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.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Never Bothered to Read The Directions


Don't tell my husband, or my kids for that matter.

I am always telling them to read the directions on things.

Now, I guess that I could use the excuse that I never bothered to read the directions, because someone showed me how to use the stuff.

What 'stuff' am I talking about?

This stuff.


Something that I have been using for almost 29 years.

Wait....let me start at the beginning.

About a month ago I was looking at some grooming videos on YouTube.
I like to sort through them sometimes to see what is out there.
I came across a video done by a Vet, on how to bathe your dog.
I like her video.
She seemed really nice and was very clear in her directions.
 Even though I did not agree with everything that see was saying.
Especially the part about washing the dogs face with a wash rag.
But I digress....
Anyway, at one point in the video she was talking about clipping a dogs nails, and she talked about using KwikStop® if a nails is bled.

The thing that caught my attention was the fact that she told you to apply the KwikStop® with a wet/damp Q Tip.

A wet/damp Q Tip?
Why would you do that?

I am always making sure that the lid is on my KwikStop® tight so that the bottle does not get any moisture in it.
Why would I want to use it wet?

So, when I got into work the next day, I looked at my bottle of KwikStop®.

DIRECTIONS: Apply with moistened cotton applicator to the nail.

This was not how I was taught to apply KwikStop®.

I have always applied the KwikStop® dry to the bleeding nail.


Needless to say, I had never bothered to read the directions on the KwikStop®.

So, of course I had to try it the right way, right?

Thankfully I don't bleed nails often, so I had to wait a couple of weeks before I needed to use the KwikStop®.

I really did not see the point of moistening the KwikStop® when it gets moistened from the blood, but maybe the KwikStop® would work better, or quicker if it was moistened first.

First, I dipped a Q Tip in water.

Then I dipped the damp Q Tip into the KwikStop®.

Then I applied the KwikStop® to the bleeding nail and pressed.....

....and pressed.

I was not impressed. :(

 This picture shows how the KwikStop® was too moist to stop the bleeding quickly.

The nail was still bleeding.

Too many steps.

Took way too long to stop the bleeding.

It is much faster for me to just pop the lid, pour some KwikStop® into the lid, either grab a pinch, or dip the nail right into the lid and press the dry KwikStop® into the nail.

Press and hold for a few seconds and done, bleeding stopped.

I did not give up after just one try.
I tried it again with the Q Tip only a little damp.
I was still not impressed. 

I have put the water and Q Tips away and will continue to use the KwikStop® the way that I have always used it for 29 years.

So much for reading the directions.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I also never knew that you are supposed to use a damp Q-tip. That makes NO sense to me. Good to know the directions don't even work that well...

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      It's funny...my daughter and I work side by side and I just found out tonight that she wets her finger and then dips it in the KwikStop. She said that it works great for her. You would think, that after working next to her for all of these years, that I would have noticed her doing that. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Oh... I never knew that styptic powder was supposed to be moistened first...I wonder how I missed those instructions on the bottle. Must be why the paste form I got (after my bottle of powder turned into rock) worked so much better than the powder form I was told to use in grooming school.
    Now I just wish there were instruction to help me with grooming my new squirmy puppy. I was never taught how to in grooming school, and my other dogs were lazy little fluffballs when they first came. And the worst thing for me is that everything I've read on the net didn't help.
    As someone who does grooming for a living, how what would you suggest? I've tried everything, sweet-talking and being stern, treats and training, she just won’t let me do any grooming even brushing (she getting mats and I’m getting desperate).

    1. Hi,
      Puppy grooming......every puppy is so different. I can help give some suggestions that you could try that I suggest to my customers when sweet talking and being stern don't help.
      When I have puppies like this come in...I ignore them. Yep, I said that I ignore them, meaning that I ignore everything that they are doing and just go about grooming them.

      Let me see if I can explain better. I am not sure if you are a groomer, or a pet owner grooming your own dogs. Here is what I tell my customers.
      First, find a place in your house that you can use EVERY TIME you groom your puppy. Someplace up off of the floor. The top of your washer, the top of a desk, ect. Make sure that you put something down so the surface is not slippery.
      As I said before, when sweet talking and being stern don't help, then I get matter of fact and business like. I take the attitude that no matter what the puppy does I am going to ignore it and just keep going. I have found that this really confuses them. They are waiting for you to react, or stop. If they twist and roll over, I just keep on brushing the hair that I can get to. I'll brush with them on their side for a few seconds and then without saying a word, pick them up again and continue brushing the way I want. If they fall over again, I do the same. Eventually they will get that I am not going to stop. I continue this until the puppy stays standing for a couple minutes without fussing. Then I stop the grooming session. Give a special treat that they don't ever get any other time. A piece of boiled chicken, piece of bacon, ect. I has to be a treat that they ONLY get AFTER a grooming session.
      I tell the owner not to expect to get a lot of grooming done the first few sessions. Your goal is to slowly get them to except the grooming. While training them for the grooming it MUST be done everyday. They must learn that this is a daily routine until they except the grooming.
      With each grooming session try to get further each time. The first session you may only get one leg brushed. For the second session try for two legs. Be firm and in charge but not mean. Do not pin the puppy down in any way. They will only fight more.

      This technique is so hard to describe. It is much easier to show in person like I do with my customers. I am not sure if i am helping you at all.

      If your puppy has already started to mat, the grooming is not going to be pleasant. You may have to give in and have your puppy clipped and start all over again with mat free hair.

      Unfortunately, some dogs never take to being brushed. I owned a Shih-tzu that I wanted to grow a long coat. It just wasn't in the stars. He HATED being brushed with a passion. So I finally broke down and just kept him in a short cut. He was then a happy camper.
      I feel like I am just rambling now. :(
      I have been wanting to do a post on this topic for my other blog for a while, with pictures. I will really have to try and do this. Maybe even a video.
      I am sorry. I fell like I have not helped you at all.
      Lisa, MFF

    2. Thanks :) that was helpful actually.
      My mum was telling me to treat her like a toddler, just ignore and do what I can. IT WORKED :) I got her brushed mostly today. I guess I was just fussing about how my other dog just lays there and sleeps while I brush but she keeps hopping around. Now, I just need to tackle the topknot :) funny how I could groom my friend's puppies with no issues. I guess when it's yours you get more paranoid...
      Oh ya, I’m certified to be a professional groomer(I'm so out of practice though, only doing five dogs once in a while). But I’m attending university to get me a piece of paper that will qualify me to get a "better" paying job (that's what my parents tell me anyway). And yes, Cheryl is right, in Singapore, even my Shih Tzu will cost $50 for a quick trim. And I’m talking clipper burn included (well at least that’s what my dogs seem to get). Thus justifying why my parents were willing to fork out the $2500 to get my grooming certification, now at least I know they are comfortable during grooming sessions (usually on the floor). Haha
      p.s don't worry about the rambling, i like it, makes your blog seem more humanized, plus if you look on the brighter side, it's just called DETAIL :)

    3. I am glad that all of my rambling (details) helped. :) Good luck with your certification!
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Hi!

    I know you write your blog for groomers and I'm just a pet owner, but I'd like to thank you for a great read! I have a story to tell, a couple of qns to ask and as well as a favor to ask, but I'd completely understand if you don't want to reply - hope you read me out!

    I have a 3 year old Golden Retriever, Summer. We adopted her at 4 months old from a breeder - no one had picked her and she was outgrowing her cuteness.. we thought we got a really good deal getting a PUPPY for free! Until she was diagnosed with severe Hip Dysplasia in both hips at 7 months old. Boo.

    I'm just a college student and all my dog budget has been poured into treatments, supplements and her monthly injections to try and slow down the arthritis. You guessed it.. she has never been professionally groomed! I just don't have the $150-200 that people charge around here to groom a large dog. When she was a puppy we used to take her in for nail clipping, but I'm convinced something might have happened to her because after a few times, she was terrified of the place and once as I was leaving and the groomer was placing her on the table she was so frantic that she flipped off and hung herself :S

    When I first started trying to clip nails myself she would run at the sight of the clipper. I very very slowly conditioned her to be ok and am proud to say she now lays upside down relaxed while I clip her nails! The thing is I only take about 2mm off each time (have hit the quick a handful of times but she didn't react much, it was a spot of blood, not flowing) and it seems her nails grow so fast. I trim them almost 2-3 times a week just to keep them short enough that I don't hear a clicking noise when she walks. Is this normal? I read that the quick would recede with frequent trims and it does not seem to be happening for us! I don't mind the trouble, just don't want to hurt her.

    Other than that, I lightly brush her with a slicker for about 5 minutes every night, and am proud to say she has never had a mat. I'm lucky that she does not have too much undercoat. When she's shedding I get about 1 brush full of hair and other times hardly anything. I like keeping her fur smooth and shiny. I invested in a Furminator but have mixed feelings about it after reading reviews. I use it on her only when she is shedding like crazy couple times a year. What do you think about the tool?

    I bathe her every week, usually after our swim at the beach. A friend of mine who works in a groomer's shop as a bather advised me to shampoo and rinse twice - she claims the 2nd rinse makes a huge difference - and I have been doing this for a couple of years. Summer does feel really clean and smells like her oatmeal shampoo for the rest of the week. I have started washing her face like you describe :)


    1. If you want the quick to recede you will have to expose it, (not clip it ;) you don't want blood). You'll see the white of the quick if you can expose it. Don't clip normally, but at an angle mostly off of the top of the nail. I guess it's kind of hard to describe. It sounds like to me you're just getting to the front of the quick, once you see it, clip around it, exposing the vein (just a little bit at a time!). The air contact will slowly cause the vein to die and recede. Some dogs take a while to get their quicks to recede. Better yet, you can dry to dremel a nail, grind it down, or use a nail file. You'll have more control than with a nail clipper.

      Always adopt, or get a pup from a reputable breeder, otherwise you will end up paying the prices :/ GRs are one of the most overbred dogs that will usually have health issues. All of the ones except for two that I groom (and I get a lot of GRs) have some sort of condition, whether its obesity, not proper standard sizes, eye issues, hip issues, etc. Remember nothing in life is ever free.

      For the hips, have you tried glucosamine supplements? If you want a nice, shiny coat, you can also add a small spoonful of coconut oil into your GRs meal once a day, promotes great skin and coat.

      I avoid furminators, as I find that it damages the coat, do you have a comb? You can make sure you are getting to the skin with a comb, if you can run it through the coat without snagging. Slicker, undercoat rake (not expensive and you can probably find some on Clist, I like the ones with rotating pins), slicker again, then try and run a comb through everywhere. Check armpits as well, and the paw pads, make sure there are no matts inbetween toes and pads. If she's shedding immensely, why not try bringing her to a self serve wash? Brush her, Bathe her, than use the Force dryer provided and blow out the shedding coat, it'll save you time, just don't use the dryer on the head and start on the lowest setting. You can use positive conditioning with treats.

      I like to bathe and soak my dogs in their shampoo and conditioner, then use the baking soda method that I learned from the Blog Owner ;). You can actually bathe her once a week, if you have the proper shampoo and conditioner, I can't stand when my dogs are dirty, and they get baths very often (1 week for my cockermutt, and 2-3 weeks for my unknown complete mystery dog).

      Note: This is from my experience as a groomer, but the BlogOwner has much more experience than me, I do not know everything, and this is from what I understand! Hope this helps some.

  4. [...continued]

    Now comes the big favor I want to ask... Summer has never been groomed (yea I said this earlier) but I have, as you say "chopped" at her at various times. Mostly when the fur around her ears gets overgrown, I trim it a little back to the shape that it was. I try to trim out the fur in her ears as much as I can, but just read about "plucking" tonight. How do you do that? Happy to report that her ears are squeaky clean. I use regular ear cleaner every 2 weeks. I also have had times when her butt feathers have grown too long and during the rainy season they get muddy when she squats to pee. I have tried to trim them several times but they always look chopped off :( I also regularly trim her paws and the fur that grows under them with a scissors. I have no idea how to do it "properly"!

    I read your post on doing the puppy cut on the golden and tried to employ some of your tips to neatening up. I don't need her short. I trimmed the fur behind her front paws and rear legs below the ankles and she looks neater :)

    I guess what I meant to say is I have no idea how to "scissor" or "blend" without making her look like she got a bad haircut. It usually grows out in a couple of weeks.

    Pleaseeeee would you be able to do a short tutorial / video / anything on how to trim the butt feathers and any other important parts on a golden? I understand the theory but don't even know how to start. As I mentioned I truly cannot afford professional grooming in my area but I try really hard to keep Summer well maintained :) I'm sure you would love to groom her - shes in really good condition! I would also understand if you did not want to give detailed instructions like that - after all groomers need to make a living!


    That link is to a fairly recent picture I could get of her coat, her butt feathers especially look bad, I tried to trim them up as she had diarrhea at the time :(

    One more link to a sleepy picture of her that I think shows her coat condition!


    Looking forward to hearing from you and getting some advice! Thanks for reading me out..

    -from Singapore!

    1. Wow Cheryl,
      150 to 200 for grooming a Golden as small as yours, and with a slim line coat...I better move to Singapore to groom. lol

      Anyway, I will try to answer your questions. First, she is gorgeous! I am sorry about her hips, but she is a beautiful dog.

      Don't worry about how often you are doing her nails. After 28 years of clipping nails, I have discovered that the quick receding is bullcr*p. I have three St. Poodles. I can clip and file my white standards nails very short. Not so with my other two. I have to clip their nails more often and can not get them nearly as short as my white girl. The quicks have never receded.
      The Furminator....this is a great tool for most Goldens. The Goldens that are like giant, thick bears, with enough hair for four Goldens. Your girls coat doesn't really need the Furminator, although it might help a little when she is blowing her coat.

      I wash my dogs every week also. :)

      Ears...I have never come across a Golden that needed their ears plucked. They normally do not have any hair inside their ear canals.

      A video....I would be happy to do a video. It may take a little while. All of my Goldens tend to come in in waves. Most of them were just in in the last couple of weeks, so I will have to wait for them to come in again.
      You are doing a great job on your girl. :)

      Lisa, MFF

  5. I am so happy that I "found" your blog again. I lost it when you had that problem with the virus in january. I am not a groomer, just on my own dogs, a kerry, a bedlington and a poodle with dreadlocks. I love the before and after pics and I will defenitely try the drywipes next time my bedlington needs a groom! If you want you can see my dogs in my blog, you will probably not bee able to reed it since I write in swedish...

    1. Hi sofia,
      I was not able to get to your blog by clicking on your name. Can you send me the link? I would be happy to see your dogs. :)
      Lisa, MFF

    2. www.svansbarn.blogspot.com

    3. Hi Sofia,
      You are right, I couldn't read a word of your blog....actually that's not true....I was able to pick out a word or two. lol

      Love the pictures of your dogs in the snow!

      'Effie's' ears a adorable. Are you going to cord 'Betty' all over, or just on her head? I have seen some really beautifully corded Poodles, but that is way too much work for me.

      I have only ever groomed two Bedlingtons, and they were both the sweetest dogs. 'Sally' looks like she is a sweetheart too. My daughter wanted a Bedlington, but was told by the breed that they did not get along well with other dogs. I can see by your pictures that she did not know what she was talking about. Yours look like they get along just fine. :)
      Lisa, MFF

    4. Yes I love Effies ears too. The judges at dog shows don´t...

      Betty is corded on her head and down her neck but that is all. We live on a farm and I like to keep her coat short. We also compete in agility and I don´t want her to get too hot in the summer. She is not a show dog and probably never will be.

      And as you say, Sally is a sweetheart. She gets along with most other dogs as long as they behave. But she is a terrier and somtimes the "terrier" shows more than other times. I will defenitely get another bedlington when the time is right for a new puppy.

  6. I've always done it the way you've always done. Same way I was shown when vet tech'ing.

  7. Hey! I have no idea how I've been surviving the past two years of my grooming career without the best shot spray and this oatmella shampoo! It's amazing.

    Question. I know you use Joy dish soap for super greasy ears. I use dawn. I used it on two dogs today and my hands are torn up and hurt super bad. This always happens when I have an influx of nasty ears! Have you noticed if the Joy is easier on your skin?

    1. Hi Amanda,
      I have never had a problem with Joy messing up my hands. When I first started grooming, my hands would get so bad that they would crack and bleed at the end of the day.
      I started to use Neutrogena® Hand Cream every night. It is a little expensive, but it really helped my hands.
      I also always use a Medicated shampoo on the dog after I use the Joy. I think that the Medicated shampoo also helps my hands after using the Joy.
      Lisa, MFF