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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Another New Tub-grate

I use full size (people) bathtubs in my shop.
I like using a regular bathtub over a stainless steel grooming tub, because they are not as deep as the stainless steel ones.
After so many years of grooming my back needs all the help that it can get.
Bending over into a deep tub is way too painful for me now.
Also reaching across the tub to bathe a dog that smashes itself up against the back wall kills my back.

For many years I had searched unsuccessfully for a tub grate that would fit in a regular sized tub.

So I made my own.

It has worked really well for me for the last 13 or 14 years.

There is only one problem...I have to make a new one every year.

The plywood that I use for the dogs to stand on only lasts about a year before it get so water logged and starts to mold that I have to replace it with another piece of wood.

It does not matter whether I paint it with water proof paint, it still eventually gets water logged.

I have constantly been searching for something other than wood for the top of my tub grate.

It has to stand up to the water and the weight of large dogs.

I have bugged many of the sales people at our local hardware store in hopes that one of them would be able to come up with an idea that I had not thought of.
More times than not, they just look at me like I have three heads.

Well, I think that I have finally solved my problem....at least one of them.
I had found a product that I feel will stand up to the water and the weight of large dogs, now I needed to figure out how to keep them from pasting themselves to the back wall of the tub.

About a year ago I came up with the bright idea of making a backboard like I use on my grooming table.

Because it would be totally made out of wood, I needed to figure out how to protect the wood so that it would not get water logged.

This picture shows what I came up with.

I covered the backboard with sheet metal.

Boy, was that a job.
I could not get a piece of sheet metal large enough the cover the backboard in one piece, so I had to use several pieces and then seal them up.

It was great while it lasted.

It brought the dogs up close to the front of the tub.

Between the tub grate and the back board, it was so nice and comfortable to bathe dogs.

Unfortunately, the backboard only lasted about 6 months.

The sealant that I used kept coming off, exposing sharp edges of metal and letting water into the wood.
After letting the wood dry out and resealing it several times I gave up on it.

Then I started drawing up new plans for a new tub grate with a backboard attached.

This is what I came up with.

I bought decking planks.

Not wood, but that new stuff that they make for decks.

It is water proof and does not need to be stained.

My list of supplies:
~Deck planks cut to fit the tub
~PVC pipe

First I cut the PVC pipe to fit down in the bottom of the tub.

Then I screwed two of the planks to the pipe.

Next came the brackets.

 I did not want to screw the brackets on, just in case I did not like the backboard piece that I was putting on.

I marked the holes for the brackets.

Then I took my trusty drill.....I love my drill....and my trusty hole drilling bit, (sorry I don't know the technical name for this bit) and drilled holes in the planks for my bolts.

I have to say....this stuff was not easy to drill through.

 Now I attached the bracket to the planks with a couple of nuts and bolts.

This way, if the backboard didn't work out, I could easily remove it and just use the tub grate.

This is the front of the tub grate/backboard.

 This is the back of it.

I added another board for large dogs to stand on.

Since I can't remove the backboard between bathes, for large dogs, without having to remove the bolts, I decided to put locking hinges on the top plank of the backboard so that I could lower the top plank when bathing large dogs.

Top plank of backboard up....

 ......Top plank down.

  My thought was that the large dogs would straddle the lower backboard.

This also keeps them from sitting during the bath.

If I have a large dog that is old, or has bad legs, they can easily keep all  four feet on the front side of the tub grate and still have room to lay down if they need to.

This is what it looks like in the tub.

It sits a couple of inches higher in the tub than my old tub grate did, but that is okay.

I like it higher.

I love having the dogs this close to the front of the tub.

Especially those little ones.

 So far all of the dogs have fit in the tub, and on the tub grate really well.

There is only one draw back.

Some dogs do tend to hang their heads over the side more now, causing water to go on the floor.

So, I have started putting a magnet towel under the rim of the tub, next to the floor mat.

I'll deal with the water if this thing helps my back. :)

We have been using this backboard/ tub grate for a couple of weeks now.
I am very happy with it so far.
It is a little heavy to move when cleaning the tub, but not too heavy.
It also cleans up really nicely.

I hope that this tub grate will last a long time. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When It Rains, It Pours

Our dryers died!!!

Yes, I said dryers.
Plural....more than one!

Our main dryer and our back-up dryer.

Not good....not good at all!!!

Worst of all......it is my fault that we are in this predicament.

You see, I stayed after work on Saturday to bathe two of my Standards.
I bathed and dried the first one, no problem.
I bathed the second one and had my youngest son dry her while I finished up the first one.
My son went to turn on the dryer and it was dead.
It did not make a sound.


I pulled out the trusty back-up dryer, and my son dried the second Standard.

Then we went home.....

.....and I promptly, totally, completely forgot about the dead dryer.

Yes, I forgot.

A whole weekend went by where I could have ordered another dryer and had it on its way.
I knew that we needed another dryer.
I knew that the main dryer was not lone for this world.
We work our dryers so hard.
The main dryer is going from around 8:15 till 2 or 3 in the afternoon, five days a week.
That poor thing really gets a workout.

I had been meaning to order another dryer...really I had.
I am too busy during the day to order, and I didn't think of it at night when I came home.

I know.
Excuses, excuses.

Well, we are paying for it now!

I didn't remember about the main drier till we got back into work on Tuesday, but we had the back-up, so we were still okay.
I was not feeling well last night and once again forgot about ordering a new dryer.

Then this morning the back-up dryer died.
After only drying two dogs.
It just stopped.

We had a full day of dogs ahead of us to dry.

Now, I do have 3 HV dryers in my Self-Serve.
But, for a professional groomer they are laughable.
You see, I do not buy the really good dryers for my Self-Serve.
I did at first.
I learned, 13 years ago, when I first opened my Self-Serve Dog Wash, not to buy the really nice dryers.
Sadly, the public does not take care of my dryers the way that I do.
I can't tell you how many times the dryers have been broken by careless customers.
Not only that, but I don't particularly trust my customers with the nice, powerful driers. :/

So, we were left with these sad excuses for professional HV driers to work with.

We tried to order a dryer immediately.
I was willing to pay extra to have it sent over night....my punishment for not ordering a dryer sooner.
Only there was a problem.
The dryer that I was going to buy had to be mailed from the manufacture.
It would take one to two weeks for delivery.


There is no way that we could go that long without a decent HV dryer.
I still don't know how I groomed for more than 10 years without any HV dryer.

So I called Davis®.
I had one of their dryers once before and really liked it.
I bit the bullet and ordered their more powerful dryer.
It is variable speed, which is a must for me.
It is not the same dryer that I had before, because they no longer make them.
It is a dryer that they recommend, and they say, is the same as the ones that they used to make.

I really like Davis®, and I am praying that I like this new dryer.
It will be delivered by Friday.
Lets hope that is Friday morning, and not Friday afternoon. :)

One more full day of drying a ton of dogs with poor, weak, slow dryers. :(
I still have to buy another good back-up dryer too.
Lesson learned.
Boy, was this lesson learned....the hard way!

Well, I will be posting to let you know how I like....or don't like this new dryer.

I am going to like this dryer.
I am going to like this dryer.
I am going to like this dryer.

Positive thoughts. :)
Positive thoughts. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF

Monday, February 25, 2013

Makeover Monday...Two Standards

I missed Makeover Monday last week, so I will be showing two dogs today.
Both just happen to be Standard Poodles.

This is my girl 'Lilly'.

I got her from one of my customers eight years ago.

She was the runt of 9 puppies that came in to have their faces and feet clipped before they went to their new homes.

I ended up keeping the runt....'Lily' :)

I continued to groom Lily's mother and grandmother for awhile before the owner took over grooming them herself.

Last week Lily's grandmother came in for a grooming.

I have not groomed her in over 3 years.

She is very sweet and has a lot of the same facial expressions that my girl has. :)

When her owner brought her in, I noticed that she had been giving her pom-poms.

I asked her if she would still like to have the pom-pom cut.

"Not pom-poms. I want bells."

She did not want the pom-poms to look round, she wanted them to look like bells.

So, here is what I did.

After shaving her feet and face, we put her in the tub and scrubbed her clean.

We used a mixture of  DoubleK's® Oat Mella and Dynamic Duo on the body, head, and ears.

We used Ring5® Mediseptic on the face, feet, tail, and belly. 

Her owner did not want her body too short, because of winter.

I clipped the body and legs with  the yellow clip comb attachment.

I clipped the leg as if I were going to scissor a regular pom-pom.

Then I combed all of the hair straight down.

Already looks  a little like a bell, doesn't it?

Next, I scissored only the bottom of the pom-pom, giving just a slight curve.

I scissored all  of the way around the bottom of the pom-pom.


A bell!

This is sooooo much easier than scissoring pom-poms!!!

So, there she is...one side done.

The tail is scissored as a bell also.

1~Brush and comb the hair straight down.

2~ Wrap your hand around the top of the tail and run your hand down to the end of the tail stub. Still holding the hair, start to twist the hair a couple of times, at the bottom of the tail.

3~While still holding the twisted hair, cut off the bottom 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of hair. **Make sure that you are clear of the tail stub and only cutting hair!

Let go of the tail, comb the hair down again and shape the very bottom if needed.

I don't know...kind of looks like a feather duster to me. :)

Doesn't she look younger? :)

On to the next Poodle.

This makeover is a new customer.
She waited a while for this appointment.
She is new to the area and has been looking for a new groomer.
This owner has been to two other groomers and was not happy with them.

 Isn't she pretty?

(I shaved her face before I remembered to take pictures.)

The owner brought pictures with her to show me exactly how she wanted her dog groomed.

There were four pictures, each with different things that she wanted.

Oh.....there was not a single mat in this dog. (happy dance!)

This owner wanted the dreaded Poodle angles.

I say 'dreaded', because I am terrible at scissoring those sharp angles.
I do okay if I have a really great Poodle coat to work with....but only okay.
Unfortunately, this little lady's coat is a lot like my white standards coat.
Thin, wispy, and soft.

The owner wanted the body short, but not too short.
The legs full.
The pom tail off.
The ears curved at the bottom.
A full topknot with a nice crown on the neck.

She was bathed with a mixture of  Ring5® Bright White shampoo and DoubleK® Oat Mella shampoo.

Ring5® Mediseptic was used on her face, feet and belly.

She was  95% dried  with the HV dryer, and fluffed with my hand dryer.

The way we dry our grooms was a major point with this owner.

She told me that everywhere she called told her that they kennel dry Standards. 

 Oh.....there was not a single mat in this dog! (happy dance!) 

The green lines are the dreaded angles that I was going for.

The orange lines are where I used my clipper.

The blue squiggly lines are where I didn't clip, and  left the hair long to hand scissor.

I am sorry I didn't get a better picture to show her angles.

I thought that I did, but when I loaded the pictures, I noticed that I didn't have any.

Alright, alright!.....I must have done it subconsciously.

The angles were there, they just were not great.

I was not happy.

I just could not get my angles to look sharp. :(

But....the owner was happy.

That is the most important thing. :)

This dog was an absolute sweetheart to work on!

Happy Grooming, MFF