Whilst some of us groom and even bathe our dogs at home ourselves, most dog owners – particularly those that own dogs with high-maintenance coats like the Shih Tzu – have a regular local dog groomer that they visit to take care of this for them.
Even if your dog is very small, bathing a dog at home and doing a good job (and not flooding the bathroom, making a huge mess or ending up dirtier than the dog started off themselves) can be a challenge. Even those of us that start dog ownership fully intending to groom and maintain our dog’s coats at home often admit defeat early on!
Dog groomers have the skills, experience and appropriate facilities to groom, bathe, clean, trim and generally attend to the coat and appearance of dogs of the vast majority of types, although not all dog groomers will groom all types of dogs, depending on their specific skills and preferences.
Not all dogs are a big fan of being groomed and some will make a huge fuss, struggling the whole time and even potentially being aggressive, and so it is fair to say that the skills and fortitude involved in being a dog groomer are commonly overlooked, and this is far from an easy – or safe – career.
If you find a dog groomer who is a great fit for your dog, that can turn them out in the way you like, handle your dog confidently and empathically and that your dog is happy with, this can make your life much easier. Many dog owners visit several different groomers before they find the right fit, and when you have found a good match, you will of course want to hold onto them.
Good dog groomers are in great demand, and often turn work away, and so they are not likely to be hugely tolerant of clients that needlessly make their lives harder or that don’t play fair. However, if you’ve not owned a dog before or aren’t sure of the norms when it comes to dealing with a dog groomer as a professional service provider, there are a few mistakes and misapprehensions you might inadvertently be making with your groomer without realising it.
With this in mind, this article will provide six gentle pointers on things to avoid doing if you want to keep your dog groomer. Read on to learn more.
When your book your dog in with the groomer, make sure you’re on time dropping them off and that you arrive to collect your dog promptly at the time your groomer asks you to. Dog groomers are not dog sitters, and they won’t have the time and likely, room to accommodate dogs long after they’re finished and are awaiting collection.
Being late to collect your dog without letting your groomer know or thinking that a trip to the grooming parlour includes free daycare are two of the fastest ways to ensure your groomer won’t take an appointment from you in the future.
One of the biggest pet peeves from dog groomers is people who drop their dogs off without taking them to do their business first! Being told that the dog needs the loo when your turn up is apt to get a black mark against your name because if you know this then you should have dealt with it; but even worse is not saying anything, leaving the dog making a fuss and needing to be taken out or having an accident.
Also, don’t assume that the groomer will have a toileting area either; find somewhere on the way to let your dog do their business.
If you know or even suspect that your dog might not be tolerant of grooming – whether they might be very nervous or outright aggressive – you must tell your groomer. Remember that a dog that is scared can be more dangerous than one that is actually aggressive, and you have a duty to your groomer to be honest and very specific about what they might expect from your dog.
In all but the most extreme situations (which may mean your dog will need to be sedated by the vet in order to be groomed when this is essential) your groomer will have the tools, restraints and skills to handle a snappy dog safely.
As long as you tell your groomer what to expect in advance, the chances are that they’ll appreciate this and be happy to see your dog again. Leave them in the dark and put them at risk, and you’ll be lucky to get another appointment in the future.
Don’t wait until your dog’s coat is in a terrible state before booking an appointment
Waiting until your dog’s coat is filthy, matted and flea-ridden before booking them into the groomer won’t mean that you get great value for money – it will mean that the process will be longer and potentially, more stressful for your dog, and that the groomer is apt to charge you a premium.
You’ll probably also be charged a supplemental fee for dealing with a flea infestation, in order for the groomer to treat their premises after your dog leaves. Also, your groomer might not take an appointment from you again.
Telling your groomer that you want a show-quality clip on your dog is fine, but if your dog doesn’t have the right coat length, quality or texture for this, they can’t perform miracles.
Show-winning dogs have top quality coats, and not all dogs of the same breed share them, so manage your expectations and be clear about what can be achieved if your groomer tells you that something might not be possible.
Don’t expect your groomer to read your mind!
Being very vague about what you want your groomer to do is very unhelpful for them, because whether you realise it or not, you probably have a picture in mind of what you want your dog to look like and your groomer won’t stand a chance of attempting it if they don’t know what it is.
If you really aren’t sure what is best or what the norm is for your dog’s breed and type, let your groomer know and ask for suggestions, which you can either then agree with or request changes to.
However, if you’re very vague or just ask your groomer to “do whatever they think is right,” then be prepared to accept the end result without a fuss!