Why Coddling your Dog is Doing a Disservice to your Dog and Groomer.

Sarah Drouin NCMG – Pet Tech CPR CErtified – Award Winning Stylist – www.theplushpooch.com

One of the most frustrating things groomers encounter is an overbearing dog parent. I mean this in the kindest way, as we genuinely care about your dog.

The reason it is so frustrating is that we know your dog is anxious because of your actions. As humans, we coddle children when they are scared. If they fall and cry, we pick them up and assure them that it’s okay and we often coddle them.

This is not effective with dogs because the canine brain is not as complex as the human brain. Humans comprehend that you are reassuring them that they will be okay and the pain will go away. Dogs are unable to comprehend that you are telling them it will be okay. In fact, what you are showing the dog is that their state of mind, anxiousness, fearfulness and uncertainty is okay.

Dogs are pack animals and follow their leader. In a pack, if the leader is nervous or uncertain, the dog thinks there is a reason to be in that state of mind. So, unfortunately being a kind human and doing what you would do for another human has the reverse affect for your dog. The best thing to do for a dog who is always anxious, fearful or uncertain is to remain calm, with a clear mind and avoid coddling.

Talk to your groomer while your dog is on a leash and let them assess the situation for themselves. Do not encourage the behavior you are wishing away, but be calm and assertive. Allow your dog to have a sense of security by feeling your confidence when dropping them off with your regular groomer. Most importantly, allow your groomer to build the foundation for long term and confident relationship with your dog.

Trust me when I say, your dog and groomer will thank you!

You will eventually feel great and see the rewards that come of it!

The Big Picture – Attention to Detail

Sarah Drouin NCMG – Pet Tech CPR CErtified – Award Winning Stylist – www.theplushpooch.com

Sometimes the devil is in the details, and other times the devil is in spending too much time on the details. Detail orientation is most  useful when it is sufficiently complemented by an eye for the big picture.

So, I have a friend who is learning to groom. She attended a school and learned the basics, but she is still trying to hone her skills. She mentioned to me that she wondered how she could start developing an eye for attention to detail.

I know that she is not the only one; regardless if you have been grooming for one, five or twenty years, this has probably crossed your mind.

How can you train the eye to pay attention to detail?

Some activities that can help train your eye; finding what’s wrong in this picture, memorizing photos, and even making little rhymes to help you remember something.

“Norwich terrier has the pricked ears and Norfolk terrier has the folded ears.”

I think we have all compared ourselves to others.  While you may want to steer clear of comparing, I do think it is a great learning experience to watch another groomer.

Begin with the feet; focus on what you want your feet to look like, invision it. Work on feet for a week or two. If it takes longer, then do it until you are satisfied.

Once you have feet down pat, move on to tail sets. Tail sets differ between breeds, but you should start looking and reading your breed standard. When you learn which tail set is for each breed, you will already know how to set the tail for a mixed breed.

Next, work on faces. Take as long as you need and focus on what you want that face to look like on that client.

Once you are comfortable with faces, it is time to perfect your finishing  work. Step back when you are done with your dog and take a look to see  what sticks out to you. What don’t you like about this groom?

Go back and fix it.

Before that dog leaves, do yourself a favor and take a picture. Over time you will see how much you have progressed. You will also go home, see that picture and pick things out that you didn’t see at the salon.

Attention to detail may take one person longer than another to perfect. Stop comparing yourself to others and set your own goals to strive to be the groomer that you know you can be.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short on the Bath

Shannon Moore, NCMG Director of Grooming and Education, Espree Animal Products

So many times, we are over booked, running behind, or a dog who doesn’t have an appointment made it on your schedule.  You need to make up some time to stay somewhat close to your schedule, and do not know where to take a short cut. Often, I hear groomers trying to take a short cut in the bath tub thinking that one bath will get the job done if they lather that coat up a bit more. Aaahhhh, don’t do it! The bath is one of the most important parts of the entire groom.

I always recommend two baths.  Call me old school, that is okay, but think
about it. The first bath, the preliminary bath, is going to remove all the
dirt, debris, and dander from the dog.  I usually recommend a more basic shampoo with a slightly heavier surfactant to get the job done.  The second bath is designed to offer a solution.  Maybe it’s a matter of adding more silk proteins to seal the ends of a drop coat, a keratin shampoo for volume for those curly coats, or a tea tree oil shampoo to help impede bacterial and fungal growth. Whatever the reason, the first bath will get the dog clean and return the skin and coat to a more neutral state. Once the skin and coat has returned to a neutral state, the second bath, the solution oriented bath, will allow you to treat the skin and coat.

Once the dog is clean and you have the coat in the better condition, then the finish work is more attainable.  You can artfully wield your scissors and clippers to turn the pet into whatever you want.  You are able to showcase your artistic ability making the pup look fantastic and keeping the client very satisfied!

Picking the Pawfect Grooming Salon For Your Furry Friend!

Samantha Mobley  |  Espree Animal Products

Going to the grooming salon, for most dogs, is not exactly a fun experience. Whether your dog is a seasoned pro, or a newbie in terms of grooming, the process can be very stressful for some dogs- no matter what the age. There are many different factors to consider when bringing your pet to a salon to allow maximum comfort and as little stress as possible.

First, your dog needs to be current on all vaccinations. Most salons require the rabies and Bordetella vaccination to be groomed. You may ask why they need shots, but this not only ensures that your pet is healthy, but it also prevents them from contracting and spreading other dog related illnesses in the salon such as kennel cough. At most facilities this is mandatory for grooming. Also, if your dog has any kind of history of aggression towards people, other animals, or specific things being done (like trimming nails, cage aggression etc.) please notify the grooming facility. They will be appreciative and take the proper measures to ensure that your pet and the staff do not get harmed during the grooming process.

Senior pets:

If your pet is a senior dog (10+ years old), it is usually recommended that you take them to a vet for their grooming. Senior dogs often times have some health issues, and they will be assessed and monitored for their entire grooming process. If something were to ever happen, a team of veterinary technicians and a veterinarian would be there to help with anything that may occur.

Injuries/ailments/aggressive behavior:
Taking your dog to a vet is also recommended if your dog has any major ailments or issues (pregnancy, trouble standing, hip dysplasia, a broken bone, severe skin conditions, post-op surgery, extreme aggressive behavior, severe matting) so that they can be handled and cared for accordingly. If your dog is extremely aggressive and cannot be taken to a regular salon, it can be sedated by the vet to ensure a safe and stress free groom for both the groomer and dog.

Corporate and mom and pop shops:
If your dog has no issues, then you could take them to virtually any grooming salon of your choice. With that said, keep in mind that corporate grooming salons often adhere to stricter rules and time tables than their mom and pop counterparts. Dogs will often be more closely monitored at a corporate salon, and they will generally be done in 4 hours or less. In the event that a cut, nick or burn would occur, you would rather be at a corporate salon who will foot the bill than a mom and pop shop that does not (usually) have any legal obligation to pay a vet bill in regards to any incidents.  A regular salon is great as well. They will often let you drop off before work and pick up afterwards. They are generally owned by a seasoned groomer who is very knowledgeable, and the staff usually consists of 3-7 groomers in the salon. If you are trying out a new salon, make sure you read current reviews online, and ask to take a look around and meet your groomer. Also, have the type of hairstyle you would like in mind, or written down to help them achieve the cut that you would like. Keep in mind that a full service groom generally takes around 4 hours depending on the size and condition of the dog. This accounts for the bathing, drying and the full haircut.

Booking an appointment:
After you’ve done your research and found a place that’s right for you and your pet, it’s time to book the appointment. Call the salon, make sure you have your info ready about your dog (breed, age, records, temperament, issues etc.), and see what time works best for you and the groomers. Some salons are booked out weeks in advance, so the sooner you can get an appointment, the better. Fridays and Saturdays are generally the busiest times for grooming salons, so a haircut may take a bit longer just due to the sheer volume of dogs scheduled for that day.

Hopefully with these tips you can find the right grooming salon for you!

Signs It’s Time To Get Your Dog Groomed, And Other Helpful Tips!

Samantha Mobley  |  Espree Animal Products

A lot of people have a hard time keeping track of when their pup is supposed to get a groom. The standard is every 4-6 weeks for long coated breeds, and once a month for short coated dogs that just need a good bath and a nail trim. We all know that life can get hectic, and before you know it your furry friend is looking more like Chewbacca instead of a dog. A good way to tell if your dog needs a groom is if they start having excess hair in certain areas, a pungent odor, and matting. Check the paw pads, around the eyes, and the sanitary areas of the dog. If there is an excessive amount of hair to the point where it’s impairing their vision, their walking, or their bodily functions, it’s time to get a full haircut. Once you schedule your appointment with the groomer, make sure you get on a schedule of every 4-6 weeks for a groom. Often times they will send you reminder calls or emails so that you will not forget if you have a busy schedule. After a full service haircut where the dogs entire body has been trimmed, bathed and styled, most people set up the next appointment for a “partial” trim for their next visit.

The partial trim includes everything that would be in a regular haircut, minus the full body clip. A partial, or “maintenance clip”, is a great way to keep your dog prim and proper in between grooms. It is also a good way to maintain the length of your dogs coat if you are trying to grow out the hair after a shave down. During a partial, they will shave the paw pads, trim up the feet, cut the nails, shave the sanitary areas, and clean up the face and tail. A partial is also a good option for a long coated puppy’s first groom, as it eases them into the grooming process.

To help with the grooming process, regular brushing at home is a necessity for long haired dogs. Daily brushing will help to keep the coat free of matts and tangles so that if you’re wanting to maintain a long hairstyle, you can have the style you want without any issues. If the dog is not brushed regularly, expect de-matt fees and possible shave downs at the salon if the matting is too extensive. Also make sure that if you are bathing your dog at home in between grooms, to brush them out well to prevent any matting.

Some products to help in between the grooming process would be some of our various pet wipes, our waterless bath sprays, and our detangling and de-matting spray. The wipes are great for quick jobs if your dog needs a quick clean up on the rear, face or paws in between grooms.  The waterless bath spray is a fantastic alternative to a bath if you don’t have the time, and they need some cleaning. Just a quick couple of sprays and a towel dry will help your pet with dirt and odors. If you are committed to brushing and detangling your furry friend, the Espree de-matting and detangling spray works great for brushing out tangles easily so that they don’t turn into matts. If you are in dire need of a good bath, then our hypoallergenic or oatmeal baking soda shampoos are great for deodorizing and cleaning your dog, and keeping them fresh till their next visit at the salon.