook page!

Advertizing creative grooming services.

With my watermark still on it.  :/

I was flabbergasted.

I have heard about groomers using other groomers picture on their Websites, but.....
I just don't know what to say or think.

She is advertizing Creative grooming styles.
She does not claim that the dog in the picture is her work, but she doesn't say that it isn't either.
Like my daughter said; "it is on her facebook, her customers are going to think that it is her work."

Why would you put another groomers work on your facebook or webpage?

I have shown other groomers work on my blog.
Pictures that I took at Groom Expo or Intergroom, but I have clearly stated that it is not my work.
I have also put the groomers name with the picture if possible.

I like to think the better about people.

There is a possibility that she didn't see anything wrong with showing another groomers work to advertize her creative grooming services.
The only thing is, when I went through the rest of her pictures, she had other pictures of dogs that she have done some creative on.
It was her creative, because the pictures were taken in her shop.

Why use mine?

The picture was originally posted on my personal facebook page that is very private.

I had put this picture on facebook a couple of years ago, and another business acquaintance had asked me if she could put them on her facebook page. (she sells dog treats)
I gave her permission to.
I noticed that the groomer using my picture is also a friend of the same business acquaintance.
I am guessing that that is where she found the picture.

I haven't decided whether to message her or not.

I have such mixed feelings about this.....
I don't know what to do about this.
If you have any ideas, please tell me. :(

Happy Grooming, MFF

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Please Don't Lie

One of the things that I hate the most about grooming is when an owner lies to me.

Sometimes I stand there listening to an owner explain why they missed an appointment, or why their dog is matted, and when they finish speaking it is all I can do not to say; "Do I really look that stupid?!"

I should have kept a small notebook under my counter all these years so that I could have written down all of the excuses, or comments that owners have said to me over the years.

Sad to say, but I have kind of gotten used to it now.
I have come to expect lame excuses and out and out lies about matted dogs and missed appointments.

It is so nice when a customer comes in and honestly admits to not brushing their dog, or waiting too long to make an appointment.

The one thing that bothers me more than anything, is when a customer brings in a dog and does not warn me that their dog may be, or is a biter, or a problem dog.

Yesterday I had a new customer come in with her Schnauzer.

The first red flag for me was not when the dog growled at me when I first approached him.

I have had some of the sweetest dogs growl when you approach them with their owner.

The red flag was that the owner very quickly stopped filling out her new customer form and put her hand between me and the dog telling him to be good.

I could feel the owners worry and tension.

The owner was watching very closely as I greeted the dog and went to pick him up.

I have seen owners do this before when they are expecting the dog to bite me.

The dog was very tense, overgrown, and matted.

We talked about the cut.

The owner wanted the Schnauzer cut, and she wanted full legs, skirt, and a bib on the chest.  :/

I told her that a style clip would depend on whether or not her dog would let me brush him.

I don't know about Schnauzers in other areas, but here they are notorious for hating having their legs  brushed, and fooled with.

The entire time that I was talking with the owner, I was holding the Schnauzer in my arms, petting him, he was tense and skiddish the entire time.

On top of that, the owner was watching him like a hawk.

There were too many red flags.
The dogs tension and fear.
The fact that the head looked a lot longer than the body, making me think that the last groomer may not have been able to do the head.
The dog being overgrown and matted.
The owners tension.
The way the owner kept watching her dog, and look as if she was ready to pounce if her dog moved the wrong way.

All of this was going through my mind while I was talking to the owner about the cut.
So, the last thing that I asked her was; "Has he ever had any problems with being groomed?"
"No, not at all," she told me.

I was in the middle of grooming a special needs dog when this owner came in, so I took her dog to the grooming room and put him in a kennel to chill out while I finished the other dog.
When I put him in the kennel, I waited for him to turn back to me, then I  petted and talked to him a little before I closed the kennel door.
I also left his leash on, hanging out of the kennel door, just in case he turned out to be kennel shy.

He was fine coming out of the kennel when I was ready to bathe him.
Boy, was this dog tense.
He flinched every time I touched him.
He was wound so tight I thought he was going to pop.

I got him in the tub.
He was petrified of everything!
He practically jumped out of his skin when I turned the water on, before it even touched him.

I have to say, that at this point, I was very upset with the owner.
This dog was showing all kinds of signs of being a  potential fear biter.
I was sure that the owner knew something about this dog and she didn't tell me.

He reluctantly let me wet down his body, but when I got the sprayer close to his head, he lost it.
It was as though I had a dog that had never been groomed in my tub.
This dog was 4 years old.
He already had the Schnauzer patter on him.
She told me that he had been groomed before with no problems.


This dog was not acting like this just because he was at a new shop.
This dog was petrified to even be touched.
I would have laid money down that this owner had been told about her dog by another groomer.

I immediately went into puppy mode.
I treated this dog like he was a little puppy that had never been groomed before.
I turned the water pressure down. 
I worked very slowly, making sure that the dog knew what I was about to do, before I did it.
I talked him through the bath, telling him everything that I was doing, reassuring him that he was going to be okay.

At first I wasn't totally sure that I was even going to be able to wash his face.
I got him to calm down and relax a little by very slowly and gently rubbing his face with shampoo.
I couldn't help but worry a little that he was not going to let me rinse the shampoo off of his face.

I rinsed his body first, letting the warm water relax him.
I turned the pressure down as low as it would go on the sprayer, put the sprayer right up against his skin on his back, and very slowly moved the sprayer up his neck to the back of his head.

 He struggled a tiny bit, but I told him that he was okay, and he relaxed and let me rinse his head.

I will say, that for as scared as he was, he never tried to bite me.

I don't like to talk bad about other groomers, but I couldn't help but wonder what had caused this dog to be so scared of the grooming process.

 He was scared of the HV dryer, but I packed his ears with cotton and talked him through it.

He was still tense, but he settled down and let me dry his body and legs.

I didn't even attempt to dry his head with the HV.
I thought that that would be pushing it.
He would start to freak every time I got close to his head with the HV hose, so I would back off.

He did much better letting me dry his face and head with the hand dryer.

A lot of his mats came out with the dirt and the HV dryer.

 He was actually very good about letting me brush out his legs.

He was still very skiddish, and I had to work and move slowly with him.

He only snapped once, and it was a very half hearted attempt while clipping his nails.

I was still worried about his head.

Would he let me clip it?

He did!

He was very good.

He was a little touchy around the ears, but he didn't fight it.

I had to shave out his belly because the mats were too tight.
I also had to scissor the skirt shorter than the owner wanted, but I was able to keep the bib for her.

Maybe if she comes back, I can talk the owner into letting me groom the skirt and bib right.

But she is the one paying, so if she likes it like this, that's okay.

I'll be happy if he comes back so that I can keep working with him and get him to like the grooming.

I told the owner how he was to be groomed.
She insisted that she did not know he was like that.
She was a nice owner, and I wanted to believe her.
I was just really having a hard time believing that another groomer had not told her about her dog before.
Another thing that was making me have a hard time believing her was, that when I brought her dog up to her, she seemed so surprised at how he looked.
That his head was groomed.

There is nothing like bring a dog out to their owner, after you have groomed their dog, and having them ask; "He didn't bite you did he?" 
"No, why?" I always ask.
"Because he bite the last groomer and they wouldn't groom him anymore," the owner says with a sideways grin on their face.

Don't you think that that deserves some kind of slap in the head?

I just wish that they would not lie to me.
I get really upset if a dog bites me, and the owner knew that the dog was a bitter and didn't tell me.

I can work so much better with a dog if I know what to expect.
I can also schedule for the extra time it takes to groom these types of dogs.
This one took me twice as long as he should have.

Luckily, this dog didn't turn out to be a biter. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lost File

It is so embarrassing when you misplace a customers file.

Yes, we still use paper files.

We also use a computer for our appointment book , but we have not made the leap to putting everything on computer.
I have to admit that I like being able to have the file next to my grooming table.
I guess I am still old school in some ways.
I like being able to browse through the file if I need to.

Every once in a while, maybe once a year, a file goes missing.
It will just up and disappear as though it never existed.

I truly do believe that there are little 'Borrowers" living in the walls that like to come out when you are not looking and move, or take things.
They have to be there, because that has to be the only explanation for things not being where you left them.

Especially those times when you stand at your table looking and looking for your comb, that was just sitting on your table a second ago.
You look on the floor, you look in your tool box, you check your smock pockets, you look and look and look.
Then, in exasperation, you turn and look at your grooming table, and low and behold, there it is, sitting on your grooming table, right where you left it, only it wasn't there a minute ago when you looked.

Dang nab it, I know it wasn't there a minute ago!

Their laughing at me, those little 'Borrowers'.
They magically appear when I am not looking, move my comb, have a good laugh at me while watching me look for my comb, then they magically put the comb back.

I know that is what they do.
You know why I know?
Because I refuse to believe that I am that blind!


Those little 'Borrowers' took the file for my first customer of the day.

It was only his second time in.

I had groomed him 8 weeks earlier.

I remembered the dog.
I even remembered the owner.
I could not, for the life of me, remember what I did on the dog.

Worst of all, I felt like an idiot and was too embarrassed to tell the owner that I lost her file.

Guess what?

She wanted the same groom that I had done the first time.

So, as I waited on her, I was having a fight with myself in my head.

'Just tell her you miss placed her file. She will understand.'
'Will she?'
'Or will she be offended?'

So, what did I do?

I made a quick assessment of the dog.

I could tell that I had done a Lamb clip on the dog before.

I could tell what I did to the face before.

I only thing that I was not sure about was what blades I had used the last time.

I decided not to fess up.

I didn't want the owner to be offended, or think us unprofessional because we lost her file.

 I read a tip once that said if you were not sure how much the hair had grown out since the last grooming, just look at the pads of the feet.

It is a good tip, but I don't think that it is 100% accurate, but it did give me an idea of  what length to do on this dog.

 I also looked at the corner of the eyes to try to get an idea of how much hair had grown out, but that didn't work, because I was pretty sure that the owner was cutting on the dogs face since the last grooming.

The owner had most definitely been hacking at the face and beard.

So I had no choice but to scissor up the face to match what the owner had done.

Well, I decided to clip the body with a #3 3/4F blade.

This is how much hair it took off.

Looks close to the length on the pads of the feet, right?

 I used the #3 3/4F on the body.

A 5/8F blade on the legs, with a light touch at the lower part of the legs and scissor to finish.

Scissor the top of the head and face round and in proportion with the body.

Blend and fix the hair around the mouth.

The owner did say that she wanted an inch off the ears.

Thankfully, the owner was once again happy with the groom.

I lucked out.

I should have fessed up.
I would have if I hadn't been able to tell at all what I had done before.

How much do you want to bet that that dogs file will be sitting on the counter, or my table, or someplace that we will find it tomorrow?

The 'Borrowers' are putting that file back right now..I know it!

Happy Grooming, MFF