Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Transformations

Only one of these was actually from today, but I've been making an effort to take more before/after shots for my workplace's facebook page.  People do seem to love them.

Here is a beautiful Shih Tzu.. whose owner actually owns a brush!!!!! She has kept him in full coat, but once in a while she gets tired of the care and has me give him a haircut.  He's cute either way.

Here he is during the groom.. look at all the coat the owner won't have to brush for a while!
For the groomers reading this, I used a 5/8 blade for his body, then scissored his legs.

The finished product.  He refused to look at the camera for the "after" shot.  Brat!  He looks a bit stuck up in this one. :)

Then, we have someone who knew enough to bring a puppy in for it's 1st grooming at the right time!!  This little Westie puppy didn't need much yet, as their hair takes some time to come in.  His owner told me he was a "handful" and then told the dog "you are going to learn some lessons today!" HA!  There was no sympathy in her voice.  Sure enough, he had some Terrier attitude, but he was smart enough to quickly realize what kind of person he was dealing with.  (a stubborn one)  I think he was a a really big transformation!


Wow! Right??  I hardly took any hair off!  Terriers are almost always a really fun transformation.
I'm so relieved he came in when he did, though.  At this age, he's still more "trainable".  He gave up quickly, when I wanted him to hold still and stop biting me and the clipper.  We had a very pleasant end to his haircut, and you can bet he will remember, even if they don't come in for another 3 months.  Older puppies who have added hormones to their bag of tricks, tend to insist they are the boss.  This problem is compounded by owners giving them a very clear message that the puppies  ARE in charge.  I honestly don't care how they act when they are with their owners, but they do need to behave for me. 

I do offer advice, on how to help with behaviors at home.  Also, if a puppy is esepecially naughty about something specific, like his feet, then I have them work with the dog at home on it.  Some even take my advice!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't quit your day job.. err.. your pre-school play group...???

Today's appointment schedule was once more 50% badly matted, neglected dogs coming in for that "spring cut".. or actually "summer cut" with the warm weather we've been having. 

A regular pair of matted wonders arrived this morning.  By regular, I mean they have been coming in no more than 3 times per year, for the past 12 years.  They are always a huge mess. The owner is aware we give them one choice of haircut. We cut it all off.  It's the only choice for these curly, thick coated dogs.  This time, they came in with very uneven coats.  I barely notice.. we have many clients who try to "get by" in between grooms by hauling out the scissors.  The client thought she should explain.  "My Grandson tried to give them a haircut".  I reply, jokingly, "I see that... he should maybe keep his day job".  Deadly serious, she responds "He's 5!!"  Oh.. ok... I didn't really have much to say after that.

Why?  I don't have kids.. so maybe I'm just confused.  Do you let 5 year olds have sharp scissors?  If so.. WHY would you let a 5 year old try to give your dog a haircut???  Seems like I was just really mastering the art of cutting paper at that age.  I guess today's kids really are growing up fast. 

My take on the story?  I believe (or at least, I hope) that the owner actually did the damage.  She swiftly realized that it looked like a 5 year old did it, and wanted to explain the mess, somehow.  Who knows. 

My job just might become boring without these types of people!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why I could use a good stiff drink right now.

You guessed it.. not my most fun day at work.

Sadly.. it was one of those days that could be avoided.. if only people would become educated!!!!!!!!!!!

So, sorry to all you educated pet owners who read this blog,  I know you don't need this info, but pass it along, any time you get the chance.

This is a story of 3 dogs.  All were a huge pain in my behind today.  All could've been no problem at all, if only their owners would've brought them in for grooming as a young puppy.  A puppies first groom should be no later than 3 months old.  Even if it's just for a bath, brush and a face/feet trim.  It is the most important haircut of a dogs life.  At that age, we can work with the puppy, help them over any fears, or attitude problems they may have, before they get out of control.  Most people think that is far too young.  They would be wrong.

First we have Dog A.  Dog A, is a Miniature Schnauzer that doubles as a shark.  Anything she doesn't like about grooming, her teeth talk first, and she asks questions (or makes more demands) last.  Sadly, she  had the unlucky timing to be ready for her very first puppy groom during the winter.  Why would that be an issue??? Well, of course it is too cold to groom your puppy in the winter, so you just wait til spring.  By that time, this little darling, who was obviously already a bratty diva who runs the house, missed out on that all important 1st grooming at an age where she may have been more willing to learn something.  Oh, and did I mention that her owner never brushes her.. so that first haircut was not so fun for this puppy, she was beyond matted.  She continues to be worse each groom, and is now around two years old.  Today, I predicted that she will end up a sedate to groom.  I hope I'm wrong, but there is only so much we can do.

Then, there was Dog B.  This guy was a 2 1/2 year old Irish Setter.  A huge doofy, happy-go-lucky  boy.  Beautiful dog, at least he would've been if he had been getting proper care.  Sadly, he was extremely matted.  Worse yet?  He had never been groomed.  EVER.  Thankfully, his amiable temperament worked in my favor.  He took to the clipping and standing on a table pretty well, though he was constantly in motion.  Not too easy to get a smooth, clipper-mark free look to his coat.  I was forced to shave him, leaving only his ears and tail.  The degree of matting would've caused much pain to him, if I was to brush it out.  It's not his fault he wasn't cared for.  So, off his beautiful red coat came, and Irish Setters do NOT look cute in this cut. They are gangly and lean and leggy.  Oh well, hair grows.  This was a case of "this is my kid's dog, I'm just taking care of it while they are furthering their education". I couldn't be upset with the parent.. his adult child made the choice to buy this dog, and they were taking care of it as best they could.  He was obviously loved, a brush just needed to be applied.  Setters are notorious for being "bald" for their first year, the coat just doesn't come in until later.  This causes many owners to say "why get him groomed, he doesn't even need it".  Again, bare miminum grooming as a puppy would've helped alot. 

Then we come to Dog C.    Dog C was obtained by his owners 3 weeks ago.  He is 7 months old.  I can hardly blame them for what he missed.  He is a Miniature? or Standard? Schnoodle (mix of a Standard Schnauzer and a Mini Poodle), from our local Doodle "breeder".  Super curly coat, and tons of it.  Very sweet dog.  No self control or training.  If I thought Dog B was wild, this one made him look sleepy.  Wow!  When I spoke with them this morning the wife asked me "How do you ever keep them still?"  I replied "with alot of patience."  She just looked at me sympathetically and patted me on the shoulder.  The dog was constant motion, happy, happy puppy.  He came to me via one of our wonderful Vets, who sent me in to have a consult with them when they came in for Vet services.  They thought "that kind of dog" didn't need grooming.. they were very surprised.  An older couple, the dog's owners did take the news that they will be paying at least $55 every six weeks for the rest of their dog's life very well.  Kind of a surprise if you were told otherwise.  They also bought a brush, and a comb~!  I even believe they will use them!!  There is hope for Dog C!! 

I'd love  to see Dog B again, but since the Dad is footing the bill right now, I'm not sure if that will happen.  I'd love to make him look as beautiful as he could be with a real setter haircut.  Dog A.. well, I know there is not much hope for her, she will continue her bratty ways.

I wish I could get through to everyone who gets a new puppy.  We give free "facial trims" to any puppy under 5 months that walks in our doors to see a Dr.  Sure, I hope to get a new customer out of the deal, but at least that puppy heard my clipper, and had some training at an age when it's most important. 

A large Golden/Labradoodle (not sure which) puppy was getting walked by our boarding staff the other day, and as I watched it walk by, I said, "he better get in for grooming soon".  I was informed that his owners had been told it was important, but they declined.  They said "we like him scruffy"  We are never going to get him groomed.  This dog has a thick curly coat.  I'm sorry, maybe they are keeping the coat up now, but there WILL come a day when it gets away from them, and they will be knocking on our door, needing a haircut.  They won't want it short.. but it will have to be.   The dog will be terrified, he's never heard a clipper before.  He won't want his feet trimmed.. he's never had his hair clipped between his pads before.  Everyone suffers. Me, the poor dog, and his owner, who won't be happy with the groom, let alone the extra charge for difficulty.  Honestly.. I hope he goes somewhere else.  It all could've been avoided if they would've let us groom him once or twice.  SO FRUSTRATING. 

Even if you want to groom your own dog, I'm ok with that.  Just PLEASE let a professional do those 1st grooms.  We are faster than the average pet owner at grooming (which means your impatient pup won't have to stand still so long), we know how to hold a dog safely, and train them for grooming correctly. 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring is here!!

I know.. the calendar still says it's winter.  It might even be snowing where you are.  It snowed here today again.  Still, I know it's spring.  I've seen the signs.

Here's a sign.. Garden catalogs!  You've got to know Spring is coming when you get these in the mail!

The ice is melting on waterways...
But, here is the real reason, I know it's Spring!

Yep.. I shaved my first Golden Retriever this week.
(NO.. he's not finished!)

I know.. nobody likes seeing this.. me included.  Yet, it's a solid sign of spring around here. Soon, the even worse sign of spring will be showing up.  Dogs that have waited a full year to get their haircut.  Yuck.  With this early spring, maybe they will only wait 9 months. Time will tell.

It's been a strange, and wonderful winter here.  We have had very little snow, and warm temps all winter.  My December and January were slow as is the norm, truthfully, the weeks leading up to Christmas were a bit disappointing.  In  mid-February when the real warm stuff came we got very busy.  The temps reached 35-50 degree, that's balmy for my area.  What snow was there, turned into a sloppy wet mess on the still-frozen ground.  Nobody likes muddy wet dogs.  The clients have been streaming in, most telling us "give him the spring cut"!  Of course we still have the occasional non-believer who says "leave him long, it's still winter!"  What do they know? 

It's spring, alright.  Yesterday, I groomed so many dogs, I felt as tired afterwards as I did the week before Christmas!  I'm loving it!  It's so nice to have an early spring for once.   Of course living where I do, we could get 2 feet of snow in April, and the phones will stop ringing for a short time.   I'm going to enjoy having a decent paycheck while I can!

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's just wrong.

I really need to get something off my chest.

I'm fine with you being your dog's "Dad" or "Mom". Really, I am, it's ok.  It doesn't make me uncomfortable at all.

I do wonder about people that call their spouses or worse yet (not sure why it's worse, it just IS) their significant other by that same term of endearment.

Today it came up in a conversation with a client.

It was go home time, and I offered to help "Tootsie" into her new pink jacket, before she went out into the cold.  The female owner, probably in her 50's, said "No, it's ok, Daddy will help us".  Hmmm... I look around.. wondering who Daddy is.  He didn't come in at check in time that morning.  Oh.. here he comes.. Large bikerish (ok, bikerish may not be a word, but you know exactly of what I speak.)  guy comes out of the restroom, just in time to help Tootsie into her jacket.  Daddy.. was most definitely her husband.  NOT her Dad.  EW.  We have a few clients that talk this way.  It just makes me cringe.  Hopefully I kept it to myself.  I sometimes think (hope?) that they are insinuating that the DOG is calling their husband "Daddy".  I'm always proven wrong.  Ok. enough of that topic.  Sorry.

Just to make this blog post actually about grooming, here are some photos of my most recent humane society donation grooming.  He was bigger than I usually do for free, but what the heck, the big guy certainly needed help.  I'm always really sad when these Giant breeds are purchased by the wrong people, who just thought it would be "cool" to own a really big dog.  SURPRISE!   Once the "cute and fluffy" puppy stage is over, they eat and poop ALOT.  Oh, and they drool, and they will drag you around everywhere if you neglect to teach them some form of manners.  This guy was actually not super huge, for a male, and was very nice looking.  Sadly, he is lacking manners in a big, big way.  He was however, very sweet.  Hope the right home comes his way.

Before.. drool city and STINKY!

After:  So Handsome!