"To Pre-Book or Not to Pre-book tis the question....."
"I need my dog groomed now, today, an appointment after 5pm or on a weekend."
Frustrating at best, because it means turning away a potential new client or even an existing client. Not at all good! Box store hours - not every groomer works on weekends or late into the night. We do have lives and families beyond grooming your pets. Eight plus hours (more like 12 pus) on ones feet - go go go - tends to equal a very tiring long day for anyone.
Good groomers are booked months in advance - especially for large breeds. If you have a big dog, giant breed or doodle - my advice is pre-book. That way you do not have to think about last minute grooming, and trying to find someone who can take your pet the day of. If you have a special needs pet pre-book - It just makes sense.
I understand if you can't, but then do not expect special timing or same day grooming. Special times and special needs appointments are generally already booked months in advance by clients who have given schedules and needs of their pets consideration. Same day grooming, walk-ins are hard to do for any dedicated pet professional, but it does happen occasionally due to a last minute cancellation. Life happens! The problem with last minute anything is it usually doesn't work. Just like the cancellation list - too short notice many a time. Your pet doesn't get groomed because the appointment doesn't work for you. I have had this happen, have simply not been able to fill the spot, and have lost that income for staff that sit around with nothing to do - we still have to pay them for their time even if they are doing nothing.
Emergency squeeze-ins (help! my dog just go skunked) do happen but often cost more (this is a special request and usually comes at the expense of the groomer who is already booked solid). If you can't pre-book, give some thought and plan ahead. Most good groomers need a fair bit of notice for appointments. If your groomer has done you a "solid" or takes great care of your pet, IT IS OK to, "be nice and at least leave a kind review or a tip !" Trust me in this day and age it's nice to be on the receiving end of positive acknowledgement. Our world can do with a lot more kindness.
A good groomer is booked weeks in advance, some are booked the whole year. Pre-booking provides a better experience for all involved. My salon is often booked more than a month in advance - some even book for the entire year, especially if they need a weekend appointment. As a side note - I will be reducing weekend grooming - it's the only time I get with family. Good groomers have many awesome clients and we work our schedule around them, and around schedules of our own outside of our profession. If you are looking for an ASAP groom you will likely not be lucky and have to wait. You need to be okay with that.
"My dog gets groomed every three months or so or we get him done when he looks like he needs it".
With this in mind, and then making ridiculous requests, especially if grooming and home maintenance is not regular. This is NOT OK. A great example: an actual list of instructions on a super thick medium sized poodle mix that was over 4 months between grooms:
"We don't want you to use a clipper but do an all-over scissor cut (FYI: There is no difference between a scissor clip and a guard comb clip. Either way cuts hair. The only difference is one is faster, uses electricity and can be completed in an acceptable time frame. I charge a dollar a minute to hand scissor a dog - it takes a lot more time and skill. Not many people want to pay $200 for their cockapoo. This leaves us with a guard clip and scissor tidy, which has a much more reasonable price point. ) Make sure it is even all over no longer legs. Trim the tail - nothing big, nothing unkept, something in between. Stringy hair is unsightly. Make the tail like a puppy. You know cute and short, but not stick like (you do realize that your pet is overdue and matted to @$#! - trust me it's going to be a stick). Definitely do a sanitary trim - make sure to shave all those areas. Trim the eyelashes to human length or the length they were when a puppy ( FYI: I have never seen your dog as a puppy so your guess is as good as mine, my lashes are really short naturally or are you talking 3D fake mink lash length?). Trim them close to that length. (Ugg ?!?! should I measure?? Eh...where's my ruler?) The top the head has cowlicks make sure it is not doing that weird part down the middle. (FYI: no matter what I do unless I glue the hair in place nothing will stop it from falling back to its natural position - it's a cowlick). Trim the ears - not too long and stringy but not super short either. Layer and edge them - like a puppy. Make sure to trim on the inside by the ear we don't want that hair to be overgrown. No ear plucking scissor that out (FYI: It's a forest - a soggy slimy forest of goo. It needs plucking but OK). DON'T scoop out the eyes. We want the fur only trimmed - enough to see but natural like. BUT definitely not shaved. Don't shave the top of the nose that should remain natural and fluffy (OK got it no poodle face). Just a light trim. Cut the beard hair - we don't want that - no super long beard. No long moustache. Trim the cheeks to the same length as the face beard and moustache......" (but no moustache).
Did I try to educate this person. Yes I did. Were they accepting of information and education? Yes, they were and the dog is now on a regular grooming schedule. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Another example: A doodle. The owner insisted on a well defined triangle in the stop area. This person actually took a very large photo of their dog, circled all the areas to pay special attention to, complete with comments in gold marker on what and how to do those areas.
I still recall the day, this person complained with a two page email and several very large photos of the dog and the areas that they were unhappy with. The complaint was," The neck area was not blended enough, and the muzzle was too choppy. The client went on to tell me about how much it cost, plus the generous gratuity, and that she wanted to bring it to my attention as clearly I did not cross check my work well."
All considering (made me feel pretty shitty). I may be able to fix a lot but sometimes matted areas can only be blended so much. Did I mention the dog was over four months between grooms and was matted in the neck chest and muzzle? Yet somehow this NEGELCT turned into my incompetence as a groomer. I even recall discussing the option of a shorter clip which would result in a more finished appearance - in one ear and out the other.
The dog came in a mess and left looking pretty darn good for its condition. Let it be known I fired that client. Sorry but I am a human being, that at times may be able to work miracles, but after busting my arse trying to blend away holes left by bad matting, to give you what you wanted you dress me down via email and tell me in a round about way I suck for not being able to 100% smooth out the areas that were matted. Bye Felicia! To boot, my whole staff scattered like roaches exposed to light when they read this dog was on the board. No one wanted to do this dog. It wasn't the dog it was the CLIENT! Full Stop. It was a shame as the dog was really a great dog. The owner well.....being picky is fine (we try to give you what you want), but remember it is a two way street. If you can't be understanding sometimes, neither can I and if you are rude about it then I am NOT your groomer.
I am a groomer not a magician - though sometimes a miracle worker, but this is less likely on a pet that doesn't come in on a REGULAR schedule. A good groomer can keep your dogs coat in good shape with REGULAR grooming. Most clips that are shorter than a blade length of "5/8 inches, 5/8 HT finish blade or guard comb yellow" usually require a minimum of a 6 to 8 week schedule. Anything longer needs a minimum of a 3 to 6 week schedule with strict at home maintenance.
Calling your groomer when a pet's coat is matted and overgrown is not acceptable. It is pure torture on your pet and groomer to think that it is ok to work through a barricade of knots and matts to give you a style you saw on Instagram. This is a form of NEGELCT. Considering the amount of information available to everyone these days whether it be internet or professional. Myths, bad information and not researching your breed are at the root of these problems. Talk to your professionals - we really understand what it takes to maintain pet coat types (there are 15 of them thanks to the designer dogs).
If you do anything, at least keep your pets on a schedule of 12 weeks or less (preferably 6 to 8 weeks)! If you want the fancy stuff it should be monthly. DERMATOLOGICAL GROOMING FOR ALL ANIMALS DICTATES GROOMING SHOULD BE DONE EVERY 28- 31 DAYS i.e once a month AS THIS FITS IN WITH THE PILAR CYCLE ( hair growth and shed).
Please don't saunter into my shop with your never been groomed 8 month old plus doodle and expect miracles. These dogs are high maintenance breeds - especially for grooming. To keep them feeling and looking their best, they need to visit a professional groomer regularly from 12 weeks of age so they learn and know what to expect. A young pup learns fast. This learning stage is short. The older the dog is the harder it is to desensitize them. Sometimes it takes a lot of mini sessions to get an older dog to not be weary of the process or to think that grooming is punishment. THIS IS ON YOU!
Dogs and cats like routine. Once a routine is established it becomes PART OF LIFE. "A pet groomed every 3 to 8 weeks sees grooming as part of their life. They expect it and accept it. A pet groomed less frequently i.e. every 6 months or over, thinks the grooming process is punishment as it is an unexpected event. They rarely enjoy the process and fight it all the way." The question is what do you want? A pet that enjoys grooming or one that hates it. To me it is pretty self explanatory. Besides a clean mat free pet is a happy enjoyable pet!
As a professional groomer I don't care what your breeder told you. Breeders are not groomers. Two totally different areas. It is my responsibility to educate you, work with you and to help you maintain your pet. It is not my responsibility to continually de-mat and torture you pet in order to give you what you want. If you can't work with me to maintain a fluffy cut, at least keep your pet in a shorter more manageable style. Waiting until your dog is 6 months before their first haircut is just crazy! The only thing this does is make the likelihood of another dog that will require specialty services. 5 out of 10 dogs that come to my shop have issues with being groomed......THIS SPEAKS VOLUMES! From me to you - DO YOUR HOMEWORK! PROPERLY MAINTAIN YOUR PETS :-)