Monday, May 14, 2012

Does A Poodle Have To Be Groomed Like A Poodle?

In all of the years that I have been grooming, the one comment that I have heard the most is...

"Don't make him/her look like a Poodle!"

One of the worst thinks about this comment is that not only do Poodles owners say this, but owners of just about every breed with long hair has said this to me.

Don't make your Schnauzer, Shih-tzu, Lhasa, ect. look like a Poodle?
I don't think that I could if I wanted to. lol

Yes...Poodles have a certain look to them.
A lot of that 'Poodle look' comes from the type of hair a Poodle has.

If you own a Doodle, Cock-a-poo, Schnoodle, Pekeapoo, or any other Poodle cross, there is a very good chance that your dog will have Poodle type hair.

Poodle hair is a single layer of a mixture of soft and wiry fur that curls.
Some Poodles coats curl tightly, some are curled loosely and wavy.
Poodle hair sheds very little.
Poodle hair does not shed out of the coat.
The shedding hair stays in the coat and twists around the curls causing matting if not brushed regularly.

Because Poodle hair is a single layer coat and curly, it will fluff out and become poofy when cleaned, brushed and blow dried.
The poofy, puffy look of a clean Poodles coat is necessary in the grooming process for a groomer to give the dog a nice even cut.

If you like your Poodle to 'look' like a Poodle, there are several basics of Poodle grooming that makes the Poodle look stand out.

Lets start with four basic parts of the basic Poodle trim that makes the Poodle cut different from every other breed cut.

The Feet:

The basic Poodle trim calls for the feet to be shaved clean on the top of the foot and between the toes.
 The foot is shaved up to the ankle joint.

  This Poodle foot has been clipped with a longer blade because the owner did not want them shaved, but she still wanted them very, very short and tight.

  The Face:

A Poodle face is typically shaved clean from the ears, down the side of the face, to the nose and chin.

  A mustache can also be left around the nose if an owner wishes.

The sides of the face and under the eyes are still shaved.

The Topknot:

The pompom on the top of a Poodles head.

The Tail:

The typical Poodle tail is a pompom on the end of the tail with the top of the tail being shaved.

Those are the four basics of a typical pet Poodle trim.
~Shaved feet.
~Shaved face.
~Pompom on the top of the head.
~Pompom Tail.

If you don't want your Poodles face to be shaved, there are other ways that the face of a Poodle can be clipped.

 The Poodle face short but not shaved.

If you like this look for your Poodles face, tell your groomer that you would like a Poodle type face clipped with a #4F blade and scissored to shape.

The owner of this Poodle wanted the face short, like a Poodle face, but she did not want the typical 'shaved' look.

This poodles face was clipped very short without shaving it.

 This Toy Phantom Poodles face has been hand scissored into a round shape.

  A full hand scissored face with peek-a-poo eyes.

 A Poodle with full round feet.

 If you don't want your Poodles feet shaved, they can be scissored in proportion with the body length.


If you don't like the Pompom on the tail...
A Poodle tail can also be clipped to match the length of hair on the body, with no pompom. 

If you don't like a pompom on the top of the head...

The top of the head can be scissored short and very tight.

 The topknot can also be scissored short into a dome shape.

Pet Poodle trims are named differently in different parts of the country.
Below is a collection of some pet Poodle trims.
The names of these cuts are what they are called in my shop.
This is a basic short Kennel clip.

This dogs body has been clipped the same length all over with a #4F blade.

This is a very easy clip for a busy owner to maintain.

Suggested professional grooming to maintain this clip is every 4 to 8 weeks.

This Poodle has a Lamb cut.

The body is clipped short and tight.

The legs are scissored slightly longer to keep the legs looking a little fuller.

Suggested professional grooming to maintain this cut is every 4 to 6 weeks.

This is considered a Puppy cut in my shop.

A 'Puppy cut' is an even length all over the body, hand scissored longer than a blade can cut.

A 'Puppy cut' can be anywhere from an inch or more hair left on the dog.

This is a high maintenance cut.
Regular brushing must be done at home between groomings to keep the coat from matting and having to be shaved off.

Recommend professional grooming is every four weeks to keep this cut maintained.
 The Retriever Clip.

The body is clipped very short and tight.
The legs are hand scissored full, and left high on the hip and shoulder.

This is a high maintenance cut.
Regular brushing must be done at home between groomings to keep the coat from matting and having to be shaved off.

Recommend professional grooming is every four weeks to keep this cut maintained.

The Town & Country cut.
(or Bikini, or Summer, or Pom-Pom)
Depends on the shop and what they call it.

The body is clipped short and tight leaving pompoms at the bottom of all four legs.

This clip is a fancier clip that is fairly easy for the pet owner to maintain.

The pet owner should keep the pompoms brushed out between groomings to keep them from matting up and having to be clipped off.
Recommended professional grooming is every 4-6 weeks.

Below are some Poodle mixes.

 A Labradoodle.

In a Lamb cut with full legs, full face, and full feet.

This dog can't help but look like a Poodle no matter how her hair is cut.

 A Schnoodle with a round face and head.

 A Yorkie-poo.

He doesn't look like a Poodle, does he?

 A Cock-a-poo.

He doesn't look like a Poodle either.

So, the answer to the question at the top of the post...

No, your poodle, or poodle mix does not have to be clipped like a Poodle, but they will always have a little of that Poodle look, no matter how their coat is clipped, because of the type of coat that they have, and because that is the breed that you own.

The closest you can get to making your Poodle not look like a Poodle, is to shave every bit of hair off of them.
Face, head, body, ears, and tail...all off.

Hopefully,this post will help  pet Poodle owners explain to their groomers  just how they would like their dog to be groomed.

A Note From Your Friendly Groomer, MFF

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why Do I Have To Make An Appointment To Groom My Dog?

Unfortunately  many pet owners believe that Pet Groomers play with dogs all day.

Many pet owners also believe that grooming a dog is a quick and simple process. 

For some small, short haired breeds, the grooming can be quick and simple, as long as the dog is cooperative, but that is as close as it gets to quick and easy.

In truth, dog grooming is a very time consuming and physical job that requires skill to do a proper job.

In order for Pet Groomers to groom dogs safely, and as quick as they possibly can, they must plan their work days.
This requires scheduling appointments for the day.

Because their are so many different sizes of dogs, and types of coats, groomers must control the number of dogs that they groom a day.
How long each groom takes depends greatly on many things.

~The size of the dog.

~The condition of the coat.

~The type of cut that was requested by the owner.

~The temperament of the pet.

~The skill and experience of the groomer.

~Most of all, whether or not pet owners showed for their appointments on time.

Any number of things can also cause a Pet Groomer to run behind and take longer than normal to groom your pet.

 ~A severely matted dog.

 ~A biting dog.

~A very scared dog.

~Having to stop and clean up messes. 

~A pet owner bring their dog in late for an appointment. 

Most Pet Groomers don't want to keep your pet away from home any longer than they need to.
The average Pet Groomer will groom anywhere between 5 to 10 dogs in a day depending on their skill and experience, and also depending on the types of dogs that they have scheduled for the day.

Pet Groomers are working with sharp grooming tools, on a living, breathing animal that has a mind of its own.
Gentle, careful grooming takes time.

Not all dogs always stand still.
They turn, they wiggle, they sit, and they lay down while the groomer is trying to work with them.
A dog can give a groomer a heart attack several times a day just by moving suddenly at the wrong time.

Be patient with your groomer if you call to check on your pet, and your groomer tells you that it may be a little longer before they have your dog finished because he/she is running behind.
Especially if the Pet Groomer is your regular groomer, who always does a nice job for you, and has always taken good care of your pet while in their care.
Please don't take it personally that your dog is one of the dogs that has to stay a little longer, because the groomer is running behind.

 Dogs can be unpredictable, it is almost impossible for a Pet Groomer to 100% guarantee when a pet may be finished.
If your Pet Groomer gives you a time that they expect to be finished grooming your pet, they are basing that time out on their day running smoothly.
That is why many Pet Groomers ask that you call them before you come to pick up your dog, or they ask to call you when your dog is finished.
Just walking in the door, because you think that your dog has been at the groomers long enough, will not make your pet magically finished.
As a matter of fact, it can be very dangerous, and also cause the groomer to take even longer to finish.

For example, many years ago, I had an owner walk in for their dog without waiting for me to call them when I was finished.
I was only about 10 minutes away from finishing the mans dog.
I was scissoring the face and head.
The little dog was sitting very nice and still on my table.
The owner walked into my lobby, and at the top of his lungs, called his dogs name, startling me and his dog.
His dog yanked its head, so hard and fast, out of my hand that he actually did a back flip on my table, scaring the crap out of himself..literally!
This little dog who was being so good for the groom was now upset, excited because he heard his owners voice, and had defecated on himself.
I now had to tell the owner to leave and come back in a half an hour, because I now had to clean up his dog again, and had to calm the dog down enough to finish scissor the head and face that I had been so close to finishing when the owner walked in without waiting for my call.

Even though I was extremely angry at this particular customer for freaking out his own dog, and causing me more work, I was very, very relieved that the dog had not been injured by flipping backwards or possibly jamming its eye into my scissors.
If the dog had hurt itself, or I had accidentally cut it when we had both been startled, the owner would never have believed that it was his fault, because he simply had not called first or waited for me to call him.

Pet grooming can be a very stressful job.
Just working on moving targets with sharp grooming tools can be stressful enough, but then you add on;
~the phone ringing,
~customers complaining because you can't give them an appointment tomorrow,
~customers showing up late for their appointments,
~a customer bring in a dog that they did not bother to tell you ahead of time was a walking mat,
~the customer that brings in a dog who wants to eat you alive, and didn't bother to tell you ahead of time, because they were afraid that you wouldn't give them an appointment.

So please be understanding when your Pet Groomer tells you that they are running behind, or they tell you that they can't give you an appointment on the day that you want, because they are booked up, or because of the type of dogs that they already have booked for that particular day.

There are several different ways that Pet groomers may scheduled their days.
Some Pet Groomers may schedule all of their dogs to come in at one time in the morning so that they can work through the day without having to stop occasionally to take in another dog.
Pet Groomers who schedule this way tend to keep the dogs most of the day.
They work their day by getting all of their dogs ready for the bath, then bathing and drying each dog in the morning hours.
Depending on the number of dogs that they are grooming, they will begin to do the finish grooming (clipping and scissoring) around noon  or 1pm.
Usually the first dogs will be ready to go home between 2 or 3pm.
This type of scheduling works well for pet owners that have to leave their pet at the groomers all day while they work.

Some Pet groomers schedule their clients sporadically throughout the day.
This way the dogs do not need to stay all day.
Pet owners that don't like their dogs to be gone very long should choose a groomer that schedules this way.

If you are a pet owner that wants your pet groomed as fast as possible, you would want to find a groomer that grooms only one dog at a time, or a Mobile groomer that will groom your pet right outside of your house.
Expect to pay higher grooming fees for Pet Groomers that groom only one dog at a time, and come to you in a Mobile Grooming Van.
Because they are only grooming one dog at a time, they are not able to groom very many dogs in a day.
This causes their grooming prices to be higher in order to cover their overhead.
There is also the convenience of coming to you, and the cost of gas.

Pet Groomers have chosen this profession because of their love of dogs and cats.
They care for your pet.
They are also only human.
They are there to help your pet look and feel good.
They can also have bad days, where everything seems to go wrong and get backed up.

So be patient with  Pet Groomers.
Especial if it is your regular groomer, and he/she has always taken great care of your pet.
He or she is still taking good care of your just may be taking a little longer today.

A good rule of thumb is to make your next grooming appointment when picking up your pet from the current appointment.
That way you will have your next appointment already scheduled, and won't be disappointed because if you had waited to call and make the next appointment, nothing would have been available.

If you don't have an appointment scheduled, call at least 3 weeks ahead of when you would like to have your pet groomed.
This way your groomer is more likely to have openings on the day that you would like to have an appointment.

A Note From Your Friendly Groomer, MFF

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Does It Cost So Much To Have My Dog Groomed?

This is a question that I have been ask often over my grooming career.
I have found myself having to defend the prices that I charge for pet grooming more often than I would like to admit.

I will admit that it does tend to put a groomer on the defensive.
So many pet owners believe that grooming a dog is not a job but playing with dogs all day.

Pet grooming is a highly skilled job.

Yes, I said skilled.

I am sure that any pet owner out there that has experienced a bad grooming on their dog realizes that not everyone calling themselves a groomer can do a good job.
That is why professional pet grooming is a skill.

Becoming a professional pet groomer, or stylist requires patience, an artistic eye, physical stamina, and a true love for the job.

~Patience to deal with many types of pet personalities, ranging from very sweet, to very nervous, to very nasty and biting.
~An artistic eye to be able to balance out a haircut, and make your pet look beautiful.
~Physical stamina for lifting dogs, bending over a tub all day, and standing on your feet for 8 to 12 hours a day.
~True love for a job that can be dangerous at times, and  unappreciated.

Pet grooming is far from playing with dogs all day.

It is a job.

It is a business.

There are bills to be paid.
Gas & Electric.
Grooming Tools.
Grooming tool maintenance. 
Groomers Salaries.
Health Insurance.
Business Insurance.
These are just some of the overhead that a grooming shop has to cover every month.

Another question that I have been asked is; "why does it cost more to cut my dogs hair than my own hair?"

The answer...
Your stylist is shampooing and cutting only the hair on your head.

Your groomer is....

Bathing your dogs head and body with  high quality shampoos and conditioners.

They may also be spending extra time giving your dog special medicated baths, and, or Hot oil treatments to help your dogs skin.

 A good groomer will take the time to hand dry and fluff your dogs coat to get the best hair cut possible.

 They clip your dogs to the length you desire if the coat is in good shape.

 They can hand scissor your dogs coat into a cute cut if the coat is in good shape.

They can take your dog from looking like this.... looking like this.

 Or this.... this.

 Your groomer also clips your dogs nails.

 Some groomers also offer nail filing as a service if your dog will allow it.

 Your groomer will pluck and clean your dogs ears if needed.

The ears will go from looking like this.... this.

 Your groomer will also remove ticks from your dog.

 Your groomer will alert you to skin conditions that need to be treated by your Veterinarian.

 Your groomer may also find sores under crusty eyes, tumors, rashes, and other things that may need to be seen by your Veterinarian.

Your groomer must also deal with clipping seriously matted dogs.
These matted dogs require professional grooming skills to remove the coat safely.
Removing these coats also require a lot more time than the average grooming.
It is only fair that a groomer charge an extra fee for removing this kind of coat.

 A groomer could groom two to three well taken care of dogs in the time that it would take the groomer to remove this severely matted coat safely.

 Bring a dog once a year to the groomers, to save money, will only cost more money in the long run, do to medical bills for bad skin and other medical conditions caused from letting a dogs coat become this matted.

Many pet owners may not have any idea how dangerous professional pet grooming can be for a groomer.

We all like to think that our dogs are the greatest.
That they would not hurt someone.
Unfortunately, there are dogs that are very mean when it comes to grooming.
Some are not groomed often enough to learn that being groomed is okay.

Some dogs don't care how carefully you are trying to groom them.

They only have one thing on their mind.... 

  ...and that is to draw blood.

 Some dog owners out there think that the groomer must be doing something to the dog to make the dog scratch and bite the groomer.

 Believe me, it is not a groomers goal to get up in the morning and go to work to make a dog bite them.

Your dog is a living thing that has a mind of its own.

Something as simple as having the nails clipped, the ears plucked, or a mat brushed out could trigger a dog to turn and bite.

A dog can bite quickly and with the force to bite down to the bone in seconds.

One well placed bite can end a professional pet groomers career.

Believe me, we do not ask to be bitten!

To sum it up, your groomer does a lot for that price of the grooming.

~ A bath (all over, not just the head)
~A Blow-dried and fluffed coat.
~The coat brushed and mat free.
~Ears cleaned and plucked.
~Nails clipped and filed.
~A full body hair cut. (clipped or hand scissored)

Does your hair stylist do all of that to you?

Pet grooming prices vary greatly across the country.
The larger your dog is, and the more hair that they have, will require more grooming.
The more work that your groomer needs to do on your dog, requires more time, in turn costing more to groom.

Having your dog groomed regularly helps keep the coat in good condition which helps keep your dogs grooming at an average cost.

The average cost, depending where you live, for a small to medium size dog, given a basic haircut, can cost between 40 to 50 dollars.
Depending on how often you get your dog groomed (4, 6, 8 weeks), lets say every 4 weeks (30 days), would cost you anywhere from $1.35 to $1.70 a day.

I am sure that it is worth $2 a day to keep your dog clean, happy and healthy. :)

One last thing....

  Most groomers care very much about their furry customers.

They got into grooming because they love dogs and want to make then feel and look better.

But, they still have families to take care of and bills to pay just like everyone else.

Try to remember that professional groomers do a lot for your dog for that grooming price that you pay.

You are getting your moneys worth. :)

A Note From Your Friendly Groomer, MFF

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Does it Mean When My Groomer Says My Dog is Matted?

It means that your dogs hair has become tangled.

Matted and tangled hair on a dog can be caused by a number of things.

Lack of regular brushing:
Life is very busy these days, and many owners don't have extra time to stop and thoroughly brush out their dogs coat.
Many pet owners are also under the false impression that they don't need to brush their pets hair.

Unfortunately, many breeders and pet stores don't bother to educate the people buying their puppies about how to groom them between professional grooming's.

Many medium and long hair breeds require daily brushing to keep the coat mat and tangle free.
If your dog is left un-brushed between professional grooming's, their coat is more likely to become matted and tangled.
Just imagine going even a week without bothering to brush your hair.

Even coats on non-shedding breeds will mat and tangle if not brushed regularly.
Some non-shedding breeds still shed dead hair.
Unfortunately, that dead hair stays in the coat and wraps itself around the good hair causing mats and tangles.

Other non-shedding breeds, such as curly coated breeds, will also mat and tangle.
The curls in the hair can tightly wrap around each other causing mats and tangles if not brushed regularly.

Why can't my groomer just brush the mats and tangles out? That is their job!  

A groomers job is to gently brush, comb, bathe, and trim or clip your pet.
It is NOT the groomers job to de-mat a pets coat do to the neglect cause by the owner not regularly brushing their pet  between grooming's.
Brushing and combing mats and tangles out of a pets coat is a painful process in most cases.
People become groomers to help dogs feel good, not to hurt them.
It is an owners responsibility to take care of their dogs coat between professional grooming's.

There are several different types of matting.
Sometimes, light matting can be brushed out of a dogs coat, but it depends greatly on the dog itself.
Brushing out mats and tangles depends on:
~ how large and tight the mats and tangles are.
~ how your pet tolerates being brushed. (If they don't like for you to brush them, the are most likely not going to want the groomer to brush them either.)
~ the time involved in removing the mats. (it is not fair to the dog to make them stand for long periods of time, pulling and tugging on their coat just to try and keep the hair long)

Won't the mats and tangles just fall out when the groomer bathes my dog?

Mats and tangles are not like dirt and can not be 'wash out' of a dogs coat.
When matted and tangled hair becomes wet and is left to dry, the mats and tangles become even tighter, making them even harder to remove.
On rare occasions a groomer can bathe a dog, with very light matting, and use special shampoos and conditioners to help the groomer loosen up the mats and tangles enough to be easily, and safely brushed out.

I DO brush my dog everyday, but the groomer still said that he is matted.

The most common mistake that pet owners make when brushing out their pets, is that they only brush the top of the coat.
This means that when the owner is brushing their pets coat, the brush is not getting to the hair closest to the dogs skin, and is only going through the top part of the hair.

The owner of this dog has been brushing their dog everyday.

The top of the coat looks very nice.

The owner had also been giving her dog bathes.

So why did the groomer tell this owner that the coat is matted and must be shaved off?

Because the owner had only been brushing the top part of the coat, the hair closest to the skin was matted solid.

The matting had become one big solid mat covering the entire dog.

Because the owner had been bathing this dog with the mats in its coat, the mats had become so tight that there was no choice but to shave the coat off and start over.

Why can't the groomer just cut out the mats and leave the rest of the coat?

In some cases the groomer can cut mats and tangles out leaving most of the coat intact.

There are several different types of mats.

~Small, loose hanging mats:

The leg pictured is a Shih-tzu's leg.

This dog has a few small, looses mats that are not tight to the skin.

The groomer was able to thin the mats out with thinning shears.

Then the groomer gently combs out the small pieces of mats and tangles.

This is all done as long as the dog tolerates the brushing and combing.

Removing these mats and tangles also requires extra time and work for the groomer, and will cost extra over the basic price of the groom.

~ Large, loose hanging mats:

The large mats on this dogs legs are covering 3/4 of his leg.

Removing large, loose mats with thinning shears or clippers, to try to save the rest of the coat, would cause the dogs coat to look like Swiss cheese.

It is better to remove the entire coat, to make the coat look even all over and start again.

~ Packed, hard mats:

The mats on this Shih-tzu are large, hard, and packed tight to the dogs skin.

The groomer has absolutely no choice but to shave this Shih-tzu's coat off close to the skin. 

~Web matting:

This is mats and tangles that have connected together all throughout the coat to make one continuous mat all over the dog.

 Once the matted hair had been removed, it looks like a web when you try to pull it apart.

~Undercoat Mats:

These mats a created when double coated breeds start blowing their coat and the dead coat is left to tangle up in the good coat.

Most of the time, undercoat mats can be brushed out, but require a lot of time and work.

This will cost extra.

If my dog is matted, why does my groomer have to shave them so short?
It is not up to your groomer how short your dog has to be shaved.
The matting determines how short your dogs coat has to go.
Your groomer has to use a blade that will safely clip between the mat and your dogs skin.
If the matting is not too close to the skin, the groomer may be able to use a longer blade safely.
If the matting is tight and close to the skin, the groomer will have to use a very short blade.

 Most groomers do not like to brush mats out of a dogs coat.
The people who choose to become groomers  want to help your pet feel good.
We want  to give your pet a nice hair cut and help keep them healthy and clean.

Groomers do not want to be made the bad guy by having to be the mean person who brushes out mats and tangles that the owner allowed to get into the coat.

A groomer is not lying when they tell you that brushing your dogs mats and tangles out will hurt them.

There are some dogs that don't mind having small mats and tangles brushed out.
There are other dogs that are very sensitive to any tugging and pulling that brushing out mats and tangles may cause.

If your pet becomes matted, do the humane thing, and allow your groomer to clip off the matted coat and start over again.
The hair will grow back!
Your groomer wants your pets grooming experience to be as pleasant as possible.
We want your pet to like coming to see us, but if we are continually made to be the bad guy, by trying to de-mat your pets coat just so you won't have a shaved coat, it is not fair to your dog, or to the groomer.

Most groomers are more than happy to show you how to brush out your dog.
They will also show you the proper tools to do a good job.

If your life style does not allow you the time to keep your pet brushed out, or your pet does not care to be brushed, talk to your groomer about a cut that will help get your pets coat in good shape.

When a dogs coat is kept in good shape, your groomer can cut their hair to almost any length.
If your dogs coat is matted and tangled, your groomer has no choice in the length of blade that he/she has to use to safely remove the mats from your pets coat. 

You can not ask your groomer to brush and pull mats out of your dogs coat and then wonder why your dog does not like going to the groomer.

It is hard enough for a groomer to get your pet to enjoy the grooming process when we already have to get them wet, blow air on them to dry them, clip their nails, and pluck their ears.
Don't ask us to brush their mats out too.

A Note From Your Friendly Groomer, MFF