About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesdays Tip #4

Today is a quick tip.

Today was a busy day.
My daughter Jessica got the call a week early to pick up her new Bichon puppy.
We spent the day making a round trip to Pennsylvania to pick up 8 week old 'Cooper'.

My tip today is about scissoring faces very short.
Some dogs are great for holding their heads still while scissoring around the eyes and mouth.
Then you have those dogs that like to twist their heads back and fourth or up and down.
When you are trying to scissor or clip a very short face there is nothing to hold on to.

This is what I try to do.
I say try because sometimes I forget to use my own trick with these dogs and it ends up taking me twice as long to scissor the face.

I leave a little goatee on the chin till the very last so that I will have something to hold on to while scissoring the face.
This helps me when I have something to hold on to as long as the dog your working on does not decide to constantly yank their head out of my hold and leave a chuck of hair behind.
If they keep doing that, there may not be any hair left in that goatee to hold.

It has always amazed me that a dog would rather yank their head away so hard, leaving hair behind in my hand or fingers, then just hold still for a few minutes.

After I have everything on the face scissored, I scissor off the goatee.

I hope this little tip helps with some of your dogs.

Oh, would you like to see 'Cooper'?

Is that the cutest face ever?
Aren't all puppy's cute?

Would you say my daughter likes Bichons?
These are her kids.
'Zoey' 13 years old, 'Bentley' 2 1/2 years old, and 'Cooper' 8 weeks.

Happy Grooming, MFF

One of my Favorites

I was going through my pictures and thought that I would talk about one of my favorite customers.
I took a series of pictures of 'Princess' awhile back to put on my shops Facebook page.
Whenever I get a chance, I pick one of my customers and take pictures of them being groomed, then I put their grooming session on Facebook.
It gives my customers a chance to see their dog being groomed.
I thought that today I would show 'Princess's' grooming.

It's funny how some things change over time.
When I first started grooming, Cockers were one of my least favorite dogs to groom.

A lot of the Cockers that I groomed in the 80's were mean.
They were biters.
They had a bad reputation in the grooming world.

Over the years, I have groomed a hand full of very sweet Cockers.

'Princess' here is one of the sweetest.
I have been grooming her for a long time.
She is starting to show her age.

She is still as sweet as ever.

I used to hate drying Cockers also.
They took forever to dry.
I felt like I could never get their hair nice and straight with that darn stand dryer.
Of course that is because their hair would curl and kink up under the cage dryer.

When was the first HV invented?

I saw my first HV Dryer at Intergroom a year after grooming school, in 1985.

If only the man selling them had been a better salesman, I may have saved my wrists years ago.

I remember the man pulling me aside and turning on this very loud thing that looked like a vacuum cleaner.
He pointed the hose towards me and told me to put my hand in front of it.
I did.
It blow my hand right back at me, and I smacked my leg with my own hand.
The salesman said; "Just imagine how fast you could dry a dog?"
I stood there shocked.
I was still a newbie.
All I could imagine was, a little Yorkie or Poodle blown across the room.
They did not demonstrate it being used.
I didn't give that dryer another thought.
What a fool I was.
A close minded fool.
I could have been using a HV Dryer 11 years sooner!
It wasn't until I attended a Romani seminar at Hershey, that I learned how to truly use a HV Dryer.
Boy, had I been close minded for too long.

When I was in grooming school, we were taught to clip all Cockers with a #10 or #15 on the back.

I haven't used a #10 or #15 blade on a Cockers back in 23 years.

'Princess' gets a #7F on her back.
She gets a #4F on her back in the winter, Mom likes it a little longer.

She gets a #7F against the grain on the top of her head.
A #15 on the outside of the ears.
A #30 on the inside of the ears.

 When I was in Grooming School we also clipped Cocker faces, only, with a #10 blade.
I have found that a #10 or #15 looks really nice on some Cocker faces, but not all Cocker faces.

I like using a #7F against the grain on 'Princess's' cheeks and chin.
I work the blade up towards the muzzle and blend in around the start of the lip line.
I hope that made scene.
From the nose back towards the eye, I use a #15 setting on my cordless clipper.

I hope this helps show what I am trying to say.

Each cocker is different, so I may change this method up a little depending on the thickness of the hair.

I don't get any blade tracks clipping my Cocker faces this way. Blade tracks drive me crazy.

I love this Cocker.

She is one of those dogs you would not think twice about taking home with you.

'Princess's' Mom is an elderly woman that takes wonderful care of her dog.

The only place that I have ever found a mat on 'Princess' is under her arms.
Those mats are only there because of her harness.

'Princess's' Mom likes the Cocker look, but wants it on the shorter side.

If only all of my dogs stood on the table like 'Princess'.
She never moves unless I ask her to.
She knows my whole routine.

Princess's Cut:

Body: Cocker Style #7F
Legs: Clip lightly with a 5/8th blade and scissor to shape
Skirt & Chest: Clip lightly with a 5/8th blade, scissor and thin to blend. Round off bottom of skirt into belly.
Belly: clip from just behind the front legs down to the back legs with a #4F.
Ears: owner likes ears clipped 1/2 way down with a #15 on the outside of the ears, #30 on the inside. Scissor a 1/4 of an inch off. 

I could groom 10 'Princess's' in a day and it would be a wonderful day.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sleeping dogs

One of my goals as a groomer is to make the grooming process as comfortable as possible for the dogs.
I want the dogs to like coming to see us.
I know that I can not get all of them to like being groomed, but I do have a lot of my four legged customers run in my door happy to see me.
I am very proud of that.

I also like them to feel relaxed during the groom.
Sometimes I think that I make them too relaxed.

Puppies for instance.
They are always falling asleep on me.

Puppies like to fall asleep after their first grooming.

I love to watch them sleep.

A puppy sleeping is one of the cutest things ever.

They even fall asleep standing up.

It's not only the puppies that fall asleep on me.

The old timers do too.

A lot of them fall asleep under the dryer.

Some just pretend to be asleep hoping you will forget that they are there.

Some fall asleep because they are tired of standing and decide to take a nap while they wait for you to finish drying them.

Some dogs just all out lay flat and start snoring.

Don't worry, this old guy was just sleeping even though he looked dead to the world.

He really liked the dryer.


I think this guy was just pretending to sleep while he was trying to decide how to escape.

Some dogs try to take a nap, but that darned old groomer keeps making them stand back up.

I think that some of the dogs could sleep the day away on my table.

I even seem to put the cats to sleep.

 They sleep while clipping out mats.

They sleep while being combed out.

Some cats are so used to coming to me for a combout, that they just sack out on the table while I work on them.

Sometimes I feel like letting them sleep on my table and just sit there with them in that peaceful moment.

I'd like to lay my head down next to them, petting them, and soak up the love they so freely give.

Happy Grooming, MFF

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Old Timers

Grooming the old dogs.
Boy, have I groomed some old dogs.

One of the oldest dogs I ever groomed was a Shepard mix that someone had brought in for a bath.
The dog was 20 years old, and she looked it.
I was still new to grooming when she came into my shop.
I had only been grooming 3 years, and had just opened my shop.
Back then most dogs stayed all day.
That was the way I had been taught at grooming school.

I made an exception when this women walked in.
The owner had not told me that the dog was 20 years old when she made the appointment.
Now, you must understand, since I opened my shop around the time the Stone Age started, that I used stand dryers and cage dryers.
HV dryer....what's that?

New groomer or not, at least I had the common sense to tell this owner that I would call her the minute her dog was finished and ready to go home.
You better believe that I got that dog in the tub first thing.
I had that old girl bathed, dried and ready to go home in 2 hours time.
That was unheard of back then.
The dog did great and went right to sleep to wait for her owner to pick her up.

The owner came right away to pick her up....NOT.
We called that woman every hour on the hour and left her a message to come get her dog because it was too old to stay.
That sweet dog slept all day, except for the times that we would wake her up by touching her because we could not tell if she was still breathing, she was sleeping so deeply.
This was a new customer, she did not know us from Adam.
She had know way of knowing if I was taking good care of her dog.
The owner had dropped her dog off at 8am and did not pick her up till 5pm.
I was so angry with her.
I could not believe that she left her very old dog all day and never called to check on her.
I was very happy that the dog lived through the day!

I still groom old dogs, but you better be available to pick them up when I call, unless you make other arrangements with me.

Today I groomed 'Molly'.
I have been grooming 'Molly' for a long time.
She is a Wheaten.
The older she gets, the more moody she gets.
Her mood got so bad at one point that I almost told her owners we would not be able to do her anymore.

She is 14 years old.
"Molly' bites and screams if she thinks you touched her the wrong way.
She has really bad skin and allergys.
She is now on medication for serious seizures.
She can no longer stand very well.
Her back legs vibrate.
Her owner is also allergic to everything.

'Molly' has her own shampoo from the Vet.

I hate most Vet shampoos.

'Molly' is always very dirty and the Vet shampoo just does not clean.

I use my Hypo shampoo on 'Molly' first.

I always make the water a little warmer then usual for the older dogs.
I feel that it relaxes them more and helps keep them calm.
They really enjoy the extra warm water.

'Molly' has bad crusty skin.

I let her soak a little in the bath, then I comb out the chunky loose skin.

Let me change that.
With most dogs I comb out the crusty skin while the dog is still soapy.

Then I soap them up again to finish removing all of the gooeyness the skin left behind.

I use a comb with teeth that are close together so that the teeth will grab hold of the chunky, dead skin.

'Molly' is always matted, so I use my comb to bring the dead, chuncky skin up away from the skin, since I can't comb it all of the way out.

I do this hoping that the blade will glide under the dead skin and through her hair easier.

 Then I give 'Molly' a Baking Soda Rinse and bathe her in her Vet shampoo.

I like to put some of the Vet shampoo into another bottle and add just a little water to help spread it over the dog.

I have found that most Vet shampoos are awful to spread, and do not sud up enough for me.

Tip: I have found that if I do shampoo first with my Hypo, and use the Vets shampoo as a second bath, it does sud up better.

Because 'Molly' is always matted, I do put a little Hypo Creme Rinse on her.

I finish up with another Baking Soda Rinse.

I keep old dogs covered with a towel while drying them to keep them extra warm.

I hold the towel on with a hair clip.

Sometimes I have to dry 'Molly' with a hand dryer because she gets upset with the HV dryer.

You just don't know what you are missing if you haven't ever experienced a dog have what I call a HV nervous breakdown.
It seems to happen mostly to elderly, white dogs.
They start with a slow whine that progressively gets louder, then they start to stiffen.
If you haven't turned the dryer off by now, you are in trouble.
What happens next?
They start to scream uncontrollably.

If this ever happens to you, quickly turn the dryer off, pick up the dog and start walking around and calmly talking to the dog to calm it down.
It will still be screaming!
Carrying the dog outside into fresh air almost always brings them out of their nervous breakdown.

I have not had this happen to me in a while because I always watch for the signs.
If I even think they are going to freak out on me, they get dried with the hand dryer.

Today 'Molly' let me use the HV dryer on her.

I packed her ears with cotton to muffle the sound of the dryer for her.

My dryer also has a veritable speed switch that I only turned up half way to dry 'Molly'.

The towel also kept the air from shooting up to her face and upsetting her.

I was able to get a 5/8th blade through her coat.

It was a little choppy in the places that she has the bad chunky skin and matting.

After I had clipped the mats off of her, I was able to run a fine comb through her and get the rest of the chunky, dead skin out of her hair.

This is the lovely, chunky, dead skin I was talking about.

Just thought you might like to see it.

You did want to see it didn't you?
Oh, sorry.

After some scissoring, I smoothed out most of the choppy areas.

'Molly' did so good today.
She has such a hard time standing now, her back legs are very shaky.

I have found that if I put 'Molly' straight into the tub when her owner drops her off, that she stays in a good mood.

'Molly's' owners picked her up shortly after they were called.
That is the way I like it.
The faster we can get an old dog back home the better.

I have had owners of old dogs tell me not to worry, that they won't blame me if something happens.
I always tell them...
"Bite your tongue! Not on my watch thank you!"

I have had one dog have a Heart Attack in the tub, and I don't ever want to go through that again!

Happy Grooming, MFF