I get mad that I let a customer bother me.
I let them get under my skin.
I let them make me doubt myself.
That is the worst of all..to let a customer make you doubt yourself.
After all, YOU are the groomer.
Even if you have been grooming only for a short time, you still probably know more about grooming than the dog owner.
If you have been grooming as long as I have, you know that you know more about grooming.
So why is it that I let knit-picky customers rule my day sometimes.
I have an owner whose dog I have been grooming for a little over a year.
The dog is very nice, but very, very nervous.
The owner is nice, but I don't doubt for a second that she could get very un-nice if she were not happy with the groom.
You just feel it in your bones sometimes.
There are customers that no matter how nice they always seem to be, there are little comments that they make, that you just know things could turn ugly if you didn't always please them.
When I first started grooming I used to really stress and go out of my way to cater to these types of people.
I could stress myself to the point of tears, or being sick to my stomach.
I am not sure when it finally dawned on me that I can only do the best job that I can on every dog that I groom, and if the owner doesn't like it, they need to find another groomer that they will like.
Once that sunk into my head, most of the stress over pleasing everyone and especially the picky customers eased up about 90%.
If you really care about what you do, I don't think all of the stress ever goes away entirely. :/
Why do I say that?
Because of today.
Because of a dog that I groomed today.
The one I was talking about at the beginning of my post.
The very, very nervous dog with the very, very picky owner.
Why do I say that she is picky?
After all, she is paying for the groom, right?
She should have her dog clipped exactly the way she wants, right?
Yes, she should.
But, when you have been doing exactly what the owner asks for.... every time you groom the dog...exactly how she asked for it....for over a year....and you only got it 'perfect' one time....it may be about time to give up.
Isn't he cute?
He is very, very sweet.
He is very, very nervous and jumpy.
Kind of like Barney Fife was on 'The Andy Griffith Show'.
Only this is Barney Fife after he drank too many RedBulls.
After his owner and I went over all of her very specific instructions, she noticed that her dog was still shaking a little in my arms.
"I'll go get his stress medicine," she told me. "It is in my car."
"That's okay, I tried to stop her. "He stops shaking after I take him in the grooming room."
"No, no," she stared for the door. "It's right in my car."
She left and went out to her car.
I stood there in my lobby holding her dog in my arms.
His shaking almost immediately slowed to a very soft hum.
Two minutes later she was back.
Her dog started shaking harder than he was before she walked out.
She immediately gave her dog three full droppers of his stress medicine.
Said bye to her dog and left again.
He stopped shaking as soon as I took him to the grooming room.
Now, her instructions for the groom were basically the same as usual, except for a couple of changes.
There are almost always one or two changes.
There is always at least one thing that was 'not quite right' last time.
I will get to that a little later.
The first change was....well I guess I couldn't really call it a change.
"I really liked the way you made the top of the tail puffy last time," she told me. "Can you do that again?"
"I puffed up the top of the tail?????" I thought to myself. "I don't remember doing anything different to the tail last time."
I checked my notes from his last grooming.
His tail was matted.
That is were the puffy hair came from.
It was damaged hair from being dematted.
I didn't scissor the tail any differently.
I just de-matted it.
She wanted the same thing again.
It turned out to be no problem.
His tail was totally matted again.
Once I de-matted his tail....not the easiest thing to do to a dog that is the reincarnation of Barney Fife on Redbull....his tail was puffy again.
Thankfully that my trusty mat splitter made it a lot easier.
I wanted to use some finishing spray to help condition the damaged hair, but the owner wanted a puffy tail.
The finishing spray would have probably flattened it too much.
Okay, that was one instruction covered.
The owner also wanted the ears shortened.
But, not too much, because the ears must be balanced with the tail.
Oh, and she also wanted me to make the ears more puffy and have more volume.
So, before I started drying the ears I decided to take some length off of them.
I know, I know.
It most likely would not make any difference.
But, nobody can say that I didn't try to get those ears puffierrrrrr.
So here he is all fluffed up.
Yes, that is the best I could do with the top of his head.
Yes, it still had a part in it even after using volumizer and mousse.
Yes, his owner wants a Poodle type topknot on his head.
I even put a little Volumizer on his mustache because his owner wants it as round as I can get it.
I used "The Volumizer", from Davis, on his head, mustache, and ears.
His owner always wanted a round mustache, but she also wanted it short.
The only problem was, that it was hard to get the mustache round when she wanted it so short and also wanted the top of his nose shaved off.
You can't get a circle round if you cut the top of the circle off, right?
The last time that she was in I told her that she would have to let the mustache grow out a little so I could get it rounder.
She told me to see if I could get it round this time.
I made a decision on my own.
I decided not to shave the top of nose all of the way down like his owner likes.
I only shaved between and under the eyes.
I'll find out next time if I made the right decision.
Anyway, his mustache lays pretty flat naturally.
It also does not help that he likes to constantly lick it down, or suck it into his mouth.
This is before.
This is after.
Is it round enough?
I think it turned out really nice.
Take a nice long look....it does not stay that way.
I had a talk with him.
Well, not really a talk...I actually begged him not to lick his mustache....at least until after his owner picked him up.
He just gave me a kiss and proceeded to lick the heck out of his mustache.
And suck the hair into his mouth.
It didn't look very round when he did the nervous pant either.
Which he does most of the time.
Do the ears look puffy enough?
Is the head round enough?
I am ashamed to say that I spent way too long grooming this dog.
I knit-picked, and knit-picked, and knit-picked.
I spent more time on that dogs head and mustache than I did grooming this entire dog.
AND this dog.
I really had both of these dogs clipped and scissored faster than Barney Fifes head.
I really have issues. :/
I do the best job I can on every dog that I groom.
Whether I like the owner or not. (I do like this owner, I just can't seem to get her dog right)
Whether I like the dog or not. (I really like her dog)
I always do my best.
It is my reputation walking out the door with every dog I groom.
So, why do I still occasionally knit-pick on an easy groom that I should be able to do with my eyes closed?
Well, not closed, that would be scary, but you know what I mean.
I still let some owners get to me.
I still worry that I am not getting the groom just right.
I am not stressing really, I just seem to knit-pick more than usual.
I always pay for it.
It puts me behind for the rest of the day.
Then I get mad at myself.
Did I take the dog up to his owner when she came to pick up?
I figure I'll find out next time whether or not I got everything right.
I was running behind....remember.
I didn't have time to go up and watch her look over her dog.
The next groom will come soon enough. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF