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, March 7, 2012

We need a Vacation

That is what my daughter told me when I lost it over a customer today.

She is right!

We need a Vacation.
We need warm, sunny days.
We need to be outside in the sun.

I need whatever has been in the air lately, making my customers crazy, to go away.


Today my husband came in the grooming room to tell me that a Self-Serve customer wanted her dogs nails clipped.
I was in the middle of grooming a special needs dog, so I told my husband to tell the customer that I would clip the nails after she finished bathing her dog.

Before I go on with this story, let me talk a little about clipping nails.
I offer nail clipping as a walk-in service and as an extra service for the Self-Serve.
It is a few dollars cheaper to get the dogs nails clipped if the customer uses the Self-Serve Dog Wash.

Not to toot my own horn....

What the heck, I will toot my own horn here.

I am very good at clipping nails.
I clip them as short as possible and rarely bleed the nails.
I am very careful.
I am also very quick at it.
I am also very good at getting dogs that don't normally like having their nails clipped accept it.

There, did I toot my horn enough?  :)

Anyway, when I clip nails for walk-ins or in front of Self-Serve customers, I am a little conservative with the length that I take off.
I still clip the nails pretty short, but not quite as short as I would when doing a full grooming.
The last thing that I want to do is accidentally bleed a nail in front of a customer.

Most of the time the customers are very happy with the nail clipping.
Every once in a while a customer will ask if I can take them shorter.
If I know that I could get a tiny bit more off, I will warn them that if I take more off there is the possibility that a nail may bleed.
The customer always says 'that's okay, I don't want his/her nails to bleed.'

So..... on to today.

After the customer finished washing her dog, my husband came and told me that she was ready to have the nails clipped.
The dog was a very pretty yellow Lab.

"He does not like his nails clipped," the owner told me as I walked up to the dog in the tub.
"That's okay, I told her. "You can stand there with him and talk to him."
"I thought you would do the nails before I bathed her," the owner said to me has I was petting the dog, letting him get to know me.
"It really doesn't matter whether I clip them before or after the bath, but the nails tend to be softer after the bath making clipping easier on some dogs," I told her.
"Oh, that makes sense I guess. You would know, you're the professional," she said.

I picked up one of the dogs front feet, pausing to see how she would react.
The owner immediately wrapped her arms around her dogs neck and smashed it's head into her chest.
A lot of owners do this.

The dog was fine.
He never tried to fight, even once.
The only time he struggled a little was to get his face out of his owners chest.

After I finished clipping the last foot, I reached up to pet the dog again, telling him how good he did.
While I was talking to the dog, his owner picked up one of his front feet and said, "Is that as short as you are going to take them? I can still see white on the nail."
I had taken them pretty close.
I was even a little worried that I had taken one too short.

I took the foot out of her hand and said, "I could possibly get a tiny bit more off, but even though you can still see some white on the end of the nails, you have to be careful because the quick tapers down into a point inside the nails, where you can't see it, and I could cause the nails to bleed if I go shorter."
"I think they can go shorter, closer to the pink," the Labs owner told me.
I picked up a foot and started to carefully clip a little more off of the nails as the owner watched.
The dog was being so good.
"I might as well file them if that is all you are going to do," she told me when she didn't see me put the clipper all of the way back to the pink and just cut a big hunk off.
"They can go a lot shorter, but if you are to scared to cut them..." she continued talking.
"I am not scared to clip your dogs nails!" I told her, dropping the dogs foot, not quite believing what I just heard her say.

The owner grabbed up her dogs foot again and pointed to the pink spot on the nail.
"When I cut the nails I cut all of the way up here," she told me, trying to grab for my nail clippers.
That is probably why your dog doesn't like it when you cut his nails, I thought to myself.
There was no way I was letting her have my nail clippers!
I moved back towards the dog again to explain to the owner why it was not a good idea to clip a dogs nails back that far, and to explain that I would not purposely cut nails that short to make them bleed, when she said, "Well, I'll just take him to Pet***. They always cut all of the way back to the pink."

At this point I threw my hands up and said, "Fine, you do that. Would you like me to help you get him out of the tub or would you like to use the steps?"
"I'll use the steps," she said.
"Okay, my husband will bring them over as soon as the other lady gets her Labradoodle in the tub," I told her as I turned and walked away.

I had to walk away.
It was all that I could do to keep a smile on my face.
I am not here to hurt and bleed a dog just because the owner wants the nails short.

Needless to say I was beyond pissed.
I don't know what it was, but when she accused me of being scared to clip the nails short enough, something snapped inside.

Guess what?

That was not the end of it.

I had walked back into the grooming room and my daughter and son instantly asked me what was wrong.
I barely had time to start telling them when my husband popped his head in the grooming room door.

"The lady with the Lab wants you to come back out because she said that she can't see any nails in the bottom of the tub and she doesn't want to pay for clipping nails if you didn't do them."
"Diiiiii..............., I tried to talk.

I really did, but my brain was exploding.

"Didn't...do...the...nails?!" I sputtered.
"She was standing right there watching as I clipped the nails!!" I said through my teeth.
"I thought that you did. What is going on?" my husband asked, startled at my reaction.

He had been waiting on a customer, and had not seen the exchange between me and the Labs owner.

I quickly enlightened him, and then I did something that you are probably going to yell at me for.

I told my husband to tell her that I was not coming back out and that the nails where no charge.
I told him to just get her out of the shop.

I know, I know.

I cut that dogs nails.
I got a lot off of them.
She should have paid.

I didn't want a confrontation over nails of all things.
I just wanted her gone.

I haven't felt that mad towards a customer in a very long time.
I wanted to hit something.
I couldn't let it go.
After 15 minutes I was still fuming, and I was working on a biting dog.
I needed to calm down.

Then I remembered PITA.

I still wanted to hit something.

I called my husband in to watch the dog that I was working on.

"Watch this dog please," I told him when he came over to my table.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"I'll be right back," I told him.

I walked out into the lobby and past my son.
"What are you doing Mom?" he asked me.
I gave him a look and just kept walking back into the employee room.
With my 12 year old sitting at his desk doing school work, and my 17 year old son standing in the door way, I walked over the the PITA punching bag, pulled back my fist and punched the bag.



This is the point in the story where I must give a warning.
If you have never used a punching bag before, let me warn you.... not to stand too close.

Can you guess what happened?

I punched that bag, and SMACK!
It came back and smacked me in the face....right in the nose!

At this point you had to pick my boys up off of the floor.
I thought they were going to revert back to babies and pee their pants.
Who knew kids could laugh that hard, for so long at their mother.

So, did it break my bad mood?
You bet. :)
You just have to laugh at yourself sometimes.

It did hurt my nose though.

And, now I will have to live through the retelling of the time that the punching bag smacked Mom in the face, every time the boys get together with the rest of the family.
My oldest couldn't wait to run in the grooming room and tell my husband and my daughter.  :/

That's what I get for getting mad enough to want to hit something.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Omg! That makes my stomach turn. We have people like that... I can't believe the nerve of people sometimes. Arrrrg!

  2. First off all, you didn't toot your horn enough. Every time I cut my dog's nails, I look at them and think...I didn't do anything. But if I would go shorter, I'm almost certain I'd get the quick. So celebrate your skill!

    Secondly, that made me mad. Just hearing it made me angry for you. I'm glad you got it out on the punching bag, but I'm sorry it got you, other than the healing laughter that followed.

    Hoping the PITAs decrease for everyone. (We can hope, right?)

  3. Ooooh just reading about that customer makes me mad! I make it my personal goal to never quick a dog and if in doubt I just bring out my dremel/grinder- its amazing how much shorter nails look with just the ends rounded off. Anyways, kudos to you for not punching the customer in the face. I can't imagine how anyone would want to intentionally quick their own dog. I love your blog, and sorry 'bout your nose, haha! Keep doing what you do :)

  4. Thanks guys!
    I had a feeling that I wouldn't be the only groomer out there that her comments would bother.
    I am not going to bleed nails for anyone.
    Lisa, MFF

  5. I mean really, if she can do a much better job, then stop wasting my time and go home and do it yourself. I have never met a dog that LIKED his nails to be clipped, which is why we pay other people to do it.

    I am glad to know that i am not the only one who loses their cool with customers at times and would gladly pay them to leave my presence.

    I am struggling with people who think that their dogs hair cut should take the amount of time that their haircut does.

    Case in point, i had a lady come in on sunday, who had a 9:30 appointment, didnt show up until 1 and wanted to know at 4 why her dog wasnt done??? There must be some kind of magically cut off time in her world, because she thought that since she showed up before noon (guess she didnt change her clock) that the dog would be ready in 3 hours.

  6. Hi Paisely,
    If I have a customer come in late for an appointment, the first thing that I tell them is.."We will be happy to groom 'Fluffy' for you today, but since we had him booked for 9am his reserved time has passed so we will have to fit him in between other dogs. Because of this his grooming will take longer than normal, and unfortunately I am not sure how much longer. You are welcome to leave him or you can reschedule if you would like." All of this said very firmly BUT pleasantly, with a smile. That way it is up to the owner whether the dog stays longer. Hopefully she won't complain because she was given a choice.
    Notice that I said 'hopefully'. :)

  7. I worked in a vet clinic that also provided a little grooming. I was new there and was doing a dental on a standard poodle. The front desk girl that used to have my job came upstairs and told me to do a nail cut back. What the heck is that?!??? She said before the dog wakes up you pinch the toe and cut the nail waaaaay back and put a lot of quick stop on it. I was stunned. The owner didn't like hearing the nails on her wood floors. I asked her if Dr. Zzzzzz wanted this done. She said yes. We always do it. I am ashamed to say I didn't go ask the vet. I did as she showed me.. Made me ill.. This went on for a year, every few months I cleaned the already clean teeth of her dog. And. Did the cutbacks. One day the vet came in while I was finishing up and in a shocked voice asked me what the heck I was doing! I was taken back and answered nail cutbacks. Didn't you know about this? No. He did not. After sputtering talking to myself while I woke the dog up and got her into a kennel I went out front and told her that I will never do that again and she needed to tell the owner. Didn't go over well to say the least. She wanted to know what she was going to do now, her groomer wouldn't cut them short enough!

    1. Hi haralsons,
      I am sorry that another employee lied to you like that. I learned the hard way, a long time ago, to double check on things that just didn't seem right to me. Sometimes I still ignore that little voice in my head that tries to warn me, but I have gotten much, much better about listening to it. It is right almost all of the time. I have also learned to stand up for my beliefs. It scared the he** out of me the first time that I refused to do something to a dog that I knew would hurt it and knew that the customer would give me a hard time about, but I stuck to my guns, and even though I was shaking when the confrontation was all over, I felt really good about myself.
      I am really proud of you for refusing to hurt that customers dog. Thanks for reading my blog. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  8. What an annoying customer that made me mad just reading it! PS I work at a petsmart and please know I or any other groomer I know of that I have worked with would never clip a nail that short. You can actually get in trouble at work if you're constantly quicking a dog because at that point you are being careless :/ pfft. Customers.