How to find the right groomer for your dog?
There are many dog grooming salons and mobile grooming around us. Responsible experienced groomers have both handling and grooming skills to groom dogs in a proper way. Of course, all groomers are humans. Humans can make mistakes sometimes. Even experienced groomers can accidentally hurt an animal with grooming equipment. However, unexperienced groomers with no proper grooming training have higher chance that they will injure the dog. One bad grooming experience can scare your dog and may exhibit bad behaviour in grooming in the future. However, how do you know which groomer is best for your dog? Is the groomer experienced and gentle with dogs
Things you should ask and look for:
Currently, it is not necessary to hold a grooming license to become a groomer in Australia. Anyone can buy clippers and set up a mobile grooming or grooming parlour or start grooming dogs at home. Therefore, it is important to know how experienced and skillful is the groomer before taking your dog to them. Ask about the groomer’s experience:
– Have he/she studied any dog grooming related course? Where did he/she study the course?
– Where did he/she work before coming to this grooming parlour?
– How many years has he/she been in this industry?
– Has he/she had an experienced in clipping your dog’s breed before?
Calm and Cleanliness
You are taking your dog to get cleaned and groomed. Therefore, the grooming parlour must be clean. If the place is dirty with hair flying around, strong doggy odour or odour of urine or faeces, most likely the groomer or owner does not clean the place very well. Shop owner or groomer should vacuum, mop the floor and clean all grooming benches, cages, bathtubs with disinfectant at the end of each day. This can minimise the chance of spreading diseases. If the grooming parlour is not cleaned up properly your dog can come home catch fleas, ticks, kennel cough, skin irritation and/or other diseases.
Secondly, calmness and quietness of the shop. Occasionally, there will be 1 or 2 noisy dogs. In general, most dogs should be quiet and calm. If most dogs are barking, screaming, yelling in the shop, that could mean the dogs are not happy, they are angry and frustrated. Then there must be something wrong with the grooming experience that they had before.
Ask the groomer how does he/she handle difficult or snappy dogs.
– He/she should not use physical force to fight with the dog. Getting violent and physical make the dog even more frustrated, hence more difficult to groom the dog. Situations like this can make the dog even more difficult in grooming in the future.
– Groomers should never ever use any kind of drugs to sedate the dog for grooming.
Responsible groomers will always remain calm and assertive. Groomers need to protect himself/herself too. If the dog is snappy, it is acceptable to put a muzzle on the dog while grooming. He/she is patient, will not rush the grooming process. He/she may even ask a second groomer to hold or distract the dog with praise or treats. If the dog is too stressed out, he/she will contact the owner to explain the situation and provide a solution.
Grooming parlours are different to doggy daycares. When the dogs are fully groomed, the groomer wants them to look clean and tidy until the owners come for pickups. Most likely your dog will be put in a cage after grooming. Some dogs are not crate trained and may not enjoy staying in the cage. Ask the groomer if there is another option where the dog can stay besides cages. For example, play pens.
Environment and Care
If you plan to leave your dog there for more than 3 hours. Ask the groomer if your dog will get a chance to drink water and go toilet.
As mentioned earlier, groomers are humans. They can make mistakes too. Experienced and responsible groomers are skillful and careful when grooming dogs. If they have accidentally injured your dog, they will let you know. If they injury is very bad, they will send the dog to the closest vet right away. On the other hand, irresponsible groomers will not mention anything about the injury. They will try to hide the wound or cover the wound with hair so that you can’t see it.
Groomers’ questions for you
Good groomers should have a list of questions for you as well. When you bring your dog to grooming in, the groomer may ask:
– Details of your dog (name, age, sex, desex or not, good with other dogs).
– Basic health check (vaccination, flea control, worming control)
– Condition of your dog (any skin irritation or allergies, any sensitive areas, any use of special shampoo, any other health issues such as joint, arthritis)
– What style would you like, such as Schnauzer clip, Puppy clip, Lion clip, long beard, teddy face, poodle feet, ears, tail, etc.
– Evaluate your dog’s coat condition and whether it is possible to match your style requirement. If it is not possible, the groomer will provide an alternative for you.
– How often do you bring your dog to grooming and how often do you brush your dog. Good groomers will provide a style to suit your dog’s health, age, dog’s daily activities and your lifestyle.
Quality of the clip
– A good groomer should be able to match your requirement as much as he/she can. He/she will let you know if there is something that they cannot do.
– Your dog should come home with dry & fluffy coat, knot-free, clean and fresh smell of shampoo, ears cleaned and nails clipped.