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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sometimes I Get Mad....

....at myself.

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.

Don't worry.
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.

Unbelievable, right?.

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


  1. Oh my goodness, that was so funny! And I know exactly what you mean. I always have to wonder: if something is wrong EVERY time I do your dog, why do you keep coming back? I think some people are just complainers and are incapable of being truly happy.

    Those people must live sad, sorry lives.

    And as much as I wish I didn't care what every customer thinks, even the picky ones, I do. I really do. I want every dog to be perfect. It's the curse of being a good groomer, I think. I mean, what kind of groomer WOULDN'T care? Probably not a very good one.

    So we worry on.

  2. He is an adorable dog. No wonder he is so nervous around his mom...she must be exhausting to live with!

    I wish I could let things like this roll off my back too, but it is difficult! The worst incident I have ever had was with a woman who brought in two mini schnauzers for grooming. She asked me if I knew how to do a breed trim. Um, yes? lol.

    So I did a breed trim on both dogs. Everyone I work with was raving about how great the dogs looked, I couldn't wait for her to pick them up.

    In the lobby she said they looked great and gave me a tip, but as soon as she left she called and yelled into the phone that I "balded" her dogs. Then she hung up in my face and called back a few seconds later saying this was NOT a breed trim. Hung up in my face again then called back a third time to tell me she is never coming back and she could show me so many pictures of schnauzers with longer hair on top of their heads.

    I used a 7F on top of their heads and on their backs and left the furnishings medium length.

    I felt sick over it and was so shocked I could not defend myself on the phone. I spent the whole night after that calling groomer friends and asking what blades they used on schnauzers and looking online.

    I hate that someone who brought in two matted, neglected dogs was actually able to make me doubt myself!

    I was pretty new when that happened and I know I would have much more confidence now, but I am still kind of sick every time I think about it.

    It is ok though, because without difficult customers like these people we would not know how much we should appreciate the awesome customers who basically throw their dogs in the door and yell "Call me when you're done!" with no instructions or suggestions:) I have lots of these customers and I LOVE them!

    You did a great job on this dog, and that mustache was *perfectly* round! <3

    1. Hi Mindy,
      Been there..had that happen. That is why I ask them what THEIR idea of the breed clip is, or I describe what MY idea of the breed clip is. Some owners ideas of a breed clip don't even come close to the true clip. I am sorry that happened to you.
      To this day I don't trim ears unless told to, because of a customer, back when I was a newbie. I groomed her Poodle. I was so proud of the cut that I did. I thought that she was really going to like it. The Poodle had very long ears. I neatened the uneven bottoms of the ears. I didn't take any length off, I just very lightly neatened them.
      I was working in the back of a pet shop at the time and I had to walk the dogs the length of the store to take them up to their owners. I took about two or three steps out of my little back room into the store when the woman started screaming at me from the front of the store. "YOU CUT HER EARS!!!!" "YOU NEVER CUT A POODLES EARS!!!!" "I THOUGHT YOU KNEW HOW TO GROOM POODLES!!!!!"
      She yanked the dog out of my arms and stormed out. I was in shock. I don't even know how she saw the ears from across the store. I barley touched them.
      That was about 27 years ago. To this day, I will not trim ears unless the owner tells me to. :)
      Thanks for the compliment!
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Totally understand you!! At least you get to wait for the next groom i work alone and i have to wait for the owner to check everything :/. What is the difference between mousse and volumizer?? Which mousse do you use??

    1. Hi Jessica,
      LOL I don't really think that there is any difference. I used both on this dog because I was hoping I could get that darn hair on the top of the dogs head to stand up long enough to scissor a round topknot. I do like to use the volumizer on the body and legs when I am going to hand scissor. The mousse I use (if I am remembering correctly) is called 'the big sexy'. It comes in a very tall, thin red can. It is expensive, but it lasts a long time. I get it at Wal-Mart.
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Every groomer has dealt with this particular type of customer during the course of their careers, and I'm sure this post will be appreciated by all of us who have read and been through this. I have several of these customers at my shop, and I've learned to just go with the flow and not take it so personally. It is very difficult for dog owners to relate to what really goes on during a typical day in a grooming shop, and whenever I get a customer like that, I simply say that it is impossible for me to do it exactly the same every time. So many variables go into the finished product, including coat condition at the time of the groom, the weather, the dogs' behavior, etc. I simply do the best I can and don't make any excuses for myself. I cringe when I hear a customer ask me if "someone else" did the groom last time, because it didn't look quite the same. It will NEVER look the same every time. That's the reality of the situation, and I just do the best I can to make them happy. Happy grooming!! Karen in NJ

    1. Hi Karen,
      It's funny. This customer actually doesn't bother me that much. I have come to expect this of her. But, I seem to still subconsciously let it effect me, because I ALWAYS spend too much time on this dog. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  5. i love all our your forms you have for each client. can you do a post on all the things you have and did you make them yourself? i used your form that you have the clients fill out to prebook appointments for the next year. that was very helpful and my clients loved it. thanks so much!!!

    1. Hi,
      I have been trying to figure out a way to post all of my forms, but the way some of them are printed out, it makes it hard to put them on blogger. (I make all of my forms with Printshop) I would be happy to send a copy of all the forms I used if you would like to e-mail me your address.
      My e-mail is:


      Lisa, MFF

  6. Hi groomgirl82,
    I have wondered the same thing sometimes. One day I will have the nerve to actually ask that question..."Why do you keep coming back if I always get it wrong?"
    One day I will. :)
    Lisa, MFF