Some dogs love going to the groomers while others fear it. Being a bit frightened in the grooming salon is understandable with the loud noises from clippers, blow dryers and other dogs.
A reputable groomer will take the time to ensure that your pooch’s grooming session in their salon is as calm and comfortable as possible. While an inept or rough groomer could further frighten your pooch or, even worse, hurt them - so it is important that you find a groomer who is skilled, gentle and patient with dogs.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
- Ask your pooch parent friends as well as people you meet while walking your dog or visiting the dog park - people are usually willing to share their experiences, especially if you complement their dog’s new ‘do’.
- Ask your Veterinarian or Vet Nurse – they will have a good knowledge of local groomers and will also warn you about any groomers which have been known to injure pets.
- Other industry experts you could ask include your local: doggy day care, pet store and kennel.
- Use Google and Facebook to find nearby grooming salons and then read the reviews. Bear in mind that grooming salons are often small businesses, so don’t hold it against them if they don’t have many reviews – quality reviews are more important that the quantity of reviews.
Once you have found a potential groomer give them a call and ask to pop around to meet them and check out the facilities. If they balk at this, you should probably cross them off your list. Even though they’re often very busy, a reputable groomer should welcome a facility tour.
The two main things to look out for when you visit a potential salon:
- The cleanliness of the facilities - the last thing you want is for your dog to pick up a skin infection. Of course there will be some mess i.e. fur on the floor around a dog being groomed or a super-anxious/un-housetrained dog may have eliminated – just look out for prompt clean-ups.
- The groomer’s demeanour and the energy in the salon - is it relatively calm or is it a total madhouse? Of course there will be some barking, but is the groomer friendly and calm and, in general, are the other dogs happy?
If it is your first time in a grooming salon, don’t be alarmed by the ‘grooming noose’ – these are used by many groomers to help restrain a dog on the grooming table and are perfectly safe as the loop only tightens to a pre-set extent, which means a struggling dog won’t actually be choked. However, dogs should never be left unattended while restrained.
Once you find a groomer for your pooch, they will hopefully form a strong bond with the groomer and look forward to being pampered. That’s why it is important to always trust your intuition when selecting a groomer for your pooch.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE GROOMER:
- What services do they provide and what are the prices?
- What training and experience do they have?
- Talk about the style you would like for your pooch or ask what style they think would be appropriate for your dog – does it sound like they know what they’re talking about?
- Do they have any rules or restrictions for taking on new clients?
- Do they give dogs bathroom and play breaks during the groom?
- How do they respond if a dog struggles, growls or snaps while being groomed? You don’t want to hear anything along the lines of ‘we show them who is boss’ because aggressive, confrontational responses are likely to make matters worse and could worsen the dog’s response to future grooming. The best response would mention gentleness, giving the dog a break or distracting with treats.
- Do they have a pet first aid qualification? Accidents can happen, even if you have been taking your dog to the same groomer for years. A good groomer will make sure your dog receives appropriate medical care and they should notify you immediately.
- What grooming products do they use and are they made with quality ingredients? Many groomers are more than happy for you to provide shampoo to use on your dog during the groom – this can give you peace of mind that a product you are happy with is being used on your pooch, especially if they have sensitive skin. Groomer’s margins are often quite tight, so they may not use high quality products with nice fragrances (another reason to provide your own shampoo). Pampered Pooch supplies professional groomers bulk products, so if you groomer is interested please tell them to email us: email@example.com.
A GOOD GROOMER SHOULD HAVE QUESTIONS FOR YOU TOO, SUCH AS:
- How old is your dog?
- Has your dog been to a groomer before?
- Does your dog have any sore spots, injuries or health issues?
- Does your dog have any problems with sight or hearing? (Dogs who can’t see or hear well may startle easily).
- What shape are your dog’s teeth in?
- How does your dog cope with having various body parts handled, including their paws and ears?
- Is your dog crate trained?
- How is your dog around other dogs?
If you have a new puppy, it is important to take them to the groomer at an early age to get them comfortable with both the groomer and the salon experience. Their first time at a grooming salon will set the tone for how they feel about the grooming process for the rest of their lives, so try and ensure it is a calm and enjoyable experience. Your groomer may suggest keeping their first visits short and sweet i.e. just a gentle bath and a sniff around.
My mum's dog, Bijou, was terrified on his first and second visits to the groomer but on his third visit he was so chilled he even had a snooze on the grooming table!
The cost of a groom depends on the dog’s size and coat type as well as the amount of time it is likely to take to carry out the groom. A groomer may also charge extra if a dog comes in with severe matting as it is very challenging and time consuming to clip. Pricing may seem high, but if you understood the amount of time, work and patience a groomer puts in, you wouldn’t think so! Typically, a groom takes two – four hours from the time a pooch arrives in the salon. Groomers are usually extremely busy, so please be considerate of their time – arrive on time and if you need to cancel an appointment, do so as soon as possible.
KNOW A GREAT GROOMER?
If you would like to recommend a groomer, feel free to do so in the comments. And if you would like your groomer to use Pampered Pooch grooming products, please get them to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.