SEARCHING FOR A NEW GROOMER
Be sure when searching for a new groomer that you ALWAYS check out the facility FIRST before booking your
dog. If it is dirty (and I am not just talking hair on the floor from a dog that was just groomed or is still on the table)
or you get bad vibes from the place then turn around and leave. If you see a bunch of dogs just running freely around the
place with no supervision and they are NOT the groomers own dogs then I would also turn around and leave. If you see the groomers
turn around and leave a dog on the table unsupervised, then that is your cue to run away. This puts dogs at serious risk for
injury or even death. Remember always trust your gut.
Here are some questions to ask a prospective new groomer. Remember to tell her that you are looking for
a new groomer and so you have some questions you would like to ask. Always be polite, it will put the groomer at ease, especially
as she answers your questions.
1- How long have you been a groomer?
I would stay away from a groomer that has been grooming for 1 year or under, unless they have been grooming
under another groomer as an apprentice. It is not uncommon for a newby groomer to make some serious mistakes. Really and truly
a groomer should never been working out on their own without having first been an apprentice under a professional groomer
or grooming academy.
2- How were you trained? Have you had hands on grooming experience?
You can also ask about accreditation if you wish, however remember that in the US you do not have to be
a licensed groomer to be legal. To me someone just picking up a book and buying some equipment and then calling themselves
a groomer is NOT a groomer. Neither is some one that goes to a class for a week or two and has not had any hands on experience
3- Do you have a current business license?
If a groomer is working out of a shop then they should clearly have their business license posted on their
wall where everyone can see it. Also mobile groomers should also have a business license and should be able to produce it
upon demand. You will notice that some groomers will groom small time out of their house. Many of these groomers are ones
that have been in a shop and have semi-retired or have decided to down size may not have a business license. Truth be told
they really should as they are still operating as a business. It would depend upon how that groomer answered my questions
as to whether I would feel comfortable with them grooming my dog.
4- Have you had experience grooming my breed? If so what experience have you had?
No every groomer has had experience with every breed as some breeds are rare and you just do not see many
in that area. However, the groomer should have sufficient experience with your breed as to know what different cuts are available
for your breed. A groomer that can only do a shave down (and not very well at that) and has NO experience with fancier cuts,
is not a groomer you want to be going to. Some groomers specialize in certain breeds and do a nice job with them.
5- Do you have any pictures of your grooming that I could see?
This is the type of groomer you want to find.
You will notice in most shops that groomers are very proud of their grooming jobs, so they will have pictures
up on the walls of many dogs that they have done. Usually before and after pictures. Take a good look that will help you get
a good idea of how well the groomer can groom. If there are not any pictures displayed then ask to see some. A groomer that
does not have examples of their work for you to see is also not a groomer I would want to use.
6- May I look at your facility?
If a groomer does not take you for a tour, then something is up. Turn around fast and do not come back.
7- What provisions do you have for my dog after she is done with grooming while she waits for me to pick
Most groomers have what are called a bank of kennels. These are a whole unit of kennels that are stacked
on top on one another. Some are large and some are small. They should ALWAYS be clean! Some groomers will have stacked Vari
kennels. This too is a normal thing and they too should be clean. Some groomers will use the Vari kennels as drying kennels.
There is nothing wrong with that.
It is always best to hurry back to your dog either after being called and told the dog is done or coming
on time when given a time to pick the dog up. You will be sure to keep your groomer happy if you do not make your groomer
wait for you. They may be busy and having to babysit someones dog is not always fun. Some groomers too are limited on space
so you need to pick up your go as fast as you possibly can.
8- Do you use heated dryers? If so are they on timers?
Heated dryers can be very dangerous. They can cause heatstroke on a dog while drying even in the dead cold
of winter. Heated dryers should only be left on a dog for 15 minutes at a time for the dogs safety. It is not yet law that
a heated dryer is on a timer but they are working on it. There have been many deaths over the last few years from groomers
carelessly leaving a heated dryer on a dog. Forced air dryers are most the time non-heated, they do however warm up a bit
from the motor so its not like you are drying a dog with ice cold air.
9- Do you cage dry the dogs or table dry the dogs?
Many groomers will cage dry a dog while they work on another dog. This is perfectly fine as long as the
groomer pays attention and does not have too many dogs going at once. However for some breeds such as the poodle its better
if they are hand dried on the table to give them that, slick and fluffy look.
10- Will you be working on my dog all the way through or do you work on more than one dog at a time?
Working on more than one time is very common in big grooming shops. Once again this is fine IF the groomer
is paying attention and not tied up in too many dogs.
11- How long will it take you to do my dog?
In a big grooming shop where they are working on more than one dog at a time it may take a bit longer than
in a small shop where they do not do many dogs. You also have to realize that if you dog is horribly dirty and possibly matted
that it will take longer for the groomer to finish your dog. It should not take longer than 3 hours to do a dog, unless issues
arise, such as heavy matting. If the groomer is going to have to take longer then they need to let you know. Remember too
that if you are asking for a show cut or a fancy cut that it may take a while for the groomer to do all the scissoring needed.
I personally like to take my time doing something fancy so have been known to take up to the 3 hours to do a groom job. If
you are having a groom done before going to a dog show, do not be surprised if the groomer spends even more time than 3 hours
on the job. They want to have a good name for themselves and want to impress the judge with their grooming. It is the rare
instance that you will run into a groomer that is a show groomer. Expect to pay extra for a groomer of this caliber.
12- Do you have a grooming book with pictures of my breed with different cuts so I can pick one out?
A groomer that does not have a book handy for these instances is NOT a groomer you want to mess with.
13- Do you require a dog to have current vaccinations?
Here too a groomer that does not require proof of a dogs vaccinations to come into their shop is NOT a groomer
to be dealing with.
14- What do you do if a dog bites you? Do you muzzle dog that bite?
Do not be offended if a groomer reports a serious bite to animal control. Truly by law every bite, whether
serious or not, should be reported. Also do not be offended if a groomer muzzles your dog if they are snarly and act as if
they want to bite. This is for the protection of the groomer. This also protects your dog. If a groomer has to worry about
getting bitten and does not muzzle the dog, they are then distracted and can nick or cut your dog.
15- How much do you charge?
This is always a very important question. If they are charging more than the average grooming shop in the
area then they better be pretty special. So you want to check and see what is the average rate for your breed and size of
dog around your area. Groomers that charge too little you want to be wary off too. These are often groomers that are new and
16- What is included in your grooming for the price?
A good groomer will do the anal glands, pluck the hair from the ears and or clean the ears, bathe, and clip
the toenails all for the price they mentioned. If the groomer does not do these things then how much are they to add them.
If they do not do these things at all, find another groomer. These are items that should be done each time your dog is groomed
and any good groomer should be doing them.
Some groomers out there do some extras like teeth cleaning. Do not expect all groomers to do this as this
is truly something your vet should be doing, as a dog should really be knocked out to do a good job and not get bitten. Some
groomers do little extras like bandannas and bows and nail painting. Others will charge extra.
17- Is all your work done by the clippers or do you do finish scissoring?
A dog that is not finished by scissoring will not look as they should. Its the finishing work that makes
the dog look...well....finished. Otherwise you will see a lot of stray hairs sticking out. A groomer who can not do the scissor
work is not really a groomer.
18- What do you do in case of an emergency and you can not reach me?
Your groomer should have you sign a waiver saying that should an accident occur,that they have your permission
to get your dog to the vet immediately for any needed care. Your groomer should also take full responsibility for any accident
that occurs, both legally and monetarily.
If you run into a groomer that nicks your dog, burns your dog, or injures your dog in ANY way and does not
tell you, then by all means do NOT return to that groomer.
Often times a groomer may tell you that your dog has an medical issue that they think should be looked at
by a vet. Please do not take offense to this. Some groomers have a lot of knowledge of dogs and may notice something that
you have not previously. I often notice on small breed dogs that I am grooming that they have luxating patellas (popping knee
caps). This is a serious issue that need to be addressed by a vet. Sometimes a groomer will run across a new lump or bump
on your dog. Sometimes these can be cancerous tumors. The groomer is doing right by the dog in letting you know. If you already
know then just tell the groomer thanks politely and that it is being taken care of. These things are never meant to insult
you or your precious baby but just to inform you.
THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR GROOMER BEFORE HAVING YOUR DOG GROOMED
1- It is very important before having your dog groomed that you know just what you want to have done. Having
a picture of the cut that you want done to show the groomer is always GREAT! If you do not want the groomer to take liberties
with your dogs do, then do the research. Your groomer will thank you. I personally have been known for some of my creative
work and so people have always given me a lot of license to do what I wish with a groom. However I have never been fond of
people coming in and just say to me "Oh I don't know, just make them cute." Many clients that do this are NOT happy with the
end results as it was not what they had in mind. So PLEASE be specific.
2- If your dog has any allergies to shampoos, conditioners, sprays, or cologne, then PLEASE let the groomer
3- As with #2 above, if YOU have any allergies to the above that will effect you by what your groomer uses
on your dog, then PLEASE let the groomer know.
4- If you know your dog is difficult and could possibly bite, then PLEASE let the groomer know.
5- If you do not want bows or bandannas on your dog, let your groomer know.
Many groomers do these things as an extra special finishing touch.
6- If you have a cell phone please make sure that the groomer has the number to get a hold of you in case
7- If you are going to be late picking up your dog, PLEASE let the groomer know.
We know that you can not always plan this ahead of time but if you have a cell phone you can always call
and let the groomer know.
8- If your dog has especially sensitive skin and burns easily, PLEASE let the groomer know.
9- If your dog has special medical issues such as epilepsy, diabetes, heart condition, luxation patellas
(popping knee caps), hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, etc., PLEASE let the groomer know.
10- If your dog has any lumps, bumps, warts, tumors, or open wounds, PLEASE let the groomer know and tell
them where they are located.
This will help prevent any further injuries to the area.