How to Choose a Dog Groomer


  Choosing the Right Dog Groomer

Choosing a Dog Groomer for your dog should be more than just looking in the yellow pages, finding a number and asking for a price. There are certain things that you should look for and questions that your should ask before placing your dog in their care.

The first step is to actually decide what it is that you require from a dog groomer. You need to find a groomer that can deliver the kind of service that you want and provide your dog with the type of haircut that that you would like for it to have. First and foremost though you want to choose a Groomer that you know will keep your dog safe.

The vast majority of individual dog owners have no real concep
 t for the difficulties involved in grooming a dog or the associated safety risks. First you need to understand that grooming requires a human to use extremely sharp metal instruments on an animal that has absolutely no concept of the danger or risk involved with moving at the wrong moment. Even the most diligent, careful and experienced dog groomer will have accidents from time to time, usually puppies, intolerant older dogs, hyperactive, and untrained dogs will pose the greatest challenge and be at the greatest risk for injury. Ask you groomer how they handle these types of dogs, do they have more than one individual available to help keep a fidgety dog still? Do they use muzzles? Etc. 

Always insure that your are honest with the groomer that you choose, if you know that your dog has tendency to bite, or nip during certain procedures tell the groomer. If your dog is exceptionally sensitive to having certain areas of it’s body touched or has medical conditions tell the groomer. By forgetting to mention these things you are doing your dog more harm than good, and not allowing the groomer the opportunity to prepare for these situations by altering their technique or using different methods to prevent your dog from being injured.

Also a good Groomer will always inform
  you if your dog received even the smallest nick or cut while in their care when you pick the dog up. Don’t hastily rush to judgment about how it happened and allow the groomer to explain the situation preceding the incident in its entirety. Remember dogs unlike humans don’t just sit there and smile while being groomed, so accidents can happen. If the groomer is honest and explains the situation show some forgiveness and understand that they have a tough job and that your dog may have just moved at the wrong time.




Visit a More than One Groomer


You also want to insure that you visit several of the grooming shops in your area prior to choosing one to care for your dog. Don’t just browse through the phone book and make a reservation based on the size of an ad. Choose a time such like 10 or 11 a.m. when the majority of grooming shops are at their busiest and drop in to make your reservation, this gives you the opportunity to see how they operate. Ideally you want to show up at a time when dogs are being groomed so you can casually observe their methods and decide if they are treating their current dog clients the way you expect your dog to be treated.

Also a truly professional groomer will notice a lot of items that you as an owner may have missed, it’s a good idea to think of a professional dog grooming as a mini check up. A professional groomer during the course of the groom will have to come into contact with virtually every part of your dogs anatomy. The observant and professional groomer will notice items such as the beginning of an of an ear infection, small growths or lumps, or skin and teeth problems and inform you of them when you pick your dog up. This level of professionalism gives you the chance to seek treatment before it becomes a more serious problem that could threaten the health or quality of life of your pet.

You also want to choose a groomer that’s personality is compatible with your dogs needs. If your dog is hyper or uncontrollable then choose a groomer with a calming, peaceful personality. If your dog is aggressive then choose a groomer that understands and can accept the responsibility of dealing with this type of dog.

Things to watch for when you choose your groomer

What is your first impression of the shop? Is it clean? If you are instantly bombarded by the smell of urine or feces, turn around and leave. It’s not unusual for a salon to have a little doggy smell during normal business hours, you may even see some dog hair dust bunny’s roaming the halls not unusual it’s just a part of the business. Is there a strong odor of bleach or other harsh chemicals? If you don’t want to breathe it your dog probably doesn’t either. Overall you want to get the impression of cleanliness and professionalism.
Observe the way in which the handle the dogs, especially as you first enter the store. Understand that you may see a dog being physically restrained, this is not unusual and is necessary for both the safety of the dog and for the safety of the groomer, but if you observe overly rough or uncompassionate handling of the dogs leave. A good groomer will never exhibit anger or frustration toward a dog for it’s behavior, a professional remains calm so as not to escalate the situation and only uses the amount of force necessary to keep the animal and groomer safe during the process.

Are there any unattended dogs on grooming tables? If you see a dog on an elevated table with a groomers noose around it’s neck and no groomer in view, you should leave. Numerous dogs die every year by asphyxiation after hanging themselves when left unattended on a grooming table by a negligent groomer. It is acceptable for the groomer if the dog is secured by two straps one around the neck and one around the waste to take a few steps away to retrieve an item necessary for the groom, but leaving the room or becoming so focused on something unrelated to the groom that the dog is left unattended is unacceptable and raises the probability of an accident occurring.

Inquire as to what methods they use for drying pets, if they have cage dryers ask if the timers work, ask if you can see them, there have been numerous publicized incidents involving pets becoming overheated in cage dryers after being left unattended. If you see pets in a cage dryer then they should be accompanied by a bowl of water and a groomer no less than 8 feet away. A true professional and trust worthy groomer is always checking on the condition of the dog in their care.

When it comes to talking to the groomer, ask what experience they have with your breed of dog, and if they can provide the type of haircut that you desire. If have a long coated dog and ask for a price quote don’t be surprised if they cannot give you a concrete price without seeing your dog, the price will usually vary depending upon coat condition, matting, etc. If you have a shorthaired dog such as a Doberman, or Labrador Retriever they should be able to provide you with a more definitive quote on the spot. If your dog has special conditions such as allergies, or hot spot’s inform the groomer and ensure that they have medicated or hypoallergenic shampoo on hand to meet your pets needs.
If everything up to this point has felt, and looked right and you feel comfortable make your appointment.

How to show up for your Dog Grooming Appointment


On the day of your Groom ensure that you arrive on time!!!!, Professional Grooming Shops with Good Dog Groomers are generally busy and they have a schedule based on the reservations they have made.  Even being 10 minutes late means that your dog will push into time slot that is slated for the next arrival, and don’t be surprised if they have already moved on to grooming another dog and you will have to make another appointment or they will try and fit you in later in the day. This is a business that provides for their families and there is only so much time in a day, so groomers need to utilize every bit of it to ensure they can pay their bills.


If your pets coat is in bad condition matting, knots, dirt, debris etc. don’t expect a show quality grooming when you pick you pet up. It is entirely possible that the only course of action is to shave the dog entirely and start over from scratch maintaining the coat as it grows out. If you have a dog that is extremely matted, understand that trying to remove each individual mat by hand is extremely painful for the dog, tedious for the Groomer, expensive for you and the end result is still not going to be what you expect. Above all you want your dogs experience to be positive, not painful. A good dog groomer will tell you upfront what they can and cannot accomplish based on the condition of your dogs’ coat.

When the time comes to pick-up your pet you should get a report on how your dog acted during their groom, if not ask!. Ensure that you inspect the quality of work before you leave the shop, this is the time to make adjustments, go a little shorter etc. Don’t expect a warm reception if you call back a week later and tell the groomer you don’t think it was short enough and that they need to fix it on their dime.

Lastly be a good tipper

Grooming is a service based business and a lot of hard work, you tip your hairdresser, so tip your dog’s too!!

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Posts: 214
Another bad groomer:

Another bad groomer:

by Joanna Small, KSPR News Reporter and Photographer KSPR News 1:38 p.m. CDT, September 6, 2013 SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --

A couple is devastated after their dog died during a grooming session at a local veterinary clinic. They call it murder. It was supposed to be just a standard grooming. This dog had seen this groomer twice before. Now the groomer is out of a job and the dog is dead. At 4:30 Thursday at the Calhouns' house, it was dinner time for the early birds but nobody was hungry. That's because of an empty place under the table. That's where Darby used to sit. "I know she was a little dog, I know she's not a child, but to us she was a child," said Barbara Calhoun as she sat beside her husband, Bill.


They say what happened to their 3-and-a-half-year-old Maltese is child abuse. "She was murdered. It's hard, very hard. He's not slept, we've not slept," she said. They took Darby to the groomer on Wednesday morning but she never got groomed. "Got a call about 9 o'clock from the vet and he said Darby had been hurt, she wasn't in good condition. He told me she was on oxygen full, pulmonary contusions, and there was bruising and bleeding on the lungs," Barbara said, reading from a notepad where she jotted it down during the phone call. It wasn't until Barbara and Bill got to Spring Valley Veterinary Hospital that they learned why. "I said, 'What happened? What happened?' and the doctor said, 'Well, she was thrown against the wall.'" The groomer said Darby attacked her when she reached into the dog's cage. "I don't know exactly what happened but she tossed the dog away, evidentally with enough force to cause some pretty severe injuries," said Dr. Ted Betzen.


The Calhouns made it in time to see Darby die. "I laid down on the floor and I just screamed," Barbara said with tears running down her face as she relived it. Clinic owner Dr. Betzen says everyone at Spring Valley, including the groomer who was let go on Thursday morning, is just as devastated. "I know she felt horrible immediately. She regretted it tremendously," he said. He also says what she did was wrong. "I'm not going to condone what she did; she did overreact. You can understand it but you can't excuse it.


It's inexcusable what she did." Barbara and Bill aren't ready to forgive. At 4:30, when they were supposed to be having dinner, they instead were visiting Darby's grave. "Why, why?" they asked. "She said she feared for her life so [she] threw her, and I don't know, feared for a life from a little eight-pound dog?" The Calhouns say Darby had never bitten anyone before, and they didn't see any bite marks on the groomer, but Betzen says he did. He says she was bleeding, so much so that it got on the dog. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department, not Springfield police, handles cases like this one, but neither the Calhouns nor the clinic called them. -