I offer an exclusive one-to-one service to ensure your dog is given my undivided attention. Dogs are usually groomed from start to finish to get them out the door back to you as quickly as possible. Contrary to what you may think, dogs don't see coming to the groomers as a pampering session. A lot of them find it quite stressful to be away from you, so I aim to limit the time they're in the salon. By no means does this mean I rush to get them finished, but as soon as your beloved pooch is ready, expect a phone call!
When you come in to the salon, I will meet you to discuss grooming for your dog, assess coat condition, temperament and I’ll give you an approximate pick up time.
As soon as you leave I usually put your dog on the table and give him a basic health check. This includes checking skin and coat for anything untoward such as parasites, skin conditions, lumps or bumps etc. I’ll also check, ears, eyes and teeth and note anything that I think requires a vet’s attention. I check nails and paw pads for nail overgrowth and matting between paw pads and toes. Usually before a bath I will clean ears, get rid of excess hair and yuck around eyes and then a sanitary trim around private areas/under tail. It’s important to do this before a bath as it enables me to get your dog squeaky clean and smelling his best! Any nails urgently needing trimmed I will do before a bath to relieve pressure on dog’s feet, but I tend to leave nails until the end as they can be a deal breaker for some dogs! If your dog is matted and requires clipping off, I will do this prior to the bath.
Next it’s off to the tub for a warm bath with luxury, all-natural shampoo. I have all different shampoos to suit a wide variety of coat types; aloe vera for sensitive skin, whitening for white and light coloured dogs (it also works a treat on black dogs believe it or not!) quick drying for super thick coats or dogs who don’t like the hairdryer, puppy shampoo for the babies and I also have amazing flea shampoo (just incase!) I also have some lovely conditioners if your pooch needs a little extra softness. As I’ve already mentioned, all shampoos, conditioners and colognes are specially formulated for your dog’s skin, are herbal and eco-friendly. After a good soaping up and rinsing (x2!) it’s back to the table for drying.
All of my dogs are hand dried, I don’t have cabinet dryers - although these are a great time saver for busier salons that take in a large volume of dogs per day. Most of the time I’ll start off with a high velocity dryer (blaster) to blast most of the water out of the coat. This greatly reduces drying time for all dogs, but especially thick coats! It’s also great for dogs that are clipped short, they are dry in no time! Occasionally some dogs may not like this, or even the finishing dryer which I would normally use. For these dogs we just see what works, sometimes I have to towel dry them start to finish! Luckily these dogs are fairly uncommon, and the ones I do towel dry have short hair anyway so it’s not too bad. After blasting I use a finishing stand dryer to completely dry the dogs coat. For curly coated breeds I fluff dry, which involves getting every single curl straightened out, and to be honest it applies to nearly every dog I see curly coated or otherwise because most hair kinks up when wet so it’s a good indicator of how dry the dog is! I may use a conditioning spray to help brushing during the drying process.
Now I have a clean, fluffed out dog ready to be trimmed, as per your instructions. I can achieve a number of different looks with varying tools but ultimately (unless I’ve had to go super short) it’s up to you how you want your dog to look. What kind of lifestyle does your dog have? Is he in the mud all the time or is he fairly clean? Some people like skirts/feathers left but don’t like all the muck that collects underneath. If this sounds like you, then what I usually do is clip out the centre panel underneath, so that nothing hangs down, but you still get the skirt effect at the sides. This is very popular among Spaniels and Westies. I also do numerous puppy/teddy bear trims for Lhasas, Shih Tsus, and crossbreeds. These are nice, fairly easy maintenance trims and can vary in length from long and plush to quite short and manageable. I’m open to ideas, but I will advise you if something is unachievable or will affect your dogs coat regrowth (ie shaving off a double coated breed such as a Collie or Golden Retriever.) When your dog is all trimmed, I will check and clip nails and finish with a cologne spray (or not, as per your instructions!) Ta-da!
All in all, for your average small, Lhasa Apso type dog, this whole process takes between 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours. This is your dog groomed from start to finish, although it can vary sometimes, if your dog needs a little break (although some do go to sleep on the table) then I’ll give him 10 minutes for a nosey around. This helps to break up the experience for some dogs. So, there you have it! I will at some point try to get this up in video form so you can see exactly what goes on in a grooming session. A lot of owners are surprised when I tell them it will be 2 hours, as they have no idea just how much work is involved. Good job I love it!
For wire coated breeds like Border Terriers, I also provide a handstripping service. This involves stripping the harsh outer coat by hand, leaving the softer undercoat. It doesn’t hurt the dog, we’re really just speeding up what would happen naturally. Please ask about handstripping. I do enjoy it, it’s quite therapeutic and dogs will usually lie down and go to sleep while having it done. I will have to assess your dogs coat before stripping, to ensure that the coat is suitable. Sometimes if dogs have been previously clipped and owners ask for handstripping, unfortunately this is not possible as clipping usually softens the coat, making it painful to attempt to pull out. The coat can sometimes soften after spaying/neutering, or with old age, in which cases I offer a clipping service instead.
In Between Grooms
I also offer maintenance tidies in between grooms (tidying up around eyes, paws and under tail) free of charge to regular customers (on a 8 weekly schedule or less) and maintenance baths if your dog needs a little extra TLC in between. Give me a buzz!
Things I DON’T do!!
Anal glands - technically speaking, this a veterinary procedure, and should only be carried out in the presence of a vet. There are a lot of things that can go wrong from emptying anal glands that don’t need emptied, my motto being if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!
Tooth de-scaling - also a vet procedure. You don’t know what you might uncover once you start scraping away, and anything you pull off your dogs teeth can be harmful, potentially fatal if swallowed. Keep on top of your dogs teeth by feeding Dentastix and preferably something crunchy like Bonio biscuits (not too many!) Having a toothbrush and some doggy toothpaste also helps. The trick is to not let your dogs teeth get to condemned building status before acting!