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