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.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Makeover Monday...Lhasapoo

Before I get into posting the Makeover Monday dog, I have a question.

It is Spring, right?

This is what we woke up to today.

 This is my driveway.

This is March, right?

Don't get me wrong, I like snow, but I am so ready for spring.

We got lucky here in Maryland this past winter.

We had blizzards all around us, but they kept missing us.

It is only going to me about 2-4 inches, and will most likely be all gone by the end of the week.

Even the chickens stayed in this morning.

 It is beautiful.

As long as the branches on those eighty foot Oaks all around my house don't get too heavy with snow.

Hopefully no one will cancel tomorrow, because I have no place to move them to. :/

Snow around here sends everyone into a panic.

Anyway, on to the Makeover...

This little lady is a Lhasapoo.

Her owner wants about half off of her coat.

The face will be scissored in proportion with the body.

Even though she was a little overgrown, she was in pretty good shape, with only a few mats here and there.

I bathed her in DoubleK® Oatmella.

As I was bathing her, I noticed that she had dry, crusty urine build up around her privates.

What appears to be a hard, gooey mat all wrapped around her privates.

I personally do not feel that this kind of mat should be clipped before the bath.

I feel that there is too much of a chance for the dogs vulva getting nicked, or clipper irritation.

I soap up the area with medicated shampoo and let it soak while I am soaping up the rest of the dog.

After the area has had  time to soak, I check it to see if the hard, crusty urine has softened up.

If it is still hard, I rinse the area and soap it up again.

I use my fingers to loosen up the crusty mat.

Be gentle, don't pull.

As the crust softens, very gently work the crust and hair apart.

Rinse the area well.

Most of the crust usually rinses out.

If you are not able to get all of the crust out, at least try to work it away from the vulva so that there is an airspace for you to safely get a blade under the mat.

Now I can safely clip this area clean.

You still must be careful.

The area may already be irritated from the moisture of the gooey mat.

Hopefully the medicated shampoo will help sooth any irritation.

Because this owner goes a little while between groomings and the dogs hair grows long and thick around the rear and vulva, I take this area short.

Now, even though I am using a clipper to do this, I am clipping this area by skimming it.

Meaning I get as close as possible without having the blade touch the skin.

Around the vulva I am touching the skin, but very lightly.

I want to get his area as clean as possible.

Luckily she did not have too much irritation, just right around the opening of the vulva.

Make sure that whenever you may have to clean up a dogs privates so closely, that you take the time to let the owner know what you had to do.

(It wouldn't be a bad idea to take pictures also, so that you can prove what a mess the area was.)


I have been known to take a gooey mat that I got off of the privates up to the owner and show it to them.

The mat on this dog fell apart during the bath, so there was nothing left to show this owner.

You still want to let the owner know why you took this area so close, and also let them know that the dog may go home and lick this area a lot, or even scoot.

Depending on the owner, I will even use the example of a person shaving for a bathing suit, and how itchy that can be, to get them to understand what I am talking about.

Needless to say, this example doesn't work with everybody.
You must come up with an analogy that you think the owner will understand.
Sometimes I will also use the analogy of shaving your underarms, and how it can itch afterwards sometimes.
It really helps the owner to understand what you are talking about when they can relate it to something that happens to them.

If the area is irritated I will relate the dogs irritation to the irritation that a baby gets from wearing a damp diaper.
I will explain to them that because the hair was matted around the vulva, every time she peed, she was peeing into the matted hair and that hair was staying wet, creating a wet, moist environment that may never dry, in turn causing a diaper type rash on the dogs skin.

Don't be afraid to get very detailed when talking to your customer.
If I shock them....good.
That means that they will remember our conversation when the dog later licks too much, or scoots.

Also, I am a big believer in talking to and telling the owner things that they need to know before you bring their dog out to them.
If you bring the dog out and try to talk to them at the same time, believe me, they are not listening to a word that you are saying.
They may act like they are, but they are so busy looking at, or talking to their dog that they are not hearing you.
You will get a call later and have to repeat everything you already told them.

I want them to know everything before they leave my shop.
I don't want them calling back thinking that I was trying to hide something.

After I have talked to them, explained everything, and am pretty sure that they understand, I bring up their dog.
Then I show them what I was talking about.
If the dog is not irritated, I still show them the area so that they can see how short I took it, and can also see that everything is just fine.
I again warn them to not let their dog lick or scoot.
(Let the owner know that a dog can do  a surprising amount of damage to the skin when they constantly lick one area.)

If there is a minor irritation, I like to let the owner see it.
I usually tell them that if their dog leaves the area alone, the rash/irritation will most likely clear up in a couple of days now that air can get to that area.
If it does not, they should take their dog to the Vet.
I also tell them that if the dog will not leave that area along, they can pat a little corn starch around the area to help relieve the itching.
Corn starch is safe if they lick it, and there are no perfumes like in powders.

If the irritation is bad, I refer them to their Vet, and recommend that the dog is groomed more often to keep that area clean.

Whew......I hope I covered everything there. :)

Back to the rest of the Makeover.

All dry and ready to clip.

The owner wants half off, so I have decided to use a clip comb attachment.

Make sure that the coat is mat free.

I used the yellow Whal® Stainless Steel Attachment Comb to remove half of the coat.

I used full pressure on the body.

I used a lighter pressure on the hips and skimmed  the bottom of the back legs and skimmed the front legs.

Then I went over the body and the legs with scissors to even everything up.

I used the 13mm comb on the top of the head and lightly skimmed down the cheeks.

I scissored the rest of the face in proportion with the body.

As you may have noticed, I put a piece of material up behind my table.
I am hoping to use it mainly for the 'after' pictures.
This was only the second dog that I used it with.

I was so busy trying to get all of the pictures for the makeover post that I didn't mind when she sat down.

I always get front shots of them sitting down.

There was only one problem.

Can you guess what it was?

She was not sitting.

She was peeing!!

Boy was she peeing.

On my new backdrop!

She drenched it before I realized what she was doing.

The one good thing?

The material soaked up all of the pee, saving her from getting any pee on herself.

Well, at least she was all nice and clean back there. :)

It is 4pm.

It has been snowing all day.

Everyone is chilling.

The snow is supposed to turn to rain this evening.

I am 90% sure, that at the very least, all of my elderly customers are going to cancel tomorrow. :( 

I am so ready for Spring! 

Happy Grooming, MFF

1 comment:

  1. New groomer. My third dog when I opened up my studio had a big greasy mat around the vulva area. I washed and washed but it was not coming apart much. I ended up carefully pulling it apart in the tub and then cutting off what was left. Poor girl - don't know how long it had been since air had reached her privates. I told her owner but I wish I had been clear that she may lick and scoot. Thanks