Some helpful tips when going to visit your groomer.
September 7, 2011 at 9:41pm
For many people, taking their beloved pet to a groomer can be a stressful event for a number of different reasons. I would like to try to help you have a more pleasant experience, for both you and your pet by giving a few simple tips. Please keep in mind that these are only suggestions that may or may not help because each situation and dog is different.
- First thing’s first – find a groomer you can trust. Trying to find the cheapest groomer in town is not always the best route to go. Most grooming salons and vet clinics are pretty competitive in prices these days, and you won’t find too much of a differnce in prices when calling in the same area. Much more important than the price is the process. Instead find a groomer who you can communicate with and trust – ask questions and watch how they interact with your pet. Do they have a process that they follow? What is it? Are they knowledgable? If a particular groomer gives you a bad vibe or seems unprofessional it would be a good idea to thank them for their time and try another groomer.
- Whenever possible, schedule the groom ahead of time and plan on the groomers keeping them for most of the day. This helps both your pet and the groomer by giving your groomer plenty of time to work with. This helps ensure that your pet will be able to enjoy the groom in stages with rest periods in between. Racing through a groom from bathing and drying to finished groom without any breaks in between can be stressful for many dogs, and it would still take most groomers about 2 hours to do. Giving them breaks in between the bath and drying process, and finally on the finishing table helps keep them relaxed and comfortable. Understandably there will be occasions where you will need to pick up your pet at a specific time. However, if it is only for the sake of wanting to pick them up because you think they will be stressed – it is actually better to leave him/her there all day. Most grooming salons are set up so dogs can see each other which is very helpful for a nervous/anxious dog because they get to see all the other dogs getting groomed and having a pleasant experience. This helps them to see that they are not being experiemented on or tortured – it is actually no big deal, and all the other dogs are doing it and receiving affection. Some dogs just need a little more time and patience than others. Experienced groomers know this, and they will usually take their time with the dogs that are fearful or anxious. Each time they have a positive experience like that it becomes easier and easier, and soon they will be dragging you to the door because they can’t wait to see their groomer!
- Be specific with what you want. If you have an image of what you want your dog to look like after the groom, please don’t say, “Oh, it’s up to you. You’re the groomer, I trust you. Just make her look cute.” This is a “no-no” because what the groomer thinks looks cute and what you think looks cute may be two totally different looking dogs. It is much better to be as clear as you can be on what you want the finished groom to look like, and please try to use plain terms to explain the haircut. If you are absolutely sure what a Miami Cut is supposed to look like, by all means request the Miami Cut. But if you mean you want your dog short for the summer but not shaved down, please don’t say you want a Summer Cut because they will most likely shave your dog down to the skin. I always prefer someone who comes in with a list of instructions and a picture printed out rather than someone who tells me to do what I think looks best. Keep in mind that after the groom is done you’re the one who has to look at the hairdo everyday, not the groomer. It is also good to keep in mind that if you don’t like the outcome of the grooom, please let the groomer know exactly what areas you don’t like and how you would like it to look next time. Be specific and use layman’s terms in order to describe what you want. I had one lady repeat “Puppy Cut” for every question I asked her. Yes, but how short do you want the hair? “You know, a Puppy Cut. Have you ever done a Puppy Cut before?” I finally told her to explain the hairstyle to me without using the words, “Puppy Cut”. Another time I had a lady say she just wants a “Puppy Cut,” so I said, “Great! I’m a Puppy Cut specialist!” She replied, “Wow! Wait… what’s a Puppy Cut?” LOL!
- Say what you mean when the groomer asks you when you would like to pick your pet up. Many people will say, “Oh just call me when she’s ready” thinking that the groom will over in a few hours and they should be getting a call before noon. As I explained earlier, this cannot be done unless there are only a couple of grooms scheduled that day. Someone has to go first and someone has to go last, that’s just the way it is. If you would like to pick up before noon or early afternoon, let the groomer know so that they can plan their day accordingly. This is where most people will experience frustration – when they call the groomer over and over and keep getting the same answer, “She’s not ready yet.” Or worse yet, they drive to the grooming salon and wait as the groomer scrambles to try to finish the groom on a dog who is now ready to go home because they’ve either seen, heard, or smelled their owner. Neither option is a good idea and will not make for a pleasant grooming experience. Calling the groomer several times to check on the status of the groom can also send the wrong message: “I don’t trust you.” Going back to the first point I made, it is important to find a groomer you trust so you don’t have to call several times because you’re worried.
- Put yourself in a positive state of mind. Look forward to the day as if you were treating your pet to a luxurious spa, because it’s true! When we feel nervous or anxious our pets can usually pick up that vibe from us, and they will mirror our energy. If you wake up feeling worried or upset about going to the groomer, your pet will more than likely feel the same way. Encourage them to enjoy the experience by feeding them positive energy and thinking positive thoughts. Your groomer should be someone who is more like a friend rather than someone you detest. We already share a love of animals – and not just any animal, dogs – and not just any dog, your dog! If you think about the grooming appointment more like a visit to a friend who happens to know how to cut your dog’s hair, it may help put you in a better state of mind when going to the groomer. This will help your pet feel safe and happy to get groomed as well. If mommy/daddy trusts and likes this person, they will more likely feel it is ok to trust and like them too. It may help to give them a special treat that they only get on the grooming days when you pick them up – or have the groomer give them the special treat after the groom is complete so they will have another positive experience to associate with the groom.
Again, these are just suggestions that I put a lot of thought into in order to help those who have had bad experiences with groomers in the past have better experiences in the future. Although this was written almost 4 years ago when I was fairly new at grooming dogs, I believe that the information is still relevant today. I really hope that this information helps anyone who dreads grooming appointments and/or always has a bad experience. Thank you for reading!