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.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bitten Again

Am I the only groomer that has noticed this about Shih-tzu's?

Have you noticed that the Shih-tzu's that have the bug eyes also have other issues.

Like.......they bite!

Well, not all of them.

I do have one that I groom that is very sweet, but most definitely mentally challenged.

This is the new dog that I was talking about at the end of my post yesterday.

I knew right away, as soon as she and her owner walked in the lobby, that she was going to be a challenge.

Her owner carried her in, and up to my counter.
I immediately started to greet the dog by just talking to her.
Her owner immediately backed up and put her arm in front of her dog as if to stop a biting lunge that she was apparently sure her dog was going to do.
She did not need to worry.
I also immediately noticed both owner and dog tense as I approached.

'Great', I thought, both owner and dog is scared.

I handed the owner a new customer information sheet to fill out.
Normally I would take the dog from the owner and get to know it while the owner was filling out the sheet.
I let this owner put her dog on the floor.
She was much to nervous to hand her dog to me the way I wanted her to.

I had the owner hand me the dogs leash.
My goal now was to talk to the dog a little and then maneuver her around so that her face was pointing way from me, so that I could stretch her leash and head out and away from me while I picked her up.

This way of picking up scary, skiddish, biting dogs has always worked for me.....until today.

Well, that is not totally true.
It did work today too, only she nailed me before I even had a chance to position her, or even tried to pick her.

I had just taken the leash, and was stepping around the owner to get closer to the dog, when that little stinker leaped about 3 feet off of the floor and went for the arm holding her leash.

She was like a lightning flash.
It happened so fast, that if it hadn't been for the pain surging through my arm, I would have thought that I had just imagined her leaping like that.

She meant business.

Her teeth mostly scraped my arm, but she did mange to pinch my arm with her teeth.

Damn, I think that that pinch hurt more than if she had managed to brake skin.

I ignored the bite, and quickly, before she had time to think about it, turned her away from me and picked her up.
I was ready for her to start snapping at over the place for me to let go of her.
I hugged her to me, but made sure that her face was away from my body.
She did not try to bite anymore, but her body was so tense that she felt like she was going to snap in my arms.

I couldn't help but think,'what a great way to start the day.' :/

I continued to hold her while I questioned the owner about her dogs temperament and past grooming history.
The only thing that I got out of her was that the dog was three years old and Petsomething had asked her not to bring the dog back.

I told her that I was willing to try to groom her dog, but that I would only do what her dog would let me, and that there was a possibility that, for the first grooming, I might not be able to completely groom her.
I got the feeling that she didn't expect me to finish her dog.

I took the dog back to my table and put her down. 
I never took my hands off of her.
I just stood there with her and started to pet her and talk to her.
I needed to calm down.
My arm was killing me and I still had not had a chance to look at it yet.
I wasn't mad at the dog, I was worked up.
I could feel my adrenaline flowing double time and I felt on edge.
Not good when working on a fear biter.

I needed to get myself calmed down and in the zone.
In the calm, nonchalant zone.
I started by holding one hand around the Shih-tzu's neck, under her chin, and taking my other hand and running it all over her body to see how see reacted to my touch.
I got a show of teeth, but the more that I rubbed my hand all over her and talked to her, she stopped showing her teeth.
I took this as a good sign.

Next, I tried to touch and rub her head and face.
Her owner had said that she was very head shy....she was not kidding.
When I raised my hand to pet her head, I got a show of teeth again, and she was more than ready to lunge again.
So I rubbed her neck first, and then moved my hand up her neck to her cheek and rubbed her cheek, which she liked.
Then I moved my fingers closer to under her eyes, rubbing the whole time.
She stopped showing teeth and I could feel her relaxing.
I have found that most, if not all, Shih-tzu's love  to have the spot between their eyes massaged.
This Shih-tzu was no exception.

Time to head to the tub.
She tensed up again in the tub, and did not want the water anywhere near her head and face.
So I started soaping up her body.
She did really good with that.
I scrubbed slowing making the bath more like a massage than a washing.
I washed her face by cupping water and shampoo in my hand and then massaging her face.
All of the time praying that she would let me rinse the shampoo off.

I had to turn the water down to a trickle and hold the sprayer right up against her skin.
I worked so slowly that it took forever to rinse her head and face...but she let me without snapping.

Sadly a bath and blow dry, that should have only taken 15 minutes tops, took about an hour.

I had to move slowly.

Any sudden moves freaked her out.

Her owners had been cutting on her themselves.

Her ears were one solid mat.

I decided to start by clipping these mats off of her ears.

Another good sign...she sat perfectly still and let me clip these mats off of her ears.

I pushed all of the good hair out of the way and clipped off the mat.

I thought that I was going to be able to leave some length on her ears after I finished clipping this ear.

Unfortunately, I was not able to do the same on the other ear, so I had to scissor both of them very short.

She did try to snap a few times,but I found that if I worked with a very light touch, and let go of her legs the second that she tugged on them, and let her turn whenever she wanted to, she didn't get upset.
If she wanted to pull her leg away while I was clipping it, I would let her and then pick it right back up and start again.
It seemed, that as long as she was sure that I would not restrain her in any way, she didn't mind me clipping her.

The fact that I let her look out the window for most of the grooming also helped to distract her from what I was doing.

It took awhile to get her trust, and I doubt that she will ever totally trust me.

I don't know what she has been through with grooming before, but I did notice that every time she snapped, she would immediately cringe as if waiting for someone to smack her.

Don't look too closely.

The finished groom was not great.

With a lot of talking and slow moving she did let me scissor her face, but it was not a very good job.

I was not able to even everything out that the owners had cut.

I got her done and didn't suffer any more bites.

The owner was very happy and wanted to get her on a regular schedule for every 8 weeks.

Unfortunately she can only do Saturdays.

I found a Saturday in May for her, but after that all of my Saturdays are booked for the rest of the year.

So I have her on a Saturday waiting list.

This dog needs regular groomings to get over her fears of being groomed.

The problem is, it took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to groom her.
Way too long!
I am sure that each time will go faster as she trusts me more, but finding that kind of appointment time on a Saturday will not be easy.

Her owner was very happy with the groom, even though I was not able to pluck her ears, and was only able to clip her nails on three feet before she realized what I was doing and started to get upset.
 Guess what?
She snapped at her owner when her owner went to pet her.
I am telling you....bug eyed Shih-tzu's have issues. :/

On a side note....

We had a first today.
In 29 years of grooming, I have never had this happen.
One of my favorites came in today to be groomed.
My son put the dog in the tub to start bathing him for me when suddenly he called for me to come look at something.

Do you see anything wrong with this dogs leg?

The owner did not say anything when he dropped off his dog.

So we called him.

We called him to ask why his dog still had an IV needle in his leg.

Wrapped up tightly in matted fur.

The owner didn't know anything about it.

"Has your dog been to the Vet recently?" we asked.

"About 3 weeks ago to have his teeth cleaned," he told us.

OMG! this needle has been in this dogs leg for 3 weeks!!

 We told him to call his Vet and that we would not be grooming the dog until the needle was removed.

He wanted to know if we could groom around the needle.


We are booked solid for the next three weeks, so he is going on the top of the waiting list to get him back in to be groomed....hopefully next week.

Poor baby.
He is such a sweet heart.
If it were my Vet and someone messed up and sent my dog home like this I would be pissed.
How can you  possibly forget to take a needle out after surgery?

Three weeks and no one noticed?

I am still shaking my head.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. The hospital let my Dad leave with an IV still in his arm. Fortunately, I noticed it and we took him to his regular doctor to have it removed. They are all just going too fast and not double checking. It's a shame.

    1. Hi Rocky,
      I understand that know body is perfect. And that things can be missed by accident. Like you said, this world just moves too fast now.
      I don't know what bothered me more. The fact that the Vet let the dog go home with the needle still in, or the fact that the owners didn't even notice in the three weeks since. :/
      Lisa, MFF

  2. I'm also curious about the owners, how do you NOT notice that on your dog? You don't pet your dog all day? That makes me sad, and from what I understand it's usually the vet techs in charge of the needle stuff!

  3. Wow! I cant believe no one noticed that! So when the Vet messes up, do they still blame the groomer?