Snip Tips Series! How to Get the Perfect Grooming
Tired of being disappointed when you pick your pet up from a grooming? Feel like you are not getting the most out of your pet's grooming sessions? Then you need to read this series before your next trip to the grooming salon! These little insider tips add up in a big way to help you get a grooming you and your pet are happy with every single time.
The PERFECT grooming is not a myth! It does exist. But it will take time, commitment, and a willingness to find balance between the grooming of your dreams, how that fits into your lifestyle, and what is possible with your pet. Many factors come into play; and it all begins with a great partnership between pet owners and their groomer. To help get that partnership going strong, read on…
Snip Tip* Series: Part 1
Communication is KEY:
First things first: It has to be YOU! The first, and perhaps most important, component to getting the grooming you want is for you to be the one to drop off and pick up your own pet until you and your groomer have established what you want. The first time you go to a new salon or a new groomer, there will most likely be many questions during the consultation to assess what you are looking for.
When you pick up your pet from the grooming, your additional feedback helps us to know if we have effectively given you what you are looking for or if we need to make any adjustments.
Once you have established the look that you want, you can then send someone in to drop off and pick up your baby. With one caveat: we take our orders from the person dropping off the pet. So be sure you trust whoever is dropping off your furbaby. And if at any time, you want to make changes to your pet’s grooming, you need to be the one that comes into the salon to reestablish that you are getting the new look you desire.
Grooming terms are often very different from the average pet owners’ terms. They also tend to vary from salon to salon. Some examples of this:
Many clients will come in and say, “I don’t want my dog shaved/clipped.” Or “I don’t want my dog naked/scalped/etc.” Upon further conversation with many of these clients, they actually DO want their pet “shaved”; they just want a longer cut. The tools that we use (blades) come in various sizes, to leave various lengths.
Clients will often come in and ask for a “Puppy Cut.” That requires further clarification, as well. We have found that a “Puppy Cut” can mean anything from a full “handscissored cut,” to a “complete buzz,” (and even a hybrid version with elements from each of those), depending on the client and their perception, as well as what salon they may have been to in the past! Two VERY OPPOSITE ends of the spectrum!
Be specific. While your groomer will generally guide you with questions during the consultation, be sure to mention any and all important points regarding what you like and what you don’t like. But please do be specific.
Saying that you don’t want your dog to look like a poodle (or any other breed of dog) is a very broad statement. (This is especially fun for a groomer when you actually OWN a poodle or a poodle mix! lol) While it’s important that you tell this to your groomer, you really need to clarify and help your groomer understand exactly what you mean by that statement. What does a poodle look like to you? What is it that you do not like and want to avoid? Often upon questioning a client that has made such a statement, the client is often thinking of the Continental Clip sported by Poodles during an AKC Westminster Dog Show. While there is a very good reason that that haircut was designed that way, it is not something typically requested in a pet salon setting. There have also been many other responses to our questions for clarification. So please do be as specific as possible in describing what you do and don’t like about a certain look.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Please DO bring in pictures, but realize that YOUR pet is unique and so is the one in the photograph. So if the dog in the picture has a short full head style, but your dog has sparse, wiry hair on its head, no matter how skilled your groomer is, even if they do the exact same style shown in the picture, your dog will not look anything like it.
If it is a picture of a different breed of dog then yours, you should be prepared to discuss the coat similarities or differences with your groomer and see if it is possible to achieve that style or if it can be modified for your pet’s coat.
Also, a dog’s coat changes over time due to maturity, seasonal changes, diet changes or allergy issues. Please keep this in mind if you bring in a picture of when your dog was a puppy because the texture and density of the coat most likely have changed.
Be flexible. Any groomer worth their ability to pick up a brush will always do their best to give you what you want. However, we have two clients to please: the one that pays the bill and the one that is at the other end of the leash. The client at the end of the leash ultimately determines what can and cannot be accomplished. It has been our experience that groomers get into the field because they love animals. The most important thing for us is to make grooming a pleasant, enjoyable experience. If we find that a pet is becoming uncomfortable or stressed out because they are really uncomfortable or unhappy with what we are doing, any responsible groomer will modify or stop the grooming to accommodate the pet. That may not result in the exact look you wanted. But isn’t it more important to you that your furbaby is feeling loved and pampered and enjoying their grooming?
Finally, when you pick up your pet, if there is something that you would like done differently, please let your groomer know right away. If you wanted the ears/tail shorter, please say so and your groomer will be more then happy to bring the dog back and shorten them up for you or to make a note for the next time. The same can be said if you want things left longer next time. Sometimes getting to the end result that pleases you and works best for you takes just a few adjustments.
Communicating effectively with your groomer is essential to getting what you want. Use these tips for your next grooming and you will be well on your way to being happy with all your groomings. And believe me, when our clients are happy, we are happy!
* Snip Tips are tips coming to you straight from the groomer's mouth and are gleaned from many years of experience.
For more insider tips on how to get the perfect grooming, read on to part 2 of Snip Tip Series!
*For the betterment of pet ownership and the grooming profession, author grants permission for sharing this article, provided proper credit is given to the author.
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