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, November 9, 2012

What Would You Do? Customer Request

I have no problem doing what my customers request for me to do to their dogs.
That is, within reason, and as long as it is something that will not hurt the dog.

I have no problem clipping a dog in a style other than the breed standard cut.
I have no problem giving a dog a Mohawk if the owner wants the dog to have one.

Years ago, I had a customer who liked her Westie to have a Scottie head.
He actually looked really cute with that head.

I used to have a Cocker that got shaved feet like a Poodle.

I do try to talk people out of shaving their double coated dogs, but I will do it if they really want it done.

So, why did I have such a hard time today?
It was a very simple request.
It would only take me literally a second to do.

What was the request?


The owner of this Schnauzer wanted me to shave straight down the top of the nose.

 From his nose to his eyes.

I did not wait on this customer.
My husband did.
He was positive that he heard her right, and even asked her a couple of times to make sure that she wanted the top of the nose shaved.

So, what was my problem?

Why did this request bother me so much?

Maybe, because in grooming school it was drilled into our heads never to shave the top of a Schnauzers nose.
Never to cut into the top of a Schnauzers mustache.

It is not like I haven't scissored Schnauzer beards very short before.

But, even though I scissor a Schnauzer beard short, I still don't shave down the top of the nose.

 It bothered me so much that the owner wanted the top of the nose shaved just because, the two small sections that I have highlighted here, tend to stick up.

I have only been grooming this Schnauzer since March.

When he first started coming in to be groomed, I could tell that the top of the nose had been shaved.

To be honest, I just thought that a groomer who didn't know any better had shaved the top of the nose, so I left it to grow out.

The dotted lines show where the hair has grown to since March.

A few more months and that little bit of hair would probably be long enough that it won't stick up anymore.

So, what would you do?

Would you have just gone ahead and shaved the top of the nose?

Would you wait and try to talk the owner out of shaving it?

What did I do?

 I just could not bring myself to do it.

Not without talking to the customer myself first.

 I groomed the dog as usual and waited till the owner came to pick up and talk to her about it.

When the owner got to the shop, I explained how, if she would let the hair grow out just a little more, it would stop sticking up towards the dogs eyes.

In the mean time she could put a little hairspray on her finger, and press it on the hair that sticks up, to hold it down.

What did the owner decide to do?

She still wanted the top of the nose shaved. :(


 From his nose to his eyes.

I still couldn't take my blade straight up that nose.

So I lightly clipped the top of the nose sideways, keeping the part on the nose.

I clipped light enough to remove the offending hair that would stick up.

Just enough to clean it up but still give the appearance of a parted mustache.

 I also didn't go all of the way to the end of the nose.

I warned the owner that as the hair grows back, the short hairs will stick straight up.

I guess it doesn't look that bad.

What would you have done?

Would you just have shaved down that nose?
After all, it is the owners dog and that is what she wanted.

I can't explain it.
I don't know why it bothered me so much.

How many times have I told owners that it is only hair and it will grow back?

Maybe it is because it takes sooooo long for that hair on the nose to grow nice and long in the first place. 
It seems taboo to shave it off. :/

Oh well, he is not my dog.
The owner liked it.
It was what she wanted.

Now, get over it Lisa.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Where I work we are the same way. We do whatever the owner wants, (as long as its not hurting the dog) from mohawks, to the ever famous poodle feet on non poodle dogs, clean faces on shih tzus, putting a breed standard cut on a different breed & so on. I've been in your situation before quite a few times, that for whatever reason you just can't seem to make yourself do what the owner wants, actually it happened to me twice just this week! First though I want to say I absolutely understand not wanting to shave down the nose of a schnauzer, it makes their beard look awful & that's just not what you're suppose to do! There is another groomer in our area that does that to ALL the dogs I've seen, that she's groomed so we get so many that come to us with shaved noses & it takes so long for them to grow out & in the mean time it sticks up everywhere & when it's to that point where it's almost laying flat, the last thing you want to hear is "shave it off!" I'll tell you about my two I had this week. One of the girls up front checked in this poodle I've been doing for about 2 years now & she said the lady told her to tell me to shave above the eyes! I've never done that to her so I didn't think that could possibly be what she really meant, you just don't do that to a poodle topknot so I figured she just wanted it shorter above her eyes more so then normal so that's what I did. Well she didn't pick up until after I left & so the following day I got a call asking if she could bring her back in because it wasn't short enough. She got there & she really did want me to shave about an inch right above the poodles eyes! Like completely shave it!!! I couldn't believe it & tried talking her out of it, even telling her the dog's ganna look funny & I tried once more to scissor it as short as I could but nope she wanted it shaved so with my inner self shouting "no!" I gritted my teeth & did it. Needless to say she did look funny:( but the lady loved it...go figure. The other one was a really pretty yorkie that I only did twice before this last time, that gets a breed standard cut. The hubbie dropped off with instructions from the wife to shave her ears so I'm thinking ok she must mean the regular tipped yorkie ears so I explain to him the difference & we decided to just tip them. He picks up, thinks the dog looks great & goes home only to come back about 20 minutes later. His wife really did want the WHOLE ear shaved! Not that big of a deal, but again for whatever reason I just couldn't bring myself to do it so I'm trimming the long hair that falls around the ears shorter & shorter trying to make her happy without shaving them & he's taking pictures & sending them to her but she keeps saying, shave them, so once again I grit my teeth & shaved the ears. She looked so funny to me & also to the husband, he couldn't help but laugh, but the wife loved it. It seems like no big deal to the owners asking for weird non breed standard things and most of the time I'm like, whatever, it's their dog & I do what they want without thinking twice about it, but in these two cases, I struggled doing it. I think it was because they were so pretty the "correct" way & doing what the owners wanted made me feel like I made them ugly & I also feel like if someone else sees them they'll be like, "omgosh! Who did that?! You need to find a better groomer!" & that's definitely NOT the kind of response you want on a dog you groomed. So I feel ya with that type of situation & in my opinion I think you did a great job on doing what she wanted without actually doing what she wanted:). Happy Grooming!!!

    1. Hi ajwgroomer,
      Those were two tough ones. I have had poodle owners who wanted me to piratically scissor the whole topknot off, but just shave over the eyes.....ewwww. As for the Yorkie, I have only had one customer that wanted me to shave the whole ear, and that dog actually looked really cute with it.
      I understand exactly what you are saying about other people, or groomers seeing what you did to the dog, and thinking that you were a bad groomer. I have caught myself doing that when a customer brings a dog in with a strange cut. I am getting much better about not judging other groomers work before I find out if that strange cut is what the owner actually wanted.
      One of the reasons that I stress that my grooms are PET grooms is because I know that their are other groomers that read my blog and do not agree with how I groom, and think that dogs should ONLY be groomed in breed specific cuts. I have worked with a couple of those type of groomers. They would NOT do what the customer wanted.
      To bad we can't put a sign on the dogs saying 'the owner made me do it'. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Haha, I feel your pain! It was drilled into me too to NEVER EVER EVER shave it off but so many people wanted it. All I could do was explain to them that the hairs would stick up and do what they asked!

    I don't know if you remember me but I was the groomer was quit her corporate job when she moved to Tennessee, and then moved back to central Illinois. They wouldn't hire me back. I had both locations that I work with, all of the employees and managers vying for me, but unfortunately most corporations couldn't care any less about their employees and they wouldn't hire me back.

    But I did get hired at a small shop in Chicago so I'm going to take my chances in the windy city! I'm horribly nervous but I can't find any groom jobs out where I live now, I gotta take my chances somewhere. Wish me luck :]

    1. Good Luck Pealuh!!
      Hopefully a small shop will be just the right fit. I am sorry that you are having trouble finding a good place to work. My first 3 years of grooming, I worked in 5 different grooming shops. That was not like me. I wanted a nice place to stay and settle. I am hoping that everything works out well for you. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  3. i wonder if the reason she liked the nose shaved is because it turned his beard more white do to shaving off the black hairs that start middle of his nose to the tip of his nose?? that could be why, did she ever say why she liked it like that? i think you did a fab job!

    1. Thank you,
      It is funny that you say that. I noticed that it lightened up the mustache after I clipped the shorter black hairs off too.
      Lisa, MFF

  4. Oh I so know how you feel on this!!! Where I'm from Utah that is how all the dogs done, and it drives me crazy! I just look at them and say why??!! why do the owners like this? I am hoping very soon to get a puppy and tell the owner right away you do not do this to a schnauzer.

    1. Hi,
      It is nice when you can get a puppy and be the first one to groom it the correct way. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  5. On most Schnauzers I don't like the shaved-nose look either, but with my boy it has to be done. He is (an albeit badly bred, but I still love him) purebred, however he's unusually curly and his hair doesn't grow as long as it ought to.

    If I don't shave his snout, the hair there curls straight up and pokes into his eyes. I wish I had pics to show... it's really strange! People usually guess his breed as a long-legged Scottie cross or a Portugese Water Dog mix. But no- he's just a weird, bulldog-chested Schnauzer with a neck like a Pitbull and a body by Dunkin Doughnuts.

    We travel some- maybe someday we'll blunder through the door of your grooming shop and you can see Bailey the WonderMutt for yourself in all his odd-looking glory.

    Happy Grooming!

    1. Hi Jet,
      Wow, a long legged Scottie, or a Portuguese Water Dog, that is a big difference for a Schnauzer lol.
      I understand just what you are talking about with the uncontrollable hair on the top of the nose. I also clip that type of hair to keep it from getting in the eyes on some dogs.
      He sounds adorable to me.:)
      Lisa, MFF

  6. Shaving down a schnauzers nose? That should be illegal!!! :/ ;-)