Well, maybe not really a rant, but I am about to climb up on my little old soap box. :)
This little guy came in last week.
It was his first time at our shop.
The owner had been taking him to the same grooming salon for the first few years of his life.
I groom a few of her neighbors dogs, she liked how they looked, and her neighbors had told her to come to me, but she was being loyal to the place she had been going to.
Good for her.
If she was happy with the job she was getting, she should stay.
I personally think that pet owners should find a groomer that they like and stick with that groomer, if at all possible, through the dogs lifetime.
I think that it helps a dog feel more comfortable about the grooming when they know their groomer and see the same person each time they are groomed, instead of hopping from one shop to another.
That being said, a pet owner should find another groomer if they are not happy with the groomer that they have been using, or if they feel the dog is not happy after its grooming.
As you can see, this owner has left her other groomer, has listened to her neighbors, and has come to try my shop out.
In this particular case, this owner did not leave her groomer because of a bad hair cut, but because she felt that she was not treated right.
For the second time this year 'the other grooming shop' called her to cancel right before she was due in for her dogs appointment.
I first time she rescheduled and let it go.
This time she knew her dog was matted and really needed the grooming.
The 'other shop' called her half an hour before her scheduled afternoon appointment.
They told her that the groomer had called out that morning.
She asked if another groomer could groomer her dog.
Other Shop: "No, you have to reschedule."
Owner: "If you can't take him today, I'll have to go someplace else."
Other Shop: "Okay, Bye."
All right, here is my first rant, pet peeve, soap box lecture....whatever you want to call it.
What did 'the other shop' do wrong?
First of all, they did what we groomers can't stand our customers doing to us, they waited till right before the customers appointment to call her and try to reschedule the appointment.
Now, I guess that there is a possibility that the groomer was not due to work till an afternoon shift, and that they only just found out the she would not be into work for the day, and they had no choice but to give the owner late notice.
The problem is, 'the other shop' went about it the wrong way.
The dogs owner said that what upset her the most was that they did not even bother to apologize to her for the late call, the inconvenience, or that they needed her to reschedule.
We are a service industry.
We rely on our customers repeat visits.
We also rely on good 'word of mouth' to increase our clientele.
As a groomer you need to have some people skills also.
I know, I know, a lot of groomers get into grooming because they love working with animals not people.
Unfortunately, there will always be a person at the end of the dogs leash.
Before I go on, please understand that I am a firm believer in the fact that 'the customer is not always right'
That being said, groomers should always make a point of doing what they can to please their customers. (within reason)
Always be kind.
Even if the pet owner is being unreasonable, be kind, take care of business in a friendly, respectful manor.
If the pet owner was rude and disrespectful to you, you should the better person, and best of all....you don't ever have to groom that customers dog again if you don't want to.
One of the hardest things to do in this business, is to not take things that pet owners say personally.
A lot of times they say things out of frustration, or truly believe that things they say helps them get what they want.
In this case the pet owner tossed out one of my favorite comments; "I guess I'll just have to go someplace else."
Most of the time pet owners toss this comment around out of frustration, or because they think that it will make the groomer scared that they will lose the business, and in turn will give them what they want.
I am sure that this particular pet owner used this comment, because she was frustrated at the inconvenience that the groomer was causing her.
Haven't we all used comments like this at some time in our lives to get what we want?
I will admit that when a customers tells me that they will have to go elsewhere when I can't give them the appointment that they want, I am not about to bend and give them what they wanted.
That comment actually has the reverse effect on me than what the pet owner intended.
But, I am not rude.
Most importantly I do not let comments like that bother me.
My response is something like this; "I am sorry that I can't get your dog in earlier. I can put your name on my waiting list, and if someone cancels an appointment I will call you right away. That way I may be able to get you in sooner. If not, I totally understand if you have to try to get an appointment sooner someplace else. We will miss grooming (insert dogs name) this time." (all of this said respectfully and with a smile)
Most of the time, people just want to be heard, and for someone to actually pay attention to them.
Customer service s*cks now a days.
Of course there will be times when you get people that are just plane rude and want what they want when they want it, and no matter how nice you are to them, they are rude to you.
Be nice, because once you finish talking to them, you know an appointment will never open up for them. ;)
The groomer from the 'other shop' should have at least apologized for inconveniencing the customer, and for the late notice.
I have a feeling that this particular pet owner would most likely have accepted the apology and rescheduled her dog.
She is a very nice owner.
My next pet peeve.
Yes, I have another one. lol
This dog was matted.
No one at 'the other shop' had ever taken the time to educate this pet owner about regular 6 week grooms, or about not bathing her dog with mats in the coat.
You could see that the owner was trying to take care of her dogs coat.
She was bathing him, and trying to brush him, although he really hates being brushed.
This dogs owner warned me that her dog did not like being brushed.
She warned me that he would bite at the brush.
She also fully expected me to shave her dog because it had mats.
That was what she was used to.
Her dogs hair got out of her control, got matted, she took it in to be shaved, and the the cycle started again, because no one had ever taken the time to educate her about regular grooms.
About bring the dog in before it became matted.
About the fact that her dog did not have to be shaved every time he got groomed if kept on a regular schedule.
The owner had been cutting mats out of her dogs legs.
Even though the legs were already short, I was going to make an attempt to keep the coat a little longer than the usual shave down that the owner was used to.
The under belly was very tightly matted and there was no choice but to clip it with a #7F.
A #15 on the stomach.
That did not mean that the entire body needed to be shaved with the #7F also.
After a bath and HV dry, the mats moved away from the skin far enough to get a 3 3/4F blade through the coat.
Some of the matted areas left very thinned out areas, that even after using thinning shears, still left the coat looking a little choppy.
I could have gone over the coat with a #5F or #7F to make the coat look smooth, even with the thinned out areas, but I choose to leave the 3 3/4 length instead.
I also blended in the short areas on the legs.
The owner liked the face round, so....
....I cleaned out between the eyes.
Ran the 3 3/4F blade over the top of the head. (in the direction that the hairs grows)
Skimmed down the ears with the 3 3/4F blade, and scissored them to just below the leather.
I shaped the rest of the head in proportion with the body with scissors and thinning shears.
His owner was right, he did not like brushing.
But, with patience, I found that as long as you did not tug on a mat he was actually fine with the brushing.
He turned out to be a pleasure to groom.
Another pet peeve........ :)
Groomers that shave a dog shorter than need be, because they don't think that the pet owner deserves a longer cut on the dog, or the groomer wants to teach the pet owner a lesson.
I once worked with a groomer that, if the dog had even one mat, (that could have easily been brushed out) would reach for a #7 blade and shave the whole dog.
"I don't do mats!" he would say. "If they can't brush their dog, I am not going to brush it for them!"
Don't get me wrong.
There are certainly pet owners out there whose dogs should be kept very short, because the owners don't do a thing to take care of their dogs between grooms, and don't care.
There are also plenty of owners out there that will take care, or at least try to take care of their pets coat if only someone takes the time to educate them on that care.
If someone shows them that their dog can have a cute, easy to maintain, medium length cut with regular grooming.
That was what I was attempting to show this pet owner.
Did it work?
It has certainly worked with many other pet owners in the past.
Many of those pet owners are regular customers now.
The owner of the dog pictured in this post was very, very happy with her dogs groom.
She had never seen that length cut before.
She was used to getting a shaved dog back.
I explained the thinned out areas, and the blending of the short areas on the legs.
The owner was very pleased and made another appointment for 6 weeks.
She was also extremely happy that her dog was so happy and prancing around the lobby.
She said that she had never seen him that happy and perky after a groom.
She could not believe that he wanted to come back through the gate to see me again.
I was very happy that she was happy.
I have a new regular customer. :)
Okay, climbing down off of my soap box now.