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, June 4, 2013

Dropped The Ball Today


I have come to hate that word.

"Shave my dog."

"Don't shave my dog."

I can use a 5/8 blade, #3/4F blade, or a #4F blade on a dog and a pet owner will think that I 'shaved' their dog bald.
I can use a #7f, or #10 blade on a dog and the owner didn't think that I took the dog short enough. 

It is like playing the lottery.
You never know when your interpretation of an owners grooming instructions will be right. 

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that most customers don't really know what the word 'shaved' means to a groomer.
They don't realize just how short "shave him as short as you can" really is.

Oh, every once in awhile you will get a customer who does know how short 'shaved' really is, and they really do want their dog 'shaved', but that is not very often, at least not for me.

Most of the time when a customer says; "shave him as short as you can", and I tell them just how short I can shave their dog, they end up saying; "oh, I don't want him that short! Just take an inch off."

Today we had a customer come in who said he wanted his dog shaved short.
He knew the legs were in bad shape and matted.

It turned out that the legs were not in bad shape, and were very easily brushed out.

So, I am sure you are thinking; 'what's the problem?'
Yes, this owner said to 'shave' the dog, but the problem was, we had never 'shaved' this dog before.
This dog has always had a pattern and the legs have never been taken any shorter than a #5/8 cut.

I am usually pretty good at reading people and figuring out what they really mean when they say 'shave'.
Today I told my daughter to do the pattern as usual and to use a  #3/4F blade on the legs.
(We had never taken the legs that short before.) 

I had two reasons for this.
One, I already explained, we had never shaved the dog before.
The owner had always wanted a full pattern.
(yes, I know an owner could change their mind)

My second reason was, this dog is on the heavy side, and shaving this dog would have made it look awful.

Well, needless to say, the owner thought we left the legs too long.
We offered to take the dog back in and quickly 'shave' the legs shorter.
He declined.
He said that he could live with the cut.

I still strongly believe that if we had taken this dog as short on the legs as we do on the dogs back, this owner would not have liked that cut either.
Come to think of it, we rarely cut the dog exactly right.
There is always something that we didn't quite get right the last time.

There is a 50/50 chance that when he comes in the next time, he decided that he liked what we did this time....or, he will remind us about how badly we messed up this time.

Nothing like having someone get upset at you because you left too much hair on their dog. :/

Thankfully, most of the time I get it right.....not today.

I'll do better tomorrow. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I have clients who no matter how closely you follow their instructions they still aren't happy, there's always something they pick at but then don't want it fixed when I offer, yet they always seem to come back often. They mustn't hate it too much if they keep coming back I figure.

    1. Hi,
      I think those types of customers have a club and take turns coming to everyone's grooming salons. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Ugh...danged if you do....danged if you don't....

  3. Hi--love your blog! Where are you based out of?

    1. Thank you Audrey,
      My shop is in Towson, Maryland

  4. I ALWAYS have my clients show me with their fingers, preferably on the dog's coat, how short they want the dog. Or if they say 'shave as short as you can', I hold my fingers just a tiny bit apart so they can see how short that is. So far, the only times I've taken a dog the wrong length has been when I misjudge how a blade will cut their coat and it takes the hair shorter than I intended.

    1. Hi Larita,
      I usually do t he same thing, but I didn't take this dog in. I should have followed my gut and called her to make sure of exactly what she wanted.
      Lisa, MFF

  5. Any time I get a customer asking me to shave it all off I say "okay I can do that BUT your dog will look naked and you WILL see skin." Normally they look at me with their eyes all wide and say Oh I don't want them that short! Hehe almost always does the trick, and when a customer still want it that short I don't get complaints back because I warned them. ;)

    1. Hi Melissa,
      I do the same thing. For some reason I didn't this time, and of course, it came back to bite me in the bu**. :)
      Lisa, MFF

  6. Or my fave! They bring you a picture of a curly coat and say "Just like this" and their dogs hair is a straight as a board!