Some Of My Personal Favorite Products…

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Sarah Drouin NCMG | Pet Tech CPR Certified | Award Winning Stylist | ThePlushPooch.com | Serving PA/DE

Have you been scrolling social media and seen some really cute haircuts on dogs? I mean, like how did they achieve that?! We have all been there and we all still do, I am sure! Well, I really want to share some of my favorite products from Espree with you! I will list just some in this article, if I listed them all you would certanlty be overwhelmed!

Lets talk about styling products! Maybe you recently saw my video on “How to get a floppy topknot to stand.”. If not check it out!

My first pick is Espree BOOST Spray! I really like to use this on my own poodle as well as other poodles who have that whimpy, floppy topknot! Pet owners don’t expect show trims, but they sure love their beloved pet to look amazing when leaving the salon! Boost is not only great for poodle topknots. I love this is westie heads as well! We aren’t going to put chalk and pull a westie head completely like in the show world, but we can still achieve a really nice westie head with this very product! I use it for bichons as well! It is really a great product. I know, you don’t want to put a lot of crap product in your pet clients head. I know that, but I’m not referring to crap product. This has lasting volume and control without all the heaviness of crap product! TRUST ME! My clients love what I do, and they honestly don’t ever complain about any tacky felling. My pet clients don’t come back in matted because of it either. It dissipates in time.

My next pick is Espree Freeze! Oh man, have you ever done a yorkie topknot, its beautiful right?! Well yes, until that pesky little broken stray hair pops out and then oh! another! Ugh, how frustrating is that? Well Espree’s Freeze spray is excellent to keep those pesky hairs in place. Oh and I can not forget about eyebrows! I can scissor eyebrows and ah, perfect! Put the dog away and then I realize that perfect eyebrow is now falling to the side. AH! I use Espree’s Freeze Spray and BAM! That eyebrow is in place! I love it! Do you have any full coated dogs that you groom? Well when I groom those full coated dogs, it can be frustrating when the part you made is now making its own part! Oh man, it is hard for me to part my own hair perfect, let alone a dog! This spray is strong enough to give an all day hold and control but  light enough to comb back through! AMAZING!

My third pick is Espree High Sheen Spray. Oh man, After I groom a double coated dog, I love to hit the coat all over with this stuff! I know what your thinking, “Does it make the coat greasy?” The answer is “NO!” I use it well enough on the coat and I work it in with my fingers, getting it through the coat. I find that its gives a beautiful shine and smell to the overall dog, but it seals that loose hair. You know, we have gone in a and force shed that dogs coat and now we have woken the dead!!! So after I brush and comb that coat out, I spray Espree High Sheen Spray all over rub in and I have a glossy beautiful sealed coat!

Okay, so I’ve let you on to some of my secrets. Yes, My clients notice a difference! I want the very best for my clients as I know you do as well for yours! Be sure to look out for my part 2. I will share some awesome products for in the tub! Ive got some good stuff to share!

My Dog Wears Clothes

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

The days are becoming cooler in most parts of the country right now, and we do need to keep our pups warm.  Some caring pet owners are choosing to keep their pet’s hair longer, while others are choosing to put clothes on their pets.  Neither one is better than the other, and both still require work on your behalf.  With longer hair styles, owners are needing to brush the pets out to prevent their dogs from matting and tangling, and they are having to visit their favorite pet stylist more frequently.  But, the owners who are choosing to dress their pets in those trendy, couture outfits have their work cut out for them as well.  And it is more than just doing more shopping!

There is nothing cuter than watching a pup strut down the street with clothes on that are more fashionable than mine.  The intricate detail and the craftsmanship of clothes for pets today is to be applauded.  They are absolutely stunning and usually made better than the clothes I am wearing.  With that said, those pet parents also need to invest in a soft slicker brush, a comb, and hydrating spray.

Every time you take that cute little sweater, jacket, or dress off your adorable little (or big) dog, make sure you take  less than five minutes to do a quick brush out.  In as little as 5 minutes, tangles and mats can begin to form behind their ears, under their arm pits, and on their belly.  It is nothing that a quick 2 – 3 minute brush out can’t fix. Lightly mist hydrating spray on your pet then use the soft slicker brush paying particular attention to the armpits, behind the ears, and the belly. It is a good idea to double check and make sure the hair is separated and divided by using a comb.   So remember, every time you bundle up your pet with those cute and trendy clothes, do a quick brush out to prevent your pet from being so matted at their next grooming appointment.

Upselling Special Packages

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

So many times I hear groomers say they can’t charge extra for services because they live in a small, rural town, and people just won’t pay for anything extra or they have an older clientele, or they do not do a lot of prissy pooches.   I immediately ask “Have you ever tried?  How did you upsell your client?”  Have you ever considered designing a program where the caring pet owners have a selection of packages to choose from and you, their groomer makes a recommendation as to what they need?

Most of us charge extra for a Shed Less Package, so why not try introducing it with other specialty products.  Espree has recently launched a Senior Care Shampoo and Gel.  It’s a great package upsell for senior dogs.  It’s chocked full of Arnica to help soothe tired muscles, relieves inflammation, and pain. Or what about a Deluxe Spa package where you use Lavender & Chamomile Shampoo and spritzer, a luxurious facial, and Lavender & Kava Paw Balm. Another great package idea is Stop the Itch geared toward dogs with seasonal or non- seasonal allergies.  Avocado Oil Shampoo and an Avocado Oil Spray to keep itching, scratching, and chewing at bay for 10 to 14 days to provide temporary relief. A Holiday Package is another idea.  Bring a little Holiday Cheer into your salon!  Cranberry Spice Shampoo with matching cologne, a cute Holiday bandana and bow, and maybe send them home with a stocking stuffer like a few dog treats.  These are just a few ideas for special packages.  The possibilities are limitless on what you could do in your salon.

I often use a café chalk board and feature one package a month. I display it in the lobby to introduce the new service.  And for those stylists that have more of a challenge with add on services, I will do the first one at no charge and let them know when they pick their pet up.  I tell them that” today the upgraded services was complimentary because I wanted them to be able to see the difference.”  This works great especially with a Senior Package because they can see their pet moving around better and feeling better.   Another benefit to doing a complimentary add on the first time is that it helps build the relationship with the client. It’s a win win for everyone.  The pet gets a much needed service, the client is thrilled that you gave them something at no charge, and you, their groomer have just made the relationship stronger and could possibly get a referral from the client.  So in the end, everyone benefits!

Don’t Skip the Conditioner

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

Is it really necessary to prolong the bathing experience by using a conditioner when you are bathing your dog?  Spending an extra one to three minutes in the bathtub can drastically improve the condition of the pet’s skin and coat. Bathing removes some essential oils leaving the skin and coat more vulnerable to dehydration.  Shampoos are designed to remove unwanted dirt and debris from the skin and coat.  Then, there are solution oriented shampoos that are specifically designed to treat an issue.  If you do not seal the hair shaft with a conditioner after the bath, the hair shaft remains open where residue can enter and hydration can escape.  Conditioning the coat will seal the cuticle, which in turn, will help restore hydration, moisture, and elasticity. Conditioners are designed to provide the delicate balance of maintaining healthy skin and coat while the skin naturally replaces the healthy oils that were temporarily depleted during the bathing process.

Different types of conditioners work best on different types of coats.  Drop coated dogs such as Yorkies, Shih Tzu, and Lhasa Apsos need conditioners that are loaded with silk proteins. This type of conditioner is designed to help build a strong, healthy, shiny, and more manageable coat. Dogs that have normal skin and coat to a mildly dry coat, such as labs, pugs, short haired mixed breeds, etc., should use a lightweight conditioner to help replace the oils that were removed during the bathing process. This will help revitalize the skin and coat.  This will make coats smoother and healthier, while providing extreme hydration to the skin.  Pets that have dry skin and coat, matted coats, and even undercoats should turn to a more intense conditioner to help restore hydration.  Dry coats will become incredibly moisturized without becoming limp or lifeless while leaving the coat weightless.  For those pets who suffer from irritated skin, conditioners that are rich in antioxidants are a great choice.  An antioxidant rich conditioner will soothe the skin while simultaneously helping to protect the skin from free radicals which can cause damage if ignored.

Regardless of the type of coat you are working with, it is important take a few extra minutes and condition the coat. Reducing static electricity while improving manageability, removing any left-over residue, and temporarily replacing the healthy oils in the coat are just to name a few reasons you shouldn’t skip the conditioner!

The Naked Truth

sphynxShannon Moore, NCMG  |  Espree Animal Products, Director of Grooming and Education

Hairless pets are rapidly gaining popularity. Do hairless dogs and cats really need grooming?  The answer may just surprise you. From Xolo’s to Cresties and Sphynx to Bambinos, hairless pets need grooming too.  In some instances, hairless breeds require more attention in terms of maintenance than their coated friends.  Don’t be surprised if a hairless pet walks into your salon for a bath.  The most common issue you will here is that the hairless friend is oily.  How do you get rid of the oil problem?  It is similar to coated breeds that shed.  You cannot stop shedding as it is a natural process.  The same goes with oil production, but you can keep it under control with consistent, routine maintenance.

Frequency of visits to the salon, at home maintenance, exfoliating the skin, and controlling oil production are just a few things you will need to help educate your client.  The hairless pet population does not have a natural way of keeping the oil on the skin in balance, which can lead to skin problems.  Once again, we go back to proper product selection to help provide that balance for their sensitive skin.

Hairless pets normally have sensitive skin, so select a shampoo that does not contain harsh surfactants.  Hypo – allergenic shampoo is a good choice.  It is also important to exfoliate the skin on these naked pets.  Choosing a Dead Sea Mineral Mudbath is a great way to gently exfoliate the skin while also helping to absorb oil.  Though you are trying to remove the oil, it is important to keep the skin hydrated.  Be careful not to bathe naked pets too frequently.  There is a fine line between over doing and not doing enough.  Every pet is different so part of determining a routine will be trial and error.  A good place to start is a bath every 2 weeks and go from there.  It is also common for these naked pets to produce more ear wax and some will even develop oil accumulation around the base of their toenails.  At an absolute minimum, weekly ear cleaning and cleaning at the base of the nails might be necessary.

The Art of Bathing

schnauzer-bathShannon Moore, NCMG  |  Espree Animal Products, Director of Grooming and Education

People sometimes think I am crazy when I say there is an art to bathing a dog.  How hard can it be? You wet the dog down, shampoo, and rinse.  Aaahhh… but there is so much more to it than that!  First, you have to evaluate the dog’s skin and coat.  Is it dry, oily, damaged, or healthy? Does the coat have split ends?  Is the skin and coat in need of extreme hydration? Those are just a few to mention.  Then, you need to choose the products that will help replenish the skin and coat to return it back to a neutral state.  There are so many choices on the market these days, how will you ever choose? Look at the ingredients on the bottle and determine if those ingredients will provide a solution for the dog that you are working with.  If you are not sure, do not hesitate to call the manufacturer and ask questions.  Nobody knows their product better than those who created it.

After you have decided which products will provide solutions to meet the dog’s needs, then the fun begins.  It is quite fascinating to be able to witness the transformation  of bringing a coat back to healthy by simply paying attention to your product selection and making an educated decision on how to use the products.  It is so much more than just a bath!  You get to make the dog not only look better, but feel better too!

I am “old school”, and believe that every dog should have 2 baths.  The first bath is to get rid of the dirt and debris, and help return the skin and coat back to a neutral state.  If you can do this, the second bath is more of a solution oriented bath. So if your dog has chewing and itching, this is the bath to help provide relief by selecting something like an Avocado Oil Shampoo.  If your dog needs more volume or needs to repair coat, this is the bath to use a Keratin Oil Shampoo.  Maybe your dog has a dull and lifeless coat, then choose Argan Oil Shampoo to provide intense hydration and bring it back to life.  All of these shampoos are solution oriented, so it is very useful to figure out wat you need to do to restore that healthy, luminous skin and coat.

After the 2 baths, I almost always condition the coat.  This allows the coat to lock in the hydration and provide the necessary moisture to keep the skin and coat healthy.  There are instances that I do not condition.  For example, if the dog is extremely oily, I will not condition.  Cost and time are never a factor in whether or not I condition the coat.  This is the time that I have to make an enormous difference with how the dog is going to look and feel.

The bath, in my opinion, is just as important as beautiful finish work when grooming a dog.  If you don’t get the dog clean and try to maintain healthy skin and coat, it doesn’t matter how artistic you are with your scissors and clipper work.  The client will notice the cleanliness of their pet before anything else.  And besides, we want the dog to look and feel its best, and that starts with a great bath!

Howl-O-Ween!

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

It’s that time of year again, for putting together your costume and going door to door Trick or Treating with all of the ghosts and goblins. This can be a fun, but stressful event for your four legged friend.  If your pooch is going to tag along with you and the kids to show off his costume, remember to keep him on a leash.  With so much activity going on, the increased traffic in the neighborhood, and all of the wonderful costumes, your pup could be a little uneasy.  Always keep him close to your side and make sure his collar and leash are secure to prevent any mishaps from occurring.  The last thing you want to do is spend Halloween at the emergency vet.

Some caring pet parents might feel like taking their pooch out in the neighborhood is too much stress for them and their loyal friend.  Since the Trick or Treaters will be ringing your doorbell all night long, it is a good idea to take precautions so your dog won’t dart out the front door.  Even if this is not normal behavior for your pet, this can be a stressful night with all of the activity.  Keeping your pet in his favorite place without having access to the front door might be a safe option.

Whatever you decide, prepare in advance for your pet so when all of the festivities begin, your pup is already taken care of.  And when it is all said and done, and the Trick or Treating comes to an end, make sure your pup doesn’t devour the left over candy.  Chocolate is off limits to our four legged friends.  Happy Howl – O – Ween!

Selecting a Trim to Meet Your Pet’s Lifestyle and Personality

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Sarah Drouin, NCMG  |  Pet Tech CPR Certified  |  The Plush Pooch  |  Delaware/Pa (484)464-2025

Do you have a summer groom and a winter groom for your pet?  I have new clients that come in and request that summer or winter “do” all of the time.  In my professional opinion, I think it is best to select a trim that suits you and your pup’s lifestyle and needs best.  Keeping more hair isn’t always the best thing to do in the winter if you can’t keep up with it.  If the coat becomes matted at the skin, your dog will not be able to get proper air circulation to help stay warm and all kinds of skin issues could come up as well.  I know, I know, the logic is that it is colder and you want your pet to stay warmer.  Your intentions are great, but can you keep up with the extra work? However, most of these pooches that get haircuts do not need to keep more or less hair depending on the weather, because they do not regulate temperature the same way humans do.

It is all about keeping the coat separated and divided so the skin can breathe in order to regulate body temperature.  What keeps them comfortable is a coat length that you can manage, a trim that is easy for your pooch to be himself, and one that allows his adorable personality to shine.  What I mean by that is, if he is a true “rough and tumbler” kind of pooch, then maybe a shorter style is more suitable for him.  If your pup prefers to stay inside and never get his precious paws damp on a rainy day, then maybe leaving a bit more coat is a better choice.  After all, he wouldn’t be caught dead outside on a rainy day.  The style you choose really should depend on lifestyle and personality.

Short trims and personality clips can still be neat and stylish.  And, it is always a great idea to do a maintenance bath in between grooming appointments. Communicating with your pet stylist about what you like and how often you plan on bringing them into the salon will help determine the best type of trim that suits your pup and your family.  After all, whether it is that “just stepped out of the show ring” trim or a “short and sassy” trim, you always want you pooch looking their best!

October is National Pet Wellness Month!

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October is National Pet Wellness Month and a great time to remind us how we can help our pets live longer, healthier and happier lives!

Although there are many suggestions that you can include in your pets wellness plan, Here are our top 5!

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1.     Schedule a veterinary check-up: Having a regular check-up can help minimize chances of diseases by getting routine vaccinations, checking dental hygiene and ears allow your vet to look for any signs of potential health problems.

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2.     Spay/Neuter: If you spay/neuter your pet, they are less susceptible to many diseases and illnesses!

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3.     Check your pet’s skin: Checking your pet’s skin regularly for dry spots, irritations, rashes, and insect bites. Doing this will help ensure that your pet doesn’t contract a serious skin disease.

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4.     Consider your pet’s diet & exercise routine: Pet obesity can lead to extensive health problems as your pet ages, make sure you know how much activity your pet needs!

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5.     Make sure your home is safe for your pet: whether you have a new pet or have had pets for years, pet-proofing is important! Many everyday objects (medicines, food, pesticides, and some plants) that can prove poisonous to our pets.

Grooming with Balance, Symmetry, and Style

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

What exactly does this mean in the wonderful world of dog grooming and showing dogs? In both worlds, I have had the privilege to see many beautiful and fancy dogs of all varieties, sizes, and breeds.  The trims on many breeds are getting quite fancy, and even straying away from the breed standard.  Let’s face it, hair in the right places can camouflage even the worst faults.  In the dog show world, judges are being forewarned to “look beyond the hair” and to put their hands on the dog and feel for the fault.  However, in the grooming world, if we can camouflage a serious fault and make the dog look more structurally correct, our clients love it! And we should do just that!

However, even when we are camouflaging a fault (like a bad front or rear), the trim should still exemplify some balance and symmetry.  In order to achieve balance and symmetry, every hair does not have to be the same length, and the front and the back do not have to be identical.  However, the front portion of the dog and the rear portion of the dog need to balance each other out. Don’t be afraid to step back and take a look at the dog.   Is it too top heavy? Does it have so much hair on the front half compared to the back half?  Does it look like the dog is going to fall forward because it has so much hair? It is always a good idea to stand back and take a good hard look on every dog that you groom.  Can the dog move without the front and back legs touching? Develop an eye for these little things and train your eye to understand balance.  Maybe even snap a picture of the profile with your phone.  Even if you are not doing a show trim, which most of the time you won’t be, use the same set of guidelines and rules for pet trims.  Just because you “only groom pets”, doesn’t mean that you can’t make little changes leaving more hair in some places than in others to hide a fault. Try to groom the dog to breed standard but much shorter so it is easier to maintain.  After all, you are an artist! Take a few extra minutes and make the dog look fantastic.  This will set you apart from other pet stylist in your area.  This will help you drive repeat business and get referrals.  Stepping up your grooming a notch and continue to strive to improve and learn.  That’s what it is all about. Happy grooming!