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Question about grooming, any advice would be appreciated!!!

Discussion in 'Dogs - all breeds / types' started by Leleanne, May 17, 2007.

  1. Leleanne

    Leleanne New Member

    So, every time we bring our two dogs to a professional groomer, they raise their prices. This is the third time in a row we've gone to pick them up and their price has increased about 5 dollars. We simply cannot afford it anymore! We are bringing them to a grooming school on Saturday because both of them can barely even see their hair is so long.

    The thing is, the last time we took them to the grooming school all they did was shave them both completely bald for summer. It wasn't bad because it was hot, but Jack hid behind his paws for three days! He looked like a lab puppy and he is a tibetan terrier mix! Owen looked okay, because he is a shih tzu lhasa apso mix. THey did a short teddy bear cut on Owen, but Jack was just shaved bald and we felt so bad for him.

    So, the advice I am seeking is this: If we were to buy our own dog grooming tools what would be the best kind to get? I am willing to spend a little if I know it will work. We bought one at petsmart once for $100 and it didn't even get through Owen's coarse hair. We took it back. Any suggestions on a kit we can buy that will actually WORK. Both of my dogs have long shaggy hair that gets matted easily and just keeps growing.

    Also, when I take them this Saturday...does anyone have a picture I can take them of a standard teddy bear cut? I want their hair short, but not shaved completely!

    Any help anyone can give would be a lifesaver. Thank you so much in advance!!!

  2. Samsintentions

    Samsintentions New Member

    Yeah, grooming has gotten outrageous. I bathe my own guys and they don't need clipping, THANK GOODNESS!!!

    But for a regular wash at a groomers, its $35 per dog!! Crazy....

    I do show clip my horses, cattle and goats. I use Oster. Their a bit expensive, but they're the best!
  3. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    First, I have to speak up in defense of dog groomers. When we raise our prices, it's because our costs go up constantly. The increase in gas prices alone makes our supply costs go up. Shipping costs go up, utilities go up, everything is going up, and we're struggling to make ends meet and still make enough money to live on.

    If a bath costs $35, the groomer does NOT make $35. If we're lucky, we make around half of that; $17.50. If the groomer is a sole propietor, they have to pay taxes, just like everyone else, only they have to pay double on some taxes, the employee AND the employer portions.

    We work very hard for what we make. We struggle with animals who probably did not have getting a bath and haircut on their days agenda. We have to deal with difficult owners. And you area also paying us for what we know; our expertise. In a grooming shop, there's a lot more involved in giving a dog a bath than just soap, water, and a blow dry. Especially on dogs with long coats.

    But, with that said, if you intend to groom your own dog, you not only need good equipment, you need to know how to use that equimpment. If your clippers aren't getting the job done, it's probably due more to your technique that the clippers themselves.

    But honestly, you do need professional clippers, not those llittle pet trimmers they usually sell in pet stores. But don't buy your clippers from a pet store. They charge WAAAY too much. Order from a catalog, like PetEdge or Ryan's. I'd suggest a Wahl KM2, which comes with a 10 blade and costs around $110. You'll also need additional blades; at least a #3 or #4 which runs about $25 each and can be ordered at the same time. You need blade wash, H42 is a very good one. You have to run new clipper blades through blade wash before you use them to remove the rust inhibitor that is applied by the manufacturer. If you don't wash them, they won't cut.

    Start with a good bath. The dog has to be squeeky clean. Then blow dry and brush. Brush and comb until you remove every single mat and tangle. You can't get a good clip if you're clipping dirty, matted hair.

    Use the 10 blade to clip the inside of the ears and behind the ears, the arm pits, sanitary area (under the tail), the groin and tummy, Also scoop out the hair between the pads of the feet. And do it in that order. Never clip the sanitary, then use the blade on the ears or face unless you wash the blade first.

    Once you do that, change blades and use the 3 or 4. Remember, the higher the number, the shorter the cut. I often use a 4 on the body, 3 on the legs. Depending on the coat, a 4 will leave anywere from half an inch to an inch.

    Always clip in the direction the hair is growing. From the base of the skull to the tail, angle down the sides. Look at the direction the hair is laying, and go with it. Be cautious in loose skin areas; the flank, elbows, above the hock, and arm pits. That loose skin can easily be caught in the blade and be cut.

    Brush the dog and clip again. You aren't finished until the blade is no longer removing any hair.

    Use scissors to round the hair on the feet. Stand the dog, brush the hair down, and scissor. Scissor the face; comb the hair on top of the head forwars, and angling the scissors from the inside corner of the outside corner of the eye, trim it in a visor. Hold the ear up and scissor a curved line from the back of the ear, under the jaw, to the front of the beard.

    Hope that helps. It's hard to describe without actually demonstrating.

    If you really want to get into it, ask a groomer to teach you, offer to pay him/her for their time, and bring cookies.
  4. WendyM

    WendyM New Member

    A week ago, I took my Shih-poo to get clipped/groomed. This would have been her 3rd time to the groomers. The lady who usually does her grooming was off sick so I took her to another person. I checked her credentials etc. and felt satisfied and comfortable. I picked my dog up only to find that the groomer had cut her with the clippers on her belly by her back right leg. The groomer had put liquid bandage on the cut by the time I got there. The cut was so deep that I took my puppy straight to the vet and she had to get 3 stitches. The groomer was very upset and apologetic. I didn't get upset but I did take the vet bill to her and she did pay it.

    My question is....being new to having a puppy that needs grooming. Does this happen more often than is reported? My dog seems to be unphased by the whole thing and my vet says that I shouldn't go back to this groomer.

    I just wondered what others here thought. Looking for input.
  5. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    I'm not sure what you mean by "...more than is reported" because it isn't really something that's "reported" at all. But yes, it does happen. Not frequently, but it happens. We use very sharp instruments. Add a wiggly dog, and it's bound to happen once in a while. The dog zigs just as you snip, and they get a cut.

    In 36 years of grooming I've cut a dog badly enough that stitches were required twice. One dog was cut behind the ear, and one in the webbing at the arm pit. Neither one was deep, just in areas where movement of the dog kept them from staying closed. In the case of the dog that was cut by the arm pit, the original cut was tiny. But every time she moved her leg the skin would tear a little more. By the time I got her to the vet, the tear was almost 2 inches long.

    Small nicks are more common than cuts that would require stitches. But they aren't an every day occurance, either. Realistically, they're no more serious than a paper cut. If you had a similar cut on yourself, you'd wash it, slap a Band Aid on it, and go about your business. But even though they aren't serious, the groomer should fess up and point them out so you are aware and can keep an eye on them. Even the most minor nick can get infected, and if the dog licks or scratches at them they can get bigger mighty fast.

    Dogs that are matted are more likely to be nicked or cut than unmatted dogs. Puppies can also be more vulnerable because they move around a lot and they tend to have loose skin. Elderly dogs can also be vulnerable because they tend to wobble, and their skin is thin and delicate.

    I do disagree with the vet saying you shouldn't go back to that groomer. Every groomer on the planet will eventually make a mistake and cut or nick a dog. We're human. If a groomer claims they've never cut a dog, they're either very new, very lucky, or they're not being honest.

    Vets make mistakes too. Even the best ones. But I wouldn't tell my clients never to go back to their vet in the event he made a minor mistake.
  6. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    I forgot one thing. There is no standard teddy bear clip. It's a term that means different things to different people. Your best bet is to be very specific about what you want. Short but not shaved is not specific enough, either. Some people think an inch is too short, others think it's not short enough, and some people's inch is really about 3 inches. So use your fingers and say "I want it this long all over." The describe what you want for the face, ears and tail. A good groomer really should be asking you all this, even if you ask for a teddy bear or puppy clip.

    And last of all, if your dogs are matted all over, expect them to be shaved down all over. Excessive dematting is cruel. And if you don't believe that, let someone pull your hair for a couple of hours. Including your pubic hair, leg hairs, arm pit hairs, even your eyebrows.
  7. WendyM

    WendyM New Member

    I used the wrong verbiage when I said "reported". I meant that I hadn't read here or on other sites about people saying that their dog had been nicked by a groomer. I have never had a dog that required grooming before, so I am a neophyte when it comes to this. I am learning though.
    I hope I didn't hit a nerve.
    I have the utmost respect for dog groomers. Better they handle a squirmy puppy than me which is why I am more than happy to pay them to do a job they are trained to do.
  8. goob

    goob New Member

    If you think the groomer is charging you unfairly, ask them why they've increased the price. I work at a vet clinic that also offers grooming (no set grooming prices, the groomers price the dog's grooming when they do it), and if a dog is matted, or full of undercoat, their price will be higher than if the coat is better maintained, and occasionally prices do increase just because of increased cost of the groomer's time (we had one client complain that her grooming was $5 more expensive than it had been in the past, she'd previously been charged the same fee since 1998!). We also get in a lot of dogs that have to be sedated for grooming, and many of these dogs are matted to the skin because they won't allow their owners to brush them, or the owners just don't bother. Then there are the people who only bring their dog once a year because that's "all they can afford".... if they brought the dog regularly and maintained its coat between, they could get 3 groomings done for what they pay for one and their dog would be much happier without huge mats pulling at its skin constantly.

    With that tiny rant over, a few things to consider with dogs that need to be groomed. If you have dogs you like to keep in long coat, you need to brush them regularly, at least 3-4 times a week (make sure you get all the way down to the skin, we get a lot of cats that are well brushed on top, matted underneath). Do not bathe them (between groomings) unless they are well brushed out, as bathing a dog/cat will only tighten up any mats they do have. If you have a double coated breed, use a shed removal tool to remove the undercoat on a regular basis, as it'll keep the dog cooler, plus easier to brush and less coat to mat.

    I agree with Shine that it is best to speak with the groomer before they do the grooming, explain to them exactly what you want, and have your dog there if possible so they can tell you if there will be any issues with your desired clip.

    If you decide to groom at home, having a groomer show you how to clip your dog is ideal, as they can direct you as to how best to do things. When I was learning to clip my dog (a cocker, she just gets buzzed down except for her ears because I'm too lazy to brush her) I watched the groomer do it a few times, as she explained what she was doing (what blade, what direction to clip, etc) on each part, then I clipped her while the groomer directed me, and after a few times of that, I was proficcient enough to do it on my own. I still clip her at work usually, because I can put her on the grooming table and use the force dryer to blow out her undercoat, both tools that I don't have at home.
  9. Sara

    Sara New Member

    While we are on the Subject...I have a powder puff chinese crested and this is the first summer/spring that I've had him through and all winter I maintained his coat fairly easy. He'd gotten all grown out and I brushed him daily and bathed him weekly etc... But during the spring, just as wet as the snowy winter...he matted badly. I brushed daily but in the evening after his last outing for the day and ready for bed I checked and the matts were back...in one day... there were more matts. I finally just shaved him down myself but I was curious if this was some puppy shed as he is just about a year now and all of my short haired dogs shed that puppy fuzz...or should I just get used to the idea of shaving him for summer to keep the matts at bay...

  10. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    Could be either puppy coat changing, or he just has the type of hair that mats up that easily. A lot of Puffs do. Their coat can be very cottony.

    How closely did you shave him? I have a few Puff clients that get them shaved with a 10 or 15, so they look like a hairless. Just hair on top of the head, feet, and tail. They're very cute. And there are some that get a longer clip; the dreaded "Puppy cut", which really only exists in poodles, and groomers cringe when an owner requests one on any other breed.

    A one or two inch clip might be an acceptable alternative. Not "shaved", and long enough to maintain easily.
  11. Sara

    Sara New Member

    Well he's a mess since I did it myself. It's not shaved down to the skin like hairless. I have a pic but try not to judge...LOL... I'm not a groomer but I can respect opinions when it comes to cuts that don't belong on certain breeds...anyway this would probably be considered the dreaded puppy cut. I left his ears alone and tail since matts aren't a problem there. I think his fuzzy fur is just that cotton type that we can't keep long if there's dirt anywhere in the vacinity of where he'll be. Winter, there's not so much dirt, it's just snow...

    Here's Dauby in his ugly as sin haircut.


    Here's the little dude with his coat:

  12. Sara

    Sara New Member

    Well he's a mess since I did it myself. It's not shaved down to the skin like hairless. I have a pic but try not to judge...LOL... I'm not a groomer but I can respect opinions when it comes to cuts that don't belong on certain breeds...anyway this would probably be considered the dreaded puppy cut. I left his ears alone and tail since matts aren't a problem there. I think his fuzzy fur is just that cotton type that we can't keep long if there's dirt anywhere in the vacinity of where he'll be. Winter, there's not so much dirt, it's just snow...

    Here's Dauby in his ugly as sin haircut.


    Here's the little dude with his coat:

  13. Shineillusion

    Shineillusion New Member

    Oh, he's cute. You didn't do too badly, considering you aren't a groomer, lol.

    I'd probably clean his face up a little more, so you can see his pretty eyes, and tidy up his legs with scissors. And you might try something like "The Stuff" which is a leave in conditioner that helps prevent mats, and helps to get them out once they do form.

    What you did is, indeed, what some people call a puppy cut. The reason we dread it is because there's no set definition of puppy cut for anything other than a poodle. So we have no idea what people are asking for. To some a puppy cut is 2-3 inches long. For others it's more like shave 'em bald.
  14. Sara

    Sara New Member

    The Stuff eh... I'll have to find that...I bet it would help a lot.

    By the time I got his body done I was tired out and I need another set of hands for the legs since I don't have a grooming table. I need to get one just for Dauby or else just take him in to the groomers. I just never had good luck with groomers. My cockapooh was always coming back traumatized and I see them grooming the dogs every now and again and I can't bring myself to do it...It just looks like they're miserable and I think I've only seen one who I like and even then...don't like her that much. I figure I'll pick myself up a grooming table the next time a dog show is in town.

    Thanks for the tips and info!


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