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 Think
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.
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 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.
Do 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.