How to choose the right groomer for your dog
If you feel less than capable of grooming your dog, that's fine! You're just like a large number of pet dog owners who take their dogs to groomers. Here are some suggestions on finding a good one.
Being right down the street from the best groomer in the world is not going to help you if you can't stand to be near her. Think of it: if the only thing that you think of when you go to that groomer's shop is how to get out as soon as possible, you can not expect yourself to take enough time to share everything she needs to know about your dog. However, personalities are not the most important thing in choosing a groomer. Other factors, such as schedules, experience, location, and grooming philosophy come into making the decision.
Schedule/availability: Groomers typically have three kinds of schedules, fixed, on call, and appointment only. If you work a nine-to-five job, a shop that's open from ten to four won't be right for you. If you can arrange to drop off your dog before going to work and pick him up after you get out of work, then someone who works from eight to six might. Groomers working with pet supply stores often offer drop off and pick up services.
If you can not find a groomer with a fixed schedule that meets your needs, you might need to find someone who works on an "on call" basis. Groomers who work on call sometimes work from mobile units, such as vans or trailers, which they may park outside your home and groom your dog inside. These groomers differ from groomers who work by appointment only. Those who work on an appointment-only basis frequently have their own shops with a long-standing established clientele and only occasionally take in new clients. Unlike the on-call groomer, you may have to accommodate the appointment-only groomer's schedule.
Experience: Every groomer comes with a different range of experience. Although length of time grooming is an important measure of your groomer's skills, it is not the only measure. If your prospective groomer is just breaking out on her own after a three-month course and six-month apprenticeship, you would be right to be cautious in letting her work on your dog; however, if she was previously a Junior Handler who apprenticed with a professional handler for ten years, then she may have skills that exceed those required for her certificate. Make certain that you evaluate your prospective groomer's experience on all levels before you make a decision.
Location: In addition to the schedule and experience, you need to decide what kind of location you prefer for your dog to be groomed in. As stated earlier, some groomers work from fixed locations, while others work from mobile units, and still others come to your home. Groomers who work from a fixed location have many tools of the trade at their fingertips at any time. They have more space to work in and perhaps an assistant to work with. However, although groomers working from mobile units have less space and may only be the sole pair of hands, they are not distracted by phone calls, incoming and outgoing clients, and other interruptions that come with working from a fixed location.
Alternatively, you may feel most comfortable with a groomer bringing equipment to your home to groom your dog. Some owners feel more secure knowing their dog is in familiar surroundings or prefer to have the ability to look in on the grooming process on occasion. This alternative might good for you if you are uncertain about how your dog will behave with a stranger grooming him for the first time.
Grooming philosophy: Before taking your dog to a groomer, make certain that her grooming philosophy is the same as yours. If you prefer cutting and trimming be kept to a minimum, or that your dog's coat be kept to a certain minimum length, don't hire a professional who wants to trim your dog to the skin and shape the coat as it grows out. The same thing can be said about differences of opinion over equipment, shampoos, and chemicals. If you don't want to have something used on your dog and she can't convince you of its benefits, choose someone else.
Dog's Opinion: When choosing your groomer, don't forget your dog. You might be pleased with her work, but your dog might consider the time he spends on her table as a lifetime in Dante's Purgatory. If your dog reluctantly approaches his groomer on a subsequent visit, snarls at her, or lunges to run out the door when you are ready to leave, their personalities--if nothing else, are not working together. If any or all of these things occur, please consider another groomer.
Selecting a groomer can be a prolonged process. It might take bringing your dog to several different groomers before settling on one that you're happy with.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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