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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Am Sorry

I haven't been writing lately.

Work has been busy, crazy, which is good....in one way.

I am afraid that I have been letting customers get to me lately.

We always work really hard to do the best that we can, and to give the best customer service that we can.
We do this for two reasons.
The number one reason is because we are proud of what we do, and truly care for our furry customers.
We care about the work we put out there.

The second reason is a little more basic...I don't want complaints.
Simple as that.
I don't want anyone calling back with a complaint about the grooming.

About 2 years after I started grooming I went through a really bad burnout.
I stopped grooming for a few months.
I didn't go far.
I took a job at a Mobile Groomer who had three vans on the road.
I was her part-time receptionist.
I remember being blown away when I was averaging taking 5 to 6 complaint calls a day.

A day!

I could not understand why all of those complaints were coming in.
I was also amazed at how nonchalant the owner would take it when I handed her the complaints at the end of the day.
She would call the owners back and deal with the complaints in a matter-of-fact way.
She accepted the complaints as part of the job.

Maybe it is just me.
I just can't be matter-of-fact and nonchalant about complaints.
I tend to take them personally.
Maybe it is because I put everything into my work.

I know that I am not perfect.
I know that my grooms are not always perfect.
But, I also know that we do try to make every groom as perfect as we can.
I also know that you can not please everyone.

We tend to average one complaint about every few months, and they are almost always minor or picky complaints.
I have learned to calmly deal with those few complaints, and for the most part let them slide off of my back.

Then, every once in a while, you seem to get a rash of complaints.
Most of them are small, easy to fix complaints.

So what is the problem?

The complainers have been mean.

It is not like they say; "Can you take the face a little shorter this time, it was  a little too long last time?" or, "Can you get the nails shorter this time?" or, "I think that you might have missed plucking the ears, can you check them?"

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't expect everyone to talk and ask so nicely.
Some people have no tact, or don't realize how they talk to you when they say things like; "He really hates coming to see you." or, "You're not going to hurt my dog are you?"

No, the complainers lately have been down right mean.
"The last grooming was sub-par." or, "The last grooming was terrible." or,"You didn't even do the nails." or, "You didn't cut the head the right way." or, "He didn't look as good as he did the last time."

These are all comments that we have heard in the past two weeks.
The worst part is that these mean complaints come 5 days to weeks after the grooming.
You feel like you can't even take up for yourself, because too much time has past.
The hair has grown.
The nails have grown.
Why didn't they call the next day?
Why didn't they bring to dog in to have us fix something the next day, or even two?

How do you defend yourself?

Another thing is...these customers aren't even regulars.
Their dogs have only been groomed by us two or three times.

Sorry, I guess that makes it sound like I don't think that they should complain, because we have only groomed their dogs a couple of times.
I guess what I am trying to say is, why not be nicer and give us a chance to get the groom the way they want it instead of  being mean right away if the cut didn't turn out the way they thought that it should, or the way that they envisioned it in their head.
We can only go by the directions that they give us.
Sometimes it does take a couple of groomings to get the groom the way the owner wants, but they don't have to be mean about it.

Even after we offer for them to bring the dog back in so we can see what they are complaining about, and fix it for them, they either wait another week to show up, say never mind, or wait to come in for the next grooming when it is way too late to see if you  really did mess up the grooming.


I am whining, aren't I?

I can't help it, I feel like being whinny right now.

One thing I will not do is give money back on a grooming.
They can bring their dog back in and I will work with them until everything is just the way the owner wants it.
I do not believe in giving money back for a labor intensive job.
An owner may not like a cut, but the dog was bathed, and groomed.
They went home with a clean dog and a fresh haircut.
The work was done.
Come back in a reasonable amount of time, and we will be happy to tweak the groom if needed.

I am sorry.
It has just been getting to me.
We work so hard.
I truly want every customer to walk out of my door happy.

Maybe I am just getting too old to deal with picky, mean customers.

Why do they all have to turn up at the same time?

Sometimes I feel like I would just like to close my shop, start a rescue, and spend my days keeping all of the owner-less dogs nice and groomed, and the only person that I have to worry about being picky is me!

Don't mean to bring anyone down by writing this post.
This time will pass....it always does.

I just hope that these customers don't eventually make my daughter quit grooming.

Whine over. :/

✂ Happy Grooming, MFF ✂ (I hope) :-)


  1. Must be something in the air..I just told one of the girls who works with me that I just want to quit!!! I'm so tired of people...today a young woman got very angry with me when I wouldn't promise to keep her cats feet dry while bathing it!???? He wears soft paws and she just applied them and didn't want to have wasted her time and money-? She wasn't a little irritated...she was IRATE! That I couldn't guarantee it....I give up....sigh

    1. Hi big dog mom,
      Good grief.....lets see....maybe you could have hung her cat upside down, over the tub, and wash the body so the water would not run down on to the feet....NOT!

      REALLY!! How in the world could she possibly think that you could wash her cat without getting the feet wet? AND why did she even apply the soft paws if she was bring her cat in to be bathed? That one needed her head banged on the counter a few times to knock some sense into her.
      I bet if you survey groomers on why they quit grooming, 99% of them would say because of the owners!
      I am sorry that you had to deal with a customer like that. I know how hard it is to shake off someone like that.
      I hope that she walked out and you never have to see her again.
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time right now. Complainers, cuts, and injuries all come in rushes, there is no doubt about it. A week and a half ago, I cut myself (minor, but I bleed a lot), then the dog (Saint Bernard) jumped off and broke the table when I was looking for a bandaid, then, since I was rushing, I cut the dog with my dematter - and this all happened in a 20-minute time span!

    I've also had a small handful of complaints recently, with my favorite being: Her feet grew out too fast last time.


    I don't even know if that was my fault or not; the dog was groomed months ago! I suppose I didn't pull the hair up out from between the toes well enough when I trimmed the feet?

    Who knows.

    Anyway, hang in there; hopefully this bad luck rush is almost over.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Sorry about the St Bernard. Things always seem to happen in 3's.

      As for the feet...you did nothing wrong last time! Hair grows!! Now, if that customer was a 4 to 6 week customer, MAYBE I would have thought that I may have left the feet too long, BUT months!! I say it again.....You did nothing wrong! Don't be so hard on yourself.
      I have gotten better about taking most things that owners say with a grain of salt. It is when they get mean and nasty about my grooming that I have a hard time.
      We groomers are only human. We have good and bad days just like everyone else.

      I am working on more positive thoughts and letting go of these people. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  3. I've been dealing with this a lot lately, too. I bend over BACKWARDS for some of my customers and all I ever seem to get is attitude.

    Final straw was on Saturday. There are three of us in the salon and one of my coworkers had to go to the hospital because her acid reflux was making her cry. I ended up with 11 dogs, which most of were crammed into the last few hours of my day. I managed to get them all done without rushing, and I was in a good mood but MAN was I tired! And I go out to the floor to help with daycare pickups and one client was saying he wanted daycare on monday, on top of me grooming his mini doodle. and his appointment was at 9am, and I was like, are you sure you want him groomed that early? Hes going to get filthy going back in daycare...

    and this creep just curled his lip at me like I was a moron, and was like 'uh, yeah, it's fine.' in just the most horrible, nasty way possible. like, okay dude, sorry I was trying to make sure your dog went home clean for your punk ***

    I'm just at that point now where I am done being nice to people. It never works out. I never get thank yous for squeezing in clients at the last minute. When I save some length on matted dogs, its never good enough, theyre always mad the dogs are too short.

    Or the lady I said I would dog sit for her, and I asked her if her dog was good with cats. And she blatantly lied to my face and said that he was, and for the first three days he was here he did nothing but try to kill my cats. and last night he bit my rat. I'm DONE.

    rant rant rant

    1. Wow Amanda,
      Believe me, I totally understand. It seems that the customers that you bend over for the most are the most ungrateful. It makes you not want to do anything for anyone anymore.
      I have begone to do things a little differently. I will still do favors for my customers, but if they sc*w me over, I will never do them a favor again.

      As for the rude guy...Karma is all I can say. What I would do? I would take a picture of his dog after it is freshly groomed, so that you have evidence that the dog was nicely groomed BEFORE it went to daycare. That kind of guy would deny that you ever warned him about his dog getting dirty.
      As for the lady that you are dog sitting for...time to call her and tell her to find someone else ASAP, or you will be putting her dog into a kennel till she gets back. People will tell you anything to get what they want. Grrrr

      I hope that your rat is okay. I like pet rats. I used to have one years ago. :)

      I hope things get better soon.
      Lisa, MFF

    2. I don't want to open up a big ole can of worms with the lady I am dog sitting for. She's a customer at the place I work at and I don't want to lose her business. I told her about the cat issue but I don't think I'm going to tell her about him biting my rat. The dog is wonderful otherwise. My fiance and I managed to train the 'I'm going to kill your cats' out of him after those three days, and now they lie together, we just couldn't get him to leave my rat alone and unfortunately I wasn't paying as much attention as I should and he got her. Luckily, she's okay. We keep her (my rat) locked in our bedroom away from him and will do so until she picks the little monster up on saturday. It's sad, because I really like this dog, I just don't think I'm a good fit as far as puppy sitting goes! I can't be mad at dogs for doing dog things. I'm mad at her for 1) not training him out of this bad behavior and 2) LYING TO ME!!

      I'd like to say I'm the same way about the one strike rule as far as doing favors go, but alas... my backbone hasn't grown in yet. My crazy doodle owner is still driving me mental. One second she's wonderful and the next she's calling me an hour early harassing me about getting her dogs done asap. And they're always matted and I can't shave them down and AHHHHH!

    3. Hi Amanda,
      She is getting a great deal. After lying to you, she gets a better trained dog back.:p After all of my advice, I probably would have done the same thing that you are doing. lol I am glad that your rat is okay.
      It is amazing, I HAVE grown a backbone over the years for most of my customers, but I still have those few like your doodle lady.
      It's funny, I had one lady that was nice, but at the same time could drive me insane. For some reason I put up with her petty complaints and rush jobs until one day (I think that I had PMS) She called back once again after a grooming to fuss about something. It was so not like me, but when I got on the phone to talk to her, the first thing that I said, in a very exasperated voice, "What did I do wrong this time?" I took her so off guard that she fumbled all over herself. Do you know that she never complained about anything again after that. lol
      I think with the doodle customer....the next time she tries to rush you, you should just stop and look at her right in the eye and say; "You know, I really like your dogs, and I really do not want to hurt them, but when you rush me to finish them, it is not fair to THEM, because when you rush to groom a dog, that is when accidents can happen. I am using sharp scissors and blades on your dogs and must take my time and be careful so that your dogs are groomed safely." Say it as sincerely as you can. Most of the time when you talk about the dogs safety, people are more willing to understand.
      Good luck with the doodle lady. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  4. It must be in the air...I swear I have been hearing a lot lately too! The worst are if you call a day or two after the groom and they say everything was perfect...then they come in weeks later and you here them talk about how whatever was done last time was just awful, or not right, too long...blah blah blah...or they reach down in front of you and go over every INCH of the dog, disapproval all over their faces, then you ask if everything is ok and they say yes and leave! Ahhhhh!

    1. Hi Cherie,
      I truly believe that some people just love to complain and are never happy with, or about anything.
      It is also amazing how they keep coming back when they don't like what you did.
      People are insane!
      You are right....there IS something in the air.
      Lisa, MFF

  5. I have been grooming for 12 years now I just happened to come across your blog Saturday evening after working "Easter Week" 6 days,12 hour days, when I left my shop Saturday, I was sure I was going to call my grooming partner and say I'm done not because of the dogs, its the time hassling,cheapskate,rude owners who think I move my majic wand over the dogs and they are bath,bathed,and dry in an hour. Some dogs sure, but my clientele are 3-4 months getting groomed(I do have some 6-8 weeks but not that many. I know for a fact that 95% of my regular customers will call or come back in 11/2 hours(no matter what breed or condition) and they don't leave,they talk to the dogs, will yell at the dogs and continually ask "how much longer?" I can't stand it,I cringe and just pray I don't cut the dog. Your blog has helped me remember why I love grooming and that I'm not the only one feeling like I do,so many things you wrote were dead on to me! Your Blog surely was a factor I went to work yesterday,today and tomorrow! Thank You

    1. Hi,
      I am taking a guess by what your comment says, that your customers can see into the grooming room. If so..God bless you...that would drive me insane to have an owner stand over me pushing for me to get their dog done.
      As Dr. Phil says, people treat you the way YOU let them treat you. Believe me, I know, because I have that problem. I am getting better, but I still tend to let some of my customers walk all over me.
      Could you change some of your rules in your shop? Maybe give a letter to each of your customers explaining that, do to safety issues, each dog must spend 2 to 3 hours at your shop in order to make the grooming less stressful to the dog and groomer. That they MUST call ahead to see if their dog is finished and ready to pick up, and that it is too dangerous for them to show up while their dog is still on the table.
      Our turn around for dogs is three hours, even though most of them can be groomed in an hour or two. The only time a dog goes home under the three hour mark is if it is elderly, special needs, or arrangements were made ahead of time to do a quick groom.
      Please don't get me wrong. I am not trying to tell you how to run your business.
      It just sounds like you are killing yourself, and your customers certainly are not respecting you. Please don't let a dog get seriously cut because of a rude customer before you are forced to make changes.
      I have definitely made changes over the 25 years I have owned my shop. When warned well ahead of time, and explained in an informative letter, most of my customers have been just fine with any changes that I make.
      When a customer fusses about how long I have to keep their dog, I calmly explain the grooming process and tell them that I groom for the comfort of their dog, so how long the groom takes is up to THEIR dog. Most people appreciate that you are concerned for their dogs comfort.

      I am sorry...I am rambling.
      Really, I am NOT trying to tell you how to groom, or run your shop. I just hate when I hear that groomers are killing themselves and that customers are treating them badly.

      I am glad that my blog helped you. I hope that you stick with it and don't let 12 years of talent go to waste. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  6. I feel the same way. I have an incredibly hard time letting even the small comments roll off. I've been grooming 8 months now and have only had 4 dogs back and it was for little things like the tail was too long or there was a chuck of hair too long on the forehead. I get very put off by clients that bring there dogs back and want something different every time but says it like her ears were way to short the last time or the hair in front of her eyes grew back very fast (10 weeker). I have one coming next week that the wife calls to book her appointment and gives a list of what she wants different but makes her husband bring the dog in and picks it up. It's very difficult to get exactly what they want when they can't be bothered to show up.
    I do love my job but I agree if I could open a rescue and only groom those dogs I would be happy :)
    Oh well I guess we live and we learn

    1. Hi,
      I hear you! I used to get really upset when I first started grooming too. It took a while to learn not to take it personally. I really don't mind now when a customer comes back in, or calls about something....as long as they are not mean about it.
      A lot of times customers aren't sure what they want done on their dog, and they change their mind AFTER you have groomed the dog. We are also not perfect. Sometimes things do need to be tweaked after the dog is done. Even with me, and I have been grooming for almost 30 years.
      As for the husband and wife....get used to that! I have many of those come into me. At least the wife called and gave you a list. I have so many husbands come in with no note and no clue as to how the dog should be groomed. Then we have to track down the wife to find out what the dog is getting done.
      You are so right...we live and learn. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  7. Oh my goodness I feel for all of you! I had a client call back (9 weeks after her groom) to complain that her dogs face didn't grow back the way she liked! Then to tell me she would be finding another groomer (I had groomed her dog once). Then I arranged with a very worried cat owner to do a cat shave on a severely matted cat later in the day and get it out asap (at a discounted price because she could not afford it). She wanted it done in an hour I told her I would need 1.5 hours minimum to safely shave her cat (and that I would prefer 2 hours-she was not going to go for that). As she was leaving she was sobbing and hugged her cat and told her she was sorry she had to have her go through such an awful thing!(and leaving her in matts that are causing skin sores is better?) When she came back she was upset that the mane was so small (did I say it was severely matted!- I mean severely -burrs, thorns, and sticks-the works)she was also upset that his feet were still damp. I tried to kindly explain that matts are painful for cats and cause sores and that she is much happier with all that tight painful hair off of her (she looked very offended-boy was that the wrong thing to say-I try to be kind but I feel some sort of obligation to help owners understand why it is so important to keep their animals groomed and without matts)
    I made a note on her card to remind myself that it is not worth doing her favors. I will do her cat again but it will come early, I will take my time, and charge her full price. I am hoping someday I will learn how to help my customers respect me. I do love my job, I love what I do, and I do need to remember all of the people that walk out the door happy.

    1. Hi,
      As for the one time customer that got upset that the face did not grow out right (the way she liked)....really!! grow out right???? (shaking head) good riddance. You dodged a bullet....grow out right?? can you tell that that one blows me away? lol

      As for the cat lady.... Been there, done that. Had a lady give me one heck of a sob story about how she could not afford to groom her dog. I agreed to groom it for half price. I problem was, she forgot to take all of her diamond rings off, not wear her fur coat, and bring the dog over in her shinny Cadillac. I was so pissed. I had not been grooming very long then, but I learned my lesson big time.
      Some customers will lie through their teeth to get what they want. The thing that I have discovered is, the people who truly struggle with money are too proud to beg for a reduced price. Now, if someone begs me for a price reduction I kindly tell them that; "I have overhead to meet, but the shelter may have a volunteer groomer that may groom cheaper. But, I must warn you that if you take your matted pet there they may report you for animal neglect."
      Please don't get me wrong, I have done several free grooms over the years to help people out. I have also let people pay me a week or two after I groom their dog because they didn't have enough money at the time of the appointment, BUT I have only done that for regular customers, never a new customer who is most likely calling around till they find a groomer who will do what they want.

      I did have a new customer, not that long ago, who told me a sob story about her very matted, neglected dog so convincingly that I 95% believed her. I really wanted to believe her. I even wrote a post about it and put a video on youtube about it. I set her up for more appointments because I wanted to believe her story. She never showed up for the next appointments, and that poor dog is most likely a matted mess again. :(
      It ticks me off FOR you that that cat customer got a reduced price and then had the nerve to rush you and complain!! Just remember that that cat feels 100% better because of YOU! It's a shame that she has such a terrible owner.
      Sorry, I got on a roll there. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  8. Im so glad I found this blog!!! Its crazy that we all have the same experiences. It does feel like a very thankless job. We kill ourselves and never get appreciated. We are critical of our work and yes it hurts when people are rude. I get most angry when someone accuses me of hurting their dog when I know I didnt. Mind you WE get injured all the time and nobody cares. Lol. Obviously we do this job for the love of animals. I will try harder to remember my good clients and not let the bad ones get to me.

    1. Hi Heather,
      I am glad that you like my blog. You're right, we need to remember the good clients and good dogs. That is what keeps us going!
      Lisa, MFF