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It goes without saying that it takes a lot of careful handling to
groom your dog in the proper fashion. You need to take the right
precautions around sharp and dangerous implements like electric
clippers and scissors, apart from a host of other things. A dog
groomer will bathe your pet in soapy water and rinse him
thoroughly. You cannot just trust anybody to do that job. Here
are a few tips to choose the perfect groomer:
Ask around – Talk to your dog’s vet, neighbor,
and kennel manager. If you notice a dog on the street with a
style that you particularly like, ask the owner about where he
got his pet groomed. People love to talk about their pets. Some
vets have a policy not to refer their clients to a breeder or
groomer. Do not despair. Make your questions more specific and
ask the vet as to whether he/she has treated problems from a
particular groomer, like clipper abrasions or cuts. If your vet
has had a lot of complaints from a particular groomer, then
that is a sure-fire sign that you need to look further.
Call the groomer that you are interested in –
Grill your groomer thoroughly. Ask them whether they
apprenticed with a professional or went to a grooming school.
Ask them about their experience and inquire if they are part of
a professional organization. There is a National Dog Groomers
Association and a lot of the states have their own local
Ask for certification – A lot of states
require groomers to be certified and licensed in tick/flea
applications. So make sure you get a good look at his/her
certification. Better be safe than sorry.
Be patient – You need to remember that
groomers are usually on very tight schedules. If they do not
have the time to answer your questions, ask them the
appropriate time for a callback. It is hard to answer questions
when they are fluff drying some dog. Develop a good rapport
with your dog’s potential groomer and get an overall
impression. If everything goes well, it will be a good
Trust your instincts – All you need to do is
ask around to find answers to most of the questions you have.
Going to a new groomer for the first time can be quite a
disconcerting experience. If you do the right research though,
you can place the trust in the groomer and you will see the
results for sure. Then you can pamper yourself just the way you
pampered your dog.
If your dog is anxious or scared when you take him to the
groomer, you need to pay another visit to the pet to figure out
the underlying cause of his anxiety. Once you treat that with
medication and behavioral modification, you are all set to give
it another shot.
How to Find Good Dog Groomers
Let's face it, some dogs require more
grooming to stay looking their best, and you may not
have the time or skill to do it all. A lot of people use dog
groomers to help with the more difficult aspects of grooming,
such as haircuts, baths, drying, and nail
clipping, but if you're going to spend the money on a groomer,
you should also spend some time choosing a good groomer who's
right for your dog.
The best way to start a search is by asking around: talk to your
friends, veterinarian, and shelters to get recommendations. You
can also try asking owners you meet in the dog park -- if their
pooch is looking stylish they should be happy to recommend their
groomer. Once you have a shortlist of potential groomers, the
next step is to ask some questions.
Keep in mind that groomers' schedules can be tight, so try to
schedule a time to ask your questions. While you may not be able
to ask about everything before your first appointment, you can
learn about your groomer over a couple of visits and, if needed,
shift to another who better meets the needs of you and your dog.
Grooming services come in all forms, so you can't expect to get
the same service wherever you go. It's important to ask informed
questions and have your expectations and needs in mind.
Questions to ask in advance:
1. Have you worked with my
breed of dog before?
Different kinds of dogs require very different grooming
techniques. If your groomer has experience with your breed,
they'll have a better approach to the process. When you go in for
an appointment, you can also get a sense of how comfortable they
seem to handle your dog — it's important for the groomer and dog
to build a bond to make the experience less stressful. Grooming
is easier if your dog is calm and cooperative.
2. How is payment structured
and what is included in the groom?
Grooming can be expensive, especially for larger
dogs with thicker coats. Some grooming sessions may only
include a haircut or wash and dry, but toenail clipping and
careful ear cleaning are important too. Before you get started,
get a quote and make sure you know what is included.
3. When and where will you
groom my dog?
Grooming can happen in many different locations, depending upon
the groomer. Some commercial salons, often in vet offices or pet
stores, require you to bring your pet in and may have a staff of
groomers (so you may not get the same groomer every time). The
upside is that these often have more flexible hours to work with
your schedule, and may still include experienced and qualified
groomers. Other groomers are “mobile,” bringing a van or supplies
to your home, which can mean added convenience for you and
possibly less stress for your dog.
4. How long have you/the staff
been grooming and did you go to grooming school?
Not all groomers are formally trained, but this is not a problem
if they went through an apprenticeship with a knowledgeable
groomer. Even if they didn't go to grooming school, years of
experience can make a difference, and knowing their background
can inform your decision.
5. Are you certified or a
member of a local or national dog grooming association?
While there isn't a nationally recognized certification for
groomers, some states require certification in flea
and tick application or general grooming. If the groomer
is a member of an association, they are more likely to be keeping
up with refresher workshops and classes and have an interest in
becoming a better groomer.
6. Can you do breed-standard
grooming or accommodate my styling preferences?
If you have a pure breed or are interested in showing your dog, your
groomer search will take a lot more work. If you have special
requests for the way your dog is groomed, the groomer should be
able to accommodate these. While it's important to respect their
judgment when it comes to health or safety issues, it's your dog,
so you should be able to decide what they look like!
7. Can I come for a short tour
of your facility?
You should be able to see where your dog will be groomed before
you make an appointment. When you see the grooming area, you'll
get an idea of how clean and well-maintained it is, see how the
groomer interacts with other pets, and maybe have a chance to
talk with current customers about their experiences.
8. What information do you need about my
A good groomer should ask for vaccination history, and maybe even
medical history to ensure that dogs coming in won't bring
diseases to infect other animals. They should also ask you about
any skin conditions to use the appropriate shampoo to avoid
Questions to ask during your first few visits:
9. How do you handle accidents
Grooming requires the use of some dangerous implements, so there
is always a possibility for injury. Find out what your groomer's
accident and emergency policies are, and bring contact
information for your vet or pet hospital.
10. How often should my dog
get a bath?
Not all dogs have the same bathing schedule: it depends on a
number of factors such as age, breed, lifestyle, and medical
conditions. You may already know when it's time to go to make an
appointment, but your groomer can help you set a general schedule
to avoid bathing too often or getting caught with a smelly
11. How much maintenance
should I do at home, between appointments?
Your groomer can recommend the best ways to keep Fido pretty
between visits, and a little bit of maintenance at
home (brushing, removing mats) may also save you
grooming fees. Groomers may also be able to recommend certain
foods or diets particularly good for your breed's coat.
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