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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

More Evidence

I had more evidence in the other day that clipping a double coated breed just one time can ruin its coat for life.

This seven year old Pom came in the other day.

It was the first time we ever groomed her.

She had not been professionally groomed in a long time because her owners were too afraid to take  her to another groomer.

The only reason that they brought her to me was because my Vet talked them into bring her to me.

Apparently, the Poms owner had dropped her dog off to be groomed as usual one day.
Unbeknown to the owner, her regular groomer no longer worked at this particular shop.
The Pom was to get its usual bath, brush out, and neaten the feet.

When the owners daughter picked up her dog she was handed a shaved Pom.
The daughter started crying and swore that it was not her dog.

The owner called the grooming shop after her daughter brought the dog home.
She asked why they shave her dog.
She was told that the grooming ticket said that her dog was to only be trimmed.
"That is what they were supposed to do, but they shaved her!!"

The groomer was put on the phone.
"Why did you shave my Pomeranian?" the owner asked.
"Because, that is what I do with all of my Pomeranian customers,"  the groomer told her very matter of fact.

I didn't know what to say.
I don't like to talk against other groomers.
At the same time I don't understand it.

This is not the first time that I have heard of groomers grooming their customers dogs the way that they think the dog should look, not the way the customer wants.
I have even had a couple of groomers who worked for me that I had to argue with to get them to groom the dog the way the owner wanted, not the way they wanted to do the dog.

Sure, I have dogs come in a lot that I would like to groom one way, but the owner wants something else.
I do what the owner wants. (within reason)

Fast forward to today.

After work today my daughter and I went to pick up dog food from the 'super pet store'.
While we were waiting in line to check out, I was watching the groomers.
One young lady was shaving a Golden, and I mean shaving.
As far as I could tell she was using a 10 or 15 blade.
This Golden was not a thick coated Golden.

The Goldens coat was a lot like this one.

I wanted to go in the grooming room and ask if that is really what the owner asked to be done.

I wanted to so bad.

But, I didn't want to piss the groomer off, and my daughter would have killed me.

I really, truly wanted to ask, because I have never had a Golden owner come in ask me to shave their golden like that.

Cut their Golden short...yes, but not shave.

I  have had owners use the word 'shave', but after more questions, they never truly want the dog shaved.

I really, really want to know.
Did the Golden owner realize just how short their dog was going to be shaved?
What are most of the reactions of owners when they see their Goldens shaved that short?
Are they shaving the Golden because that is the only thing that they know to do?

Boy, I wish that groomers would talk to each other. :/
I don't want to step on toes, or get my head chopped off for that matter.

So anyway, I am glad that the Pom owner decided to take another chance on having her Pomeranian professionally groomed.

She still has a lot of bald spots under that long hair.

And her undercoat no longer blows out.
It has to be brushed out.

She cleans up nice.

Her coat is nothing like it was before she was shaved.

Her owner showed me a picture of what her coat used to look like.

Her coat was absolutely gorgeous.

It still amazes me that some double coats can be clipped over and over again before the damage is done, then others are damaged after just one shave.

Oh well, it is just something I have always wondered.
Maybe one day I'll go in and ask.
I just have to figure out a way of doing it without offending anyone. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I live/groom in farm country and we have quite a lot of people that bring in their large double coated dogs and ask for them to be as short as we can. I have heard numerous reasons including it's too hot or it helps them find ticks better or they're shedding too much (lol). I always try to talk them out of it rather by explaining that the hair helps keep them cool or they are still going to shed just smaller hairs. I also warn them if it's their first time asking for a shave down that it will ruin their coats and make it look different and mat easier and sometimes it doesn't grow back at all. I have talked a lot of people out of it that way. I hate shaving dogs down and anytime that any owner for any dog is asking for a different hair length I always use my thumb and index finger and show them the length it will be when I am done instead of saying an inch long or half and inch or whichever. I don't recall ever being complained about clipping dogs shorter than they wanted. I wish that people wouldn't shave dogs that shouldn't be but around here those clips work very well into peoples lifestyles plus it makes the groom last longer since most people can't afford to have thier big dog groomed every 4 weeks.

    1. Hi Peggan,
      My shop is right outside of the city, but I live in farm country. I used to groom a Golden and Sheltie that lived on a Wine Vineyard. They only had them groomed twice a year at most. You can only image the things I used to pull out of those dogs coats. They had to be the dirtiest, smelliest dogs that I have ever groomed. I still managed to talk them out of shaving the dogs. They obviously lived outdoors most of the time. I felt that they still needed some hair on them for protection from the sun and all of the stickers they walked through.
      I guess I just must be really good at talking people out of shaving. lol
      The closest I have ever gotten to shaving a Golden is a 5/8HT blade, and he wasn't even a full breed Golden. :)
      Lisa, MFF

    2. HA! my friend has me completely shave down her two dogs, which is fine since their poodle mixes, but when i asked her why she wanted them "as short as they can go" she told me its because she could see the fleas better and theyre easier to pick off. Ive known her for a while so I feel completely comfortable yelling at her about buying flea medication, cuz her dogs truely are infested and shaving them down just for that reason is the stupidest reason ive ever heard. So, last time i shaved her dogs i made her go buy flea medication or else i wouldnt groom her dogs for free anymore. And she did. Next step, convince her to neuter them both. lol.

  2. I agree completely that clipping some double coated breeds does do damage to their overall appearance, and some never recover. Pomeranians especially seem very prone to this problem, but with that being said, it's worth noting that many of the Pomeranians that come into my shop suffer from alopecia unrelated to any underlying disease such as Cushings or Addison's disease. Seems to hit them right around year 4 or 5, and from there on, their coats just deteriorate until they're almost bald. I have two Poms right now that look like the dog you pictured, without ever being shaved. It's hereditary and there is no cure. Sad, but perhaps this is what's going on with this dog. Karen in NJ

    1. Hi Karen,
      So true about the Alopecia. My own Pom has shown some signs of it in the last year. I did not think about that when I was talking to this owner. The dog had only been shaved once. If she returns I will talk to her about the Alopecia, Cushings, and Addison's. Thank you, I usually think of that stuff, but I guess I got caught up in her story. :/
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Hi Lisa, just a quick comment on the shavedowns. I work at one of those "super pet stores" and and we do shave a few goldens, chows, poms...It's whatever owner wants. And yes, the owners do mean "shave" when they ask for a shave. As in "make my beautiful Golden look like white Lab with red head stuck on" shave. We have photos showing what a shaved Golden looks like and what a nicely trimmed/deshedded one looks like. No, they don't want the hair, and being so hot in Arizona many dogs spend their days in the pools now. And being corporate, we can't really tell the owner that I am not going to shave their dog and have them go someplace else. Sad but true.

    1. Hi tvergirl2001,
      You show them pictures and they still want that done to their beautiful Goldens?! It blows my mind. It is one of those pet peeves that have always driven me crazy. Why get a breed of dog with a gorgeous coat only to shave it all off? Wasn't the way the breed looked one of the reasons you bought the dog in the first place? Oh well, we have to do what the paying customer wants.
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Hello!
    A lot of goldens come into my salon to be shaved. Usually with a 7 or 5. I always try to tell them its not a good idea to shave their double coated dog but i think they think im lying or something because they usually go through with the shave down anyways. The reason is almost always either because their dog is shedding, or is "too hot", and their friends with shaved goldens do it so they want to do it too. It is VERY difficult to have them agree to just a heavy trimming. A lot of these dogs have packed in undercoat and I always point that out and tell them that maybe I could just get all the dead coat out and that would make the situation better.. but noooooooo they still want their dog shaved because their friends shave theirs. And these customers turn into regulars so i wind up seeing fido for a shave down every few months. Luckily i recently talked an owner out of having me shave down their 2 collies. just a very heavy trim and removal of undercoat. The owners were greatful for what i did, they said the 1st time they had them at my salon another groomer shaved them down, and they looked like "aliens". They had no idea their dogs could be given a haircut without shaving them. We have shepards who get shave downs, australian shepards who get shave downs, goldens, labs, poms, chows, border collies. We have some short coated cattle dogs that get shaves! what the hell?! they have short hair already!!!! Bleh, I absolutely hate getting dogs like those to shave and their stubborn owners. Well, at least their happy with the groom.. cant say I am.

    1. Hi -D,
      Ugh...shaved down Collies have to be one of the ugliest dogs. I am so glad that that owner listened to you. The only thing I ever cut on my Collies were their feet. I didn't even trim my Collies feathering. lol
      I must come across to my customers as a groomer who won't shave their dogs. I will do it if they really, really want it and really understand what they are asking for, I just seem to always be able to talk them out of it.
      Lisa, MFF

  5. I work at a Petsmart, and yes, we have loads of goldens come in that get shaved down in a 7 and some even in a 10. I hate it, but the owners wants it done, even the thin coated ones. :(

    1. Hi Mallory,
      After all of these replies, I have come to the conclusion that there must be some sign on my door that only dog owners can see that says: 'This groomer doesn't shave double coated breeds' because I just don't get that many requests for it. I can't explain it. :/
      Lisa, MFF

  6. I think it may be because you're so far north, I'm in Southeastern Louisiana (Halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge) We have loads of 'shave down' requests, it's borderline ridonculous but it pays well for a crappy clip. We're starting to charge more for double or matted coats for the shaved dogs. A neglected German Shepherd tore up my equipment the other day, he was a year old and never been brushed, his coat lacked the ability to blow out for whatever reason and his entire body, even his shoulders, neck, chest... you name it, was just a hard packed pelt. The saddest part was that I could tell that he was strictly an outside dog, he had little bug bite bumps all over him that the clippers kept snagging. I called the owner and he tried to pretend like he was indoors, but I pried a little more and he admitted that since Feb the dog hasn't come back inside... The dog was also so thin under all of that hair, I had to weave around ribs and deep grooves in his spine. Those grooms downright depress me :\
    (I haven't blogged in 2 months, I've been playing roller derby and getting pretty okay at it. It's good exercise, and apparently I am good at hitting people, lol. I've roller skated since I was a kid so I'm not starting from scratch, any venting or bs at work I can bring there and push myself.)

    1. Hi Serena,
      As I was reading about the Shepard, my first thought was that that Shepard had probably never seen the inside of a house or a dog house. Poor thing. (and I am abusive because I color my dog) Some owners will lie through their teeth when asked about the way they treat their dog.
      I mean really!.....They really think that we can't tell?
      It is funny how some groomers get tons of double coated shave down requests and some hardly any. I am sure that the weather in different parts of the country does have a lot to do about it. Although the big pet store a couple of miles from me seems to get a lot of them. lol
      ROLLER DERBY!! Good grief! I can't roller skate to save my life. Never have been able to. What a great way to take out the frustrations of the day. Have fun with that, just don't get hurt. :)

  7. We even have some Lab customers that want them shaved. Yes ones the only have 1/2 and inch of hair to begin with. It's crazy!

    1. Hi Peggan,
      YES! Those kill me. Shave a Lab, give me a break. I had a customer that wanted me to shave the Rottweiler just because they didn't like the long hairs on the hing leg area. Luckily I was able to talk them into just letting me trim down those long hairs. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  8. Same here. Big box store employee and customers coming in with goldens and even pyranese and tell us "Make it look like a lab!" Last week we had a lab that the owner demanded we shave in a 10 to reduce shedding. We ALWAYS warn them about sun burn and shaving not stopping shedding and tell them the coat can keep them cool too. But I think they come to us because they want what they want and refuse to be talked out of it. We have pyrs (one of which was "flea treated" with Sevin dust and the groomer picked 37 ticks off last groom, wherein the owner demanded it be shaved from tip of the nose to tip of the tail, absolutely no lion cut!), goldens, shelties, doodles, chows, labs, even CORGIS and Jack Russels that get shaved. (I had an owner who wanted me to clip the "long" hairs off her Boxer!!) One of the things we all hate most, even if it does pay our bills.

    1. Hi Michele,
      I am going to sound like a hypocrite right now, but I did have a Gr. Pyrenees in one time that I would have LOVED to shave that thick, massive, unforgiving coat off. lol
      I also had a Pom owner in the other day. (one of the only two that we clip)It is a little black Pow whose coat, so far, handles clipping well. Anyway, she came in complaining that after the last groom the dog was shedding. We had to go over, for the umpteenth time, about how clipping the dog short does not stop the shedding or blowing of the coat. ugh :(
      You are so right though...it pays our bills.
      Lisa, MFF

  9. I started off at a PetStupid, where we did have to shave everything. Now I work at a place where shaving double-coated dogs is strictly forbidden! It is such a nice change. By the way, the worst two dogs I ever had to shave were a pug and a Norwegian Elkhound

  10. I also work at a corporate store. We shave EVERYTHING. And we hate it. I had a 10 minute conversation today with a woman about shaving her german shepherd. She still wants to do it. We shave pugs, labs, pits, min pins, beagles, goldens, dachshunds, a bulldog even, german shepherds, aussies, its stupid.

  11. I love dogs with lots and lots of hair and I love scissoring so when customers come in and say "shave me dog as short as possible" I ALWAYS try everything I can to talk them out of it. I tell them about sunburns, ruining the dogs coat, they will still shed, they will look "a little funny" and I even say sometimes "if I shave the tail it will look like a rat's tail" (I love rats but most people don't...lol so that usually works) but most customers say no I want it off. I would say the Top 3 reasons are:
    1. It's too hot.
    2. He/she sheds too much.
    3. I live in the country.
    Some other common ones are, "I saw another (insert breed) that was shaved and it was so cute." or I am going out of town.
    I even have a "hair chart" that uses fluffy carpet shaved down with blades that way they can have an idea of the length that will be left. I also have a photo album that has a shave down section that they can look at and I even have pictures of double coated dog's ruined hair from shaving...and after all that...they still want them shaved.
    I am still always amazed at the dogs that customers want "shaved down"... pugs, chihuahuas, labs, goldens, border collies, huskies, chows, pyranese, mountain dogs, daschaunds, corgis, poms, shepards, collies, st. bernards, as well as all the long haired ones (yorkies, lhasas, poodles, maltese's etc.) What really confuses me is the people that have long haired dauschaunds or chihuahuas and want them shaved w/ a #10 a/o so that they "look like a short haired one" - why not get a short haired one to begin with?
    Also...I would say that the most common cocker cuts that I do are "#10 a/o everything" or "#10 cocker cuts w/ #2 guard comb on the skirt and legs, trim ears really short". The most commonly requested lengths of the shih-tzu's, lhasas, maltese, tibetan terriers, wheatons and poodles that I groom are #0 metal guard comb, #2 metal guard comb and the most reguested.... #7 FC blade.
    My favorite lengths on "shave downs" or "puppy cuts" are #4 FC in reverse (on yorkies and wire haired dogs) and #4 metal guard comb (w/ #15 under). I love hand scissors on pomeranians and aussies though....they are my favorite!


  12. Preview


    Aleksa Lamothe said...

    This.may seem a random question but do you ever have problems with the carpal tunnel in your wrist from scissoring so much? I dont scissor as much as you and use clippers a lot here for shaves (live in hot humid south and thats what people.want) and I've only groomed for 6 years and already feel the pains in my wrist from it.

    July 25, 2014 at 11:40 AM

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    This may seem like a random question but do you ever have problems with your carpal tunnel in your wrist from scissoring so much? I dont scissor nearly as much as you and only have been grooming 6 years and am already feeling the pains in my wrist.

  13. Why are you so freaked out by thought of pissing other people off? You are an adult, aren't you? Those stupid groomers are ruining other people's dogs and you only worry about them, but have you thought how damn pissed and sad those owners must be when they their dog back and realize the groomer has done a pernament damage to their coat? And they have to pay for it on top of that. Is it better to tell some ignorant idiot truth and piss them off once, or to have hundrets of people be dissapointed when you could have prevented it?