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7 Things Groomers Wish You Knew

What would groomers tell the world of dog owners if they ever had center stage? We took a survey of our team, and discovered that they had a lot to share. Read on to discover seven things groomers wish you knew.

#1: Grooming is not a spa day.

It’s actually kind of scary. Yes, it’s fun to get those "spa day" photos and talk about pampering your pup, but know that in reality grooming is somewhere in the range of bearable to terrifying for most dogs. With this in mind, don’t schedule your vet appointment and groom on the same day, or bring in a newly adopted dog before they've had a chance to acclimate to their new surroundings.

By the way, if you're looking for ways to help make grooming less stressful for your dog, check out our blog post Preparing for Your Puppy's First Groom. Though the information is directed towards puppies, it can be helpful for all dogs.

#2: Why grooms are expensive and prices aren't static.

As groomers we often hear questions about cost. It's time to answer two of the most common questions once and for all.

"Why is my dog's haircut more expensive than my own?"

Here's a few reasons why.

  • We're often dealing with a lot more hair - and sometimes much thicker hair - than what is on a human's head. That means it takes longer to wash, blow dry, brush out, and cut.

  • There's hair all over their body. That means we need to do specific shaping for each area, such as the face, rear, feet, etc. We are also working close to sensitive areas, like eyes and the sanitary area, which require us to go slowly and be extra careful.

  • Dog's aren't quite as well behaved as you are at the salon. Even the most well behaved dogs move their heads, pull away, or want to sit down when we need them to stand. Sometimes when dogs are especially anxious, we deal with behaviors like excessive pooping and peeing, biting, and flailing. This makes grooming take a lot more time, and can also make it very emotionally draining.

The second pricing question we hear often is:

"Why isn’t the price the same every time I come in?"

Here are a few reasons your price could have changed.

  • Your dog has a different style haircut. Some haircuts take significantly longer than others, especially longer styles of haircuts.

  • Your dog is bigger or hairier. If your dog grew bigger or is significantly overweight, he may jump up to our next size category, which means higher cost. Puppies can also develop thicker coats as they get older, which can move them to a different category as well.

  • Your dog's coat is matted. It takes a lot of time to brush out tangles, and if we are unable to brush them out, we still need to take extra steps to shave them off. So if you've had a crazy month and your dog's coat was a bit neglected, you may see an extra charge on the groom.

  • Your dog is having a hard time. If your dog is struggling with the groom, perhaps biting a lot or having multiple accidents that need to be cleaned up, we may charge a special handling fee. This covers the extra time it takes to work with your dog that day. If your dog needs to be groomed straight through due to behavioral issues, we will also charge extra because we are unable to book another dog immediately after him. We always work to help dogs become more comfortable with the grooming process, so if this is the case for your dog, your groomer will discuss with you ideas of what could help things go more smoothly in the future.

  • Add-on services. If you add extra services, like a collar wash, deshedding package, or dremel nail trim, that will obviously also change the price.

  • Annual price increase. A final reason you could see a change in price is due to our annual price increase every November. This helps us keep up with inflation and the increased cost of living.

We do our best to never surprise you with unexpected costs, and will let you know ahead of time if we know something will be more expensive. If we find after check-in that the price will be more expensive, perhaps due to matting we discovered or behavioral issues, we will contact you to let you know.

#3: If you don't brush, don't brush.

We know life is busy and brushing your dog isn’t as important as keeping the fridge stocked, getting the kids to school, and finishing your work project. We totally get it. But if you haven't been brushing and tangles have developed, don't try to brush your dog out the night before the groom. This will only result in causing your dog pain and damaging the hair. Instead, simply accept the mess and know there's a fresh start coming after your groom.

#4: Tell us what you want.

Not to brag, but our groomers are pretty good at customizing haircuts and giving you the look you want. But we can only do that if you are able to clearly tell us what you're looking for.

Before you come in, take some time to think about what kind of haircut you’d like and how to describe it.

If you can, find a picture online of the style you like on the same breed of dog. (Though pictures of different breeds can be helpful, some things like coat texture, face shape, etc, make the look impossible to replicate exactly.)

If you aren't exactly sure what you want, that's okay too. Instead, think of a few parameters to help guide us. For example, “I want something that’s easy to take care of,” “I want a soft, rounded look,” or "I don't like it when there's a big contrast between head and body length." Try to stay away from vague descriptions, like “I want a teddy bear cut” or “don’t make him look like an old man.” Everyone interprets things differently so you might not end up with what you're looking for.

#5: We don't shave your dog for fun.

We know that it can be really hard to hear that we need to shave your dog. Losing that long coat and getting an entirely different look isn't fun. But please know, if we tell you we can't brush out your dog, we can't brush out your dog. We work hard to detangle what we can, but there comes a point where brushing would be too painful for the dog and shaving is the only option. It isn’t the "easy" choice for us. It takes a long time for us to get that matted hair off, and adds a whole extra step to the groom. Plus, shaving that long beautiful coat makes us sad too. In cases like this, we are committed to being in communication with you, letting you know ahead of time, and giving you as many options as possible.

#6: Coat length and level of work directly correlate.

To put it simply: Long coat = more work, short coat = less work.

If you want to keep your dog's coat long, you will need to be religious about brushing at home, and you will need to come in more frequently for a groom. The shorter you keep your dog's coat, the less time you'll have to put into brushing and you can schedule grooms less frequently.

We have seen clients who adore long coats but keep finding they don't have the time to brush consistently. These clients end up in a sad cycle of growing out a long coat, developing severe matting, needing to shave, growing out the coat again, developing more matting, shaving, and on and on it goes. The end result is a lot of frustration, discomfort for the dog, and these poor long-coat lovers having an extremely short coated dog a good chunk of the year. We know it's hard to hear, but if you can't brush every day, you need to give up your dream of a full coated dog. Settle with something in between, and everyone will be much happier.

#7: We love communication!

Communication is key to providing you and your dog with the best possible service. So please, tell us everything. If your dog seems extra anxious that day, or is recovering from diarrhea, or just came from a vet appointment, or has a history of biting during grooms, let us know. If you didn't love the groom last time, tell us. We want to know. In turn, we commit to communicating with you as we work with your pup.

And on the theme of communication, we want to hear from you! The groomers have had their chance to share what they want you to know, now it's your turn. We're all ears!

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