10 Myths of Dog Grooming

Share Button

Dog grooming is a noble, needed, and respected profession. Like all careers, there are some myths and dog grooming is no exception. Having raised two Cocker Spaniels, I can attest to spending more on their grooming than my own haircuts. This is not a complaint, but rather, an observation.

There are at least 10 myths that exist in the dog grooming world, and my years of experience talking to groomers, visiting groomers, and extensively researching and writing about the topic allows me to share these myths with Fidose of Reality readers.

Not all shampoos are created equally: Dog food, dog treats, flea and tick prevention: These product categories have all been given a closer than usual scrutiny in recent years, and with valid reason. We know that certain ingredients can cause our canine family members to get sick or worse. Dog shampoo is no different. Ask your groomer what shampoo is being used on your dog. Get the inside scoop and tips in my feature article for Dogster magazine: Dog Shampoo Can Be More Hazardous Than You Thinkdirty dog

Not all groomers are created equally: Do a background check before you drop your dog off and leave the premises. When I was researching dog groomers, I went to the shop without my dog to see how things were going and what the appearance of the facility was, how the groomers handled the dog, and to ask questions. Things to ask include: how long they have been grooming, will your dog always have the same groomer, where they received training, costs, additional fees, and if you can talk to other clients. 

Licensing is not required in most states: Although dog groomers can choose to become certified through the National Dog Groomers Association of America, Inc., it is not required for licensing. For example, in Pennsylvania and Michigan, a license is not required, but in New York and Connecticut, a license is required. I found our dog’s groomer through references, talking to him first, and I actually bathe my dog ahead of time and then wait for him at the shop. I have been doing this for 20 years of dog grooming visits. I trust my groomer but I prefer to wait and get some work done in the lobby. I also don’t want Dexter to sit in a cage while an automatic dryer blows on him.

Dog groomers are not magicians: I have seen so many “yikes” cases walk through the doors of a dog groomer, that I lost count. Brush your dog regularly, bathe your dog as needed, and make the dog’s comfort level and groomer’s job that much easier in doing so. Matts are not a dog’s best friend, nor a groomer’s.

Dog groomers are not mind readers: If your dog is not happy about having his or her paws touched or snaps because a certain “sweet spot” on their skin is sensitive, let the groomer know ahead of time. Let the groomer know what you expect along with a background of your dog and the grooming services he will require. Share any health and behavioral issues ahead of time.

dog bath

Dogs may not be put on the table to be groomed immediately: Groomers are busy, as we all are, so upon arrival, most dogs don’t go from dog parent arms to grooming table. If your dog is not accustomed to being in a kennel, this could be an upsetting event for him.

Groomers are not dog trainers: To help get your dog ready for a lifetime of grooming, be certain he’s accustomed to having his paws touched, to getting a bath and to allowing strangers to touch him. You can easily assess this and train your dog to be accepting of such processes by learning from the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test.  Even if you never plan to test your dog for this title, it helps for dogs to know these basic skills.  Visit my Dogster link about Canine Good Citizen and tips on passing for more information and helpful advice.

dog bathDog groomers are not dog sitters: In defense of the dog groomer, be timely when dropping your dog off and picking them up. Though most groomers will work with you on pick up and drop off times, be sure you are as timely as you want them to be for your pooch. You know that parent who is late picking their child up from daycare? Don’t be that person.  

Not all pet groomers are brick and mortar stationary businesses:  Mobile pet grooming can be a viable option for some folks. I have a friend who uses the services of a mobile pet groomer for her blind dog. She feels comfortable having him outside getting primped and groomed while she waits in her home.

Sedating a dog is not the groomer’s responsibility: Dogs should be acclimated to grooming. If you have a puppy, start touching his or her feet and brushing them from an early age. Personally I frown upon sedating a dog for grooming. Working with a positive reinforcement based animal behaviorist is much more favorable in addressing your dog’s issues versus medicating them for a grooming session.  If a sedative is absolutely needed, discuss this with your veterinarian in terms of safety, dosage, and individual dog requirements. For the safety of the groomer and the dog, this should be a last resort.

fidose of realityDo you have a groomer on which you rely and depend and would recommend? How did you discover his or her services? Bark at me in the comments below.

Share Button

Comments

  1. Good tips Carol! Under the not being a mind reader category, I would add when taking your dog to a new groomer explain exactly how you want their hair cut. You could take a Cocker Spaniel to 3 different groomers and have 1 leave the legs and skirting long like a show dog, another shorten the legs and skirt to 2 inches and another who shaves the dog completely. There are great variations in grooming. You don’t want to take your show groomed dog in and have it come out naked. A good groomer will take the time to discuss this thoroughly with you.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      That is spot on true. The groomer we go to gives our dog the “hunt” cut, but I know some folks want the dog kept with a skirt. Very good point, Dawn!

  2. You made some fabulous points! We absolutely adore our groomer who happens to work for our Vet! I love it (and so does Dakota) because he happens to LOVE being groomed (he could be brushed forever!) and when he goes to the vet he doesn’t have anxiety because he never knows if he is seeing the doctor or being groomed.
    Dakota is primarily my husband’s “boy” his “golden child” and even though we have been bringing Dakota to the same groomer for 6 yrs my husband ALWAYS brings a photo of a Sheltie so that they know exactly how he should look (I hate that he does this because the vet kept the photo on file but that doesn’t deter my husband, thankfully they know us and are not insulted lol)
    Our groomer is named Maria and she is the kindest woman on the planet. I ALWAYS over tip her which is another important point. I am wondering how many people tip the groomer? They have a HARD job!
    I love having our groomer at the vet (and yes they are ALL licensed) because God forbid if there should be some sort of emergency Dakota is at the best and most trusted place that I feel he could be.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Smart idea there, Caren, with the photo. I never thought of that. But if I were starting over, that is a great way to do it. I bring a photo with me to the hair salon so why not for Dex?

      Smart about the emergency stuff, too — the vet is right there.

  3. So many very good things to know. I really hated taking Sephi to the groomers because they would put her in a cage for hours before they got to her. Her grooming appointment was for practically all day even though they only spend about 30 minutes on her. Now I use a self-wash place like Pawsh Wash here in Lawrence, KS. I have to do the work myself, but my dogs are much more comfortable.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I am with you, Dawn. I wait for my dog while he is groomed and pre-bath him first.

      • I own a grooming salon and while a few points you’ve made are good a couple others are not so much. Few people can properly bathe a dog without training, especially a cocker. I’ve hired groomers that have been grooming for 15+ years and still need to be shown how to degrease and get all the soap out of a dog. Also drying a dog properly is an important step to obtaining a smooth cut. We won’t do a parent bathed dog without being able to wash them again ourselves.

        Still our salon is run differently too. We are mostly kennel free(only markers and the rare aggressive dog needs to be separated). Out appointments are staggered so the amount of time we keep an animal is four hours max with 3 being the average. We also offer a zoom groom service for the nervous dog/client were we do them from start to finish from the moment they arrive as this appointment can take from 1-2 hours depending on the kind of dog and intensity of cut. Anyway I have plenty more to add but it’s really hard to type on my phone lol

        Becca

        • Carol Bryant says:

          I totally respect your expertise. Personally I will never allow a groomer to bathe my dog. Too many horror stories for me and I have the skills. I took training and have had professionals teach me, so my Cocker has been bathed by me pre-groomer for 18 yeas now and going strong.

  4. I’ve had a quite a few experiences with Groomers, the first was really great at her job, but she was quite grumpy, and hollered at me in front of my Mom, that was a big no no…. The next groomer cut my poof off, and didn’t do half of what was suppose to be done, everyone knows, poodles can’t be poofless, so now we have a house at the beach, 2 hours away, found a great Groomer who goes over and beyond her job , Mom says when I need grooming we have the perfect excuse to go to the beach. It is a win , win situation. If you are in the Southport, NC area and need a Groomer, check out National petland. Mrs Kathy is the very best!!
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Petland-of-Southport/186781531361708?fref=ts

  5. Nice representation of thoughts. Being a dog groomer, I know the role and responsibility as a professional. But one thing I must say to add to your post is that without understanding dogs, without feeling their pain, no one can become a good dog groomer.

  6. Just saying too….it’s a rare groomer that will allow you to pre bathe!

    As a groomer, I research and choose my products with great care. Everything is hypoallergenic and mixed fresh for each client and everyone is bathed twice, then thoroughly hydro massaged and hand dried. The bath and blow dry is 75% of a good groom. I can’t get a good haircut without it. Period! And I can’t trust someone who is not a pro know how to correctly bathe and blow dry, so I don’t prefer that option for my clients at all. These are the times i discover fleas, skin problems, lumps, lesions, flaky skin, etc. Its also where I palpate and express the anal glands if needed, and flush ears and freshen their breath. By taking those steps out, the groom actually just got harder. In fact, I’m surprised your groomer allows it!

    Just a note in case someone is reading this thinking it’s a good idea-it’s a rare groomer indeed that will allow it without a very special reason. (Like a medical problem.)

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I would never go to a groomer that let me pre-bathe. I’ve been going to our groomer for over a dozen years and we love him.

  7. I’m a dog groomer in California. Our state doesn’t require a license and I’ve never had anyone ask to see one. I would recommend just looking for a shop that displays their grooming so there’s nothing to hide. For example I currently work in a business with huge open windows and no back rooms. I used to work for Petsmart the “mcdonalds of grooming” and they have bo cameras in their back room where dogs are kept, bathed and dried. I left that company after seeibg a groomer throw a dog by its neck into a kennel because it scratched her. I reported it but nothing was done because it was one witness and no cameras. This complaint went all the way up to our DM and still nothing. Another piece of info for you…washing your dog at home will not give you a proper haircut. Professional groomers use a hand dryer on almost all haircut dogs to blow out kinks/curls in the coat to make a more professional and even cut. Also we are trained to wash your dog better than you, that’s what we’re here for.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      While I am sure you are an awesome groomer, I no longer trust any groomer to bathe my dog. Ear infections from water in the ears is the first reason I stopped allowing a groomer to bathe my dog. Meeting people at Cornell University in the waiting room of their small animal hospital whose dog had water in its lungs because the groomer held it underwater is reason two. Meeting more people like this set me over. I talked to my groomer and he loves that I bathe my dog first, as I have done so for the 15 years I have been going to him. I have a grooming tub, special shampoos and conditioners, and a special hair dryer for dogs. I have special tools and instruments. It saves me $5 on the bill but I do not do it for that reason. I have learned from the pros how to bathe my dog. So I do feel comfortable doing this. I also NEVER leave my dog unattended at a groomer and never will. I sit in the front and wait. It’s that or I find a new groomer. To date, I’ve never had a problem.

  8. Krista Gately says:

    Hi! I wish every client would read this prior to calling a groomer. I would just ad that some groomers are trainers ;) I have been training much longer than grooming. Ask the groomers you talk to what their involvement in dogs is. Not all dog groomers are “dog people” I would prefer someone with well rounded dog knowledge.

  9. Very good points.Thanks for sharing.

  10. Great tips! My dog groomer was recommended by my friend. He was introduced to me when I was looking for a groomer. My friend assured me that he’s a good groomer and received a training. That’s why I’m confident to leave my dog to a groomer.

Speak Your Mind

*