Dog groomers are generally hardworking, patient and dedicated people. They put up with a lot of shenanigans on those tables, and most won’t hesitate to tell you when your dog has been cutting up instead of standing still for their cut.
But there are some things dog groomers won’t tell you, perhaps because they’re too polite.
Lucky for you, I’m not too polite. Here are some things your groomer may not mention but that you should know.
Tipping for services is a way of life here in the United States. You tip your bartender, your delivery person (or, in my case, delivery people), your hair stylist and just about anyone else who performs a service for you.
Translation: Tip your dog groomer.
You may not see it, but your dog isn’t always an angel on the table, and although he looks fresh and renewed when you pick him up, his groomer may have come by her own exhausted and battered look legitimately.
You may want to tip even more than you normally would depending on certain circumstances, such as when your dog:
- Bites, claws or otherwise injures the groomer
- Is badly matted
- Has fecal matter or other debris stuck to his fur
- Is difficult to manage or control
2. Accidents Happen
While working with your pooch, groomers use some sharp instruments, such as scissors and clippers. And although their utmost attention is going to your dog, accidents sometimes happen, especially if Freddy is overly active on the table or is covered in mats or filth.
Your groomer often feels much worse about accidentally harming your dog than you can imagine. In her book Going to the Dogs: Confessions of a Dog Mobile Pet Groomer, Jan Nieman talks about one of her sessions with a heavily matted lhasa apso:
“As I worked the scissors through his mats, I spotted blood on his fur…. I was horrified to see I had inadvertently sliced into his tightly coiled tail…. I set him on the floor with Minnie, disconnected my electrical cord and raced to a local vet as though I was on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney World.”
Help prevent these types of injuries by keeping your dog brushed and free of mats between professional grooming sessions.
3. Be Realistic
Your dog has certain physical characteristics determined by his breed. Some dogs have short coats, some long, some curly and some straight.
So please don’t ask your groomer to perform a miraculous cut on a dog who just doesn’t have either enough hair for it or the right kind of hair. You cannot, for example, clip a rottweiler in the traditional poodle style. It just won’t work.
4. Please Stop Calling So Much
Groomers understand schedules and know that yours is just as busy as theirs.
But many grooming salons don’t have a dedicated phone person, so whenever the phone rings, they need to take Freddy off the table and answer the phone — which also puts the grooming process on hold. That means that while your dog’s grooming session should have taken only about 2 hours, phone interruptions take it up to 3.
Limit yourself to 1 phone call, please. Your groomer will tell you an approximate pickup time when you drop Freddy off, and many groomers will call to let you know if he’s finished or requires more time.
Pet grooming is a wonderful job to have if you love working with animals:
5. Grooming Is Stressful
Grooming is a labor of love, so it’s important that you understand how stressful the job can be.
Many dogs don’t take well to being left with strangers in an unfamiliar environment full of new smells and weird noises. This sometimes means working with 200-pound dogs who are putting up a real fight. Although dogs are sometimes muzzled, it’s not unheard of for a dog to break or slip out of the muzzle and cause serious injury to the groomer.
Groomers must stay on their toes and focus on each animal at their table to avoid stressing their charges — or themselves — out as much as possible.
Dog grooming is fun, and I love it, but it also comes with a major list of potential headaches, most of which your groomer will never tell you about.
So be a good client. Be punctual and understanding, show appreciation and, hey, maybe even bring your groomer a cookie or two.