Category Archives: Grooming Tips

Training Your Pet for Grooming

Teach Your Pet Good Grooming Behavior for
Their Own Safety

What most people do not realize is how dangerous the pet grooming process can be for their pets. It does not matter how long a groomer has been grooming, accidents do happen. Pets are moving targets around sharp implements. This can be a train wreck waiting to happen. However, as pet owners you can reduce the odds of your pet getting injured by doing some simple things at home.

Puppies or Newly Acquired Adults:
I am a strong believer in reward/food training and with most pets when trying to train them to be groomed. Something special that they do not usually receive is generally in order. Small bits of hot dog, which as a vegetarian is a vile thing but I do it, or yellow cheese, which has great health benefits, may work wonders..

NEVER, EVER brush your pet on the floor. This is their turf and the only time they get yelled at is if they have a house training accident on the carpet. This is where they have fun, bark, play, run and humans many times are on the floor level making the two of you equals. Always elevate the pet at least to your waist height. This is where you need to be ALPHA dog and you are not equals. Use a countertop, washer/dryer, etc. Put a bath rug, the ones with rubber backing so they do not go flying off the surface.

When you are trying to groom either with clippers or hand scissoring you need that animal to hold perfectly still. The front head and front legs are the two places that usually cause problems.

Head:
To balance and hold the animal still to work on the head you need to hold them under the chin. If a pet does not hold still for this, it is very easy to poke one of the eyes, cut a tongue or lip. Practice by holding your pet under the chin “lightly.” The object is to not have them twist their head back and forth, up and down. Eventually you should be able to do this for 1 minute. Give them praise with lots of hugs, treats, loves and kisses for whatever amount of time they can manage.

Legs:
Another dangerous area not only for dog but groomer. Many groomers get bitten when cutting nails. Play with your puppies paws, pull lightly on the toes, play with the inside of their pads, lightly pull the hair between them if you have a dog with that type of coat. Get them to let you hold their paw for 1 minute. More praise.

In order to hand scissor, as in a Bichon or Poodle and other breeds, you need to be able to hold the front legs out straight towards you. If you have 10 inch scissors and an animal jerking their leg it is very easy to cut the flesh on the inside of that leg. Hold their front legs out and as with the head, do not let them jerk or hop around. Practice the 1 minute rule as with the others. Again more praise.

Lumps and Bumps:
Always inform your groomer of any lumps you are aware of on your pet. Also ask if they have noticed any that you might have missed.

Moles and Warts:
Clipper blades cannot tell the difference between hair and skin yet alone moles or warts. Some breeds such as Schnauzers and Poodles have a high propensity as they age to acquire them. More often than not, those are clipped off during grooming leaving them bleeding and an open wound. There is an easy way to avoid that potential problem. Mark them with lipstick. Pink for dark colored dogs, red for light dogs. Now, I realize that there are single men reading this saying, no way am I going into a store to buy lipstick. Believe me, in some parts of the Metro area this would not be considered unusual. Buck up for your pets welfare and if Bruce Willis and Patrick Swayaze can dress up as women you can do this!

Brushing:
Most owners I know have no idea how to brush a pet for one simple reason: they were never shown how.

It may take a number of tries before you can get your pet to hold still but it is well worth the effort and patience in order to assist in more safe grooming for your pet. Ideally you should be able to brush your average 35-45 pound dog in less than a half hour.

The object of this exercise is to teach your pet to hold still, not dance about doing the 1960’s Twist and not bite the brush.

Usually you need one brush called a slicker and a metal comb to work with. For more information you can read further on this site under Grooming Tips. Start at the back leg (if your pet is not short haired), hold the foot out, pull the hair up with one hand and brush down with the other. Never just run the brush over the entire length of the dogs leg without getting down to the skin. When in doubt use the comb and comb through what you just brushed. In time you will learn to “hear” the mats or knots and not even have to look. If you are still having difficulty, ask your groomer next time to show you how to properly brush.

If they decide to eat or bite at the brush, the easiest thing is to simply let them. Turn it over, bristle side up. Without saying a word or even looking at them, let them knock themselves out. Usually after 4-5 times of biting at this rather unpleasant tool they will stop.

Commands:
Regardless of the situation every animal needs to understand certain commands. In a grooming situation they need to know, Sit, Stay, Stand, No Bite is a great one and Turn is very helpful.

Never let them off the grooming surface until you are ready to let them down. Big or small they should never jump off the surface. Not only do they become the ALPHA dog telling you when you are finished, it can be very dangerous. Any size animal can break any part of their leg jumping off a grooming surface.

 

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)

 

All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.

Grooming Young and Older Pets

Animals fall into three categories for me:

  1. Geriatric or senior
  2. Babies: puppies and kittens
  3. All the others in between

Pets in the first two categories, although similar in many behaviors, must be treated very differently.

Puppies/Kittens…or Attention Deficit Animals:

As many pet owners have admitted, if they were grooming their pet correctly and efficiently they would have never called me. I will not focus on kittens/cats since anything they do not want to do of their own accord is considered the gravest indignity. At any age bathing and blow drying would be considered a heinous act. Consequently, the focus is on puppies.

Your pets are being handled by a person they have never seen and have no reason to trust. On top of which all these strange “things” are coming at them, most of which make a lot of noise. Blow dryers that sound louder than a vacuum, clippers coming straight at their face, scissors being put on them where they cannot see them but make noise. Combine this with a moving target, your puppy, it is an accident waiting to happen.

To expect a puppy with limited exposure to behave as a veteran of 5 years is not reasonable. It takes patience, training and repetition. To expect a puppy to look like an adult groomed dog is something that I tell people is highly unlikely. In order to have a “perfect” haircut on a dog, they must hold perfectly still. A puppy has no intention of ever holding still. By brushing the correct way, cutting the nails, trimming very little, bath, blow drying and re-brushing, that puppy has just about had as much as they can take. To force a baby to behave as an adult with experience some people will yell, scream or jerk that animal around. I however opt to slowly and safely teach them proper grooming behavior. They might not look like the picture in the book the first few times, but after a while, as they learn how to stand and move correctly you end up with not only a good looking dog but one that has not had a traumatic experience.

Geriatric Animals:
These old folks have it very difficult. Having arthritis myself, I can relate to how these poor souls feel. As some geriatric humans can be, they are deaf, blind, cranky, no patience and really hurt. They cannot bend they way they once could, nor can you bend or move them to groom they way you could when they were younger. To some sitting is just as painful as standing and getting up can be the most difficult thing they do all day.

Grooming with these animals I insist, not suggest be done in the fastest manner as possible. I will not take a 15 year old dog, make them stand on a table for without being able to sit to hand scissors them. The object is in an out of the van in the quickest amount of time. The danger of grooming these type of animals is just as high as puppies but different issues. They will jerk, squirm and usually snip. Not because they are mean but frightened since their eyesight and hearing is failing. Due to the stress that some older pets experience because of the situations above, it is necessary for the owner to always be present in the van during grooming.

Making things safe, easy and trauma free will give your pet a pleasant experience not something they will dread.

Pet Grooming Frequency

Suggested Grooming Frequency By Dog Breed

One of the most common questions a groomer is asked is how often should I groom my pet? My usual response is “got me, it depends on you and your lifestyle.” If you are an obsessive person who can have no speck of dust, dirt or dog hair present in your home, car, or within a 100 mile radius then more often than other people with the same dog with a different set of priorities. If you have pet allergies, that pet should be done more frequently than someone who does not have allergies. If your pet sleeps on your bed and you are fighting for a pillow and one square inch of blanket at night, then more often than the pet that sleeps on the floor. Everything is subjective depending on the person. Many people would rather put their pet in a zip lock bag with just the nose holes poking out than only groom that pet every 12 weeks. Others are not bothered. As a professional, people such as myself know that the longer apart the grooming the less likely the dog will have hair left on them. Equally and more importantly, the more matted the dog is the more dangerous that dog is to groom. Clippers and scissors cannot discern between matted hair and flesh. The more matted the dog the more likely the odds are of injury as well as more costly. There is not one groomer in the world who can honestly say they have not made an “oops.” Usually the “oops” happen when you have a very matted animal, not only a dog but also worse a cat. All they have to do is jerk or move the wrong way and you have an “oops” situation. Below is a partial list of dogs groomed in traditional coat and the suggested frequency they should be groomed. Many people cannot afford in today’s economy to have the pets done as often as they did before. Consequently what should be followed and what reality is are frequently diametrically opposed. All bets are off if your pets roll in dead things in the backyard or swims in vile smelling rivers or creeks, etc. When does the below not apply?

  • A) The dog is brushed correctly.
  • B) The dog is brushed frequently.

Those dogs can usually go further apart in weeks being groomed. When does the below also not apply?

  • A) The dog is not brushed correctly,
  • B) The dog is not brushed frequently,
  • C) The dog is bathed at home in-between groomings.

If A, B, and C are done at home you can be assured with most certainty that your pet will have to be shaved. Below is a partial list of dogs in traditional coats.

Breed Weeks Apart Breed Weeks Apart
Akita
8 – 10
English Setter 8 – 10
Alask Malmute
8 – 10
German Shepherd
8 – 12
American Eskimo
6 – 8
German Shorthair
10 – 12
Aussie Cattle
6 – 8
Golden Retriever
6 – 8
Basset Hound
8 – 10
Gorden Setter
10 – 12
Beagle
8 – 10
Great Pyrenees
6 – 8
Beardy Collie
6 – 8
Greyhound
12
Bernese Mtn Dog
6 – 8
Havanese
4 – 6
Bichon Frizzy Wizzy
4 – 6
Irish Setter
8 – 12
Border Collie
4 – 8
Irish Wolfhound
8 – 12
Boxer
6 – 8
Keeshond
8 – 10
Bulldog
6 – 8
Kerry Blue
4 – 6
Carin Terrier
6 – 8
Kuvasz
8 – 10
Corgi (all)
6 – 8
Labs (non-hunting)
8 – 10
Chow
6 – 8
Lhasa Apso
4 – 6
Cocker
4 – 8
Maltese
4 – 6
Collie
6 – 8
Newfy
6 – 8
Doxi Long Hair
8 – 10
Norfolk/Norwich
8 – 10
Dalmation
10 – 12
Old English (not the polish)
4 – 6
Dobi
8 – 10
Poodle (all)
4 – 6
Papillon
6 – 8
Pug
8 – 10
Pekingese
4 – 6
Rotty
8 – 10
Samoyed
6 – 8
Wheaten
4- 6
Schnauzer (all)
4 – 6
Wire Fox
6 – 8
Shetland Sheepdog
8 – 10
Westie
4 – 6
Shih Tzu
4 – 6
Siberian Husky
6 – 8
Silky Terrier
6 – 8
Yorkie
4 – 6

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated with a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)

All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002-2014. All Rights Reserved.) Any use must have prior permission.

Age to Start Grooming

When To Start Grooming Your Puppy or Kitten

The most frequently asked question I receive about “babies” is when to start the first grooming. Puppy or kitten information is the same for the most part. If you are going to use mobile, it really does not matter what the age is.

There is no law stating that in order to groom a pet they must have any vaccinations, store front or mobile. In a store front the biggest issue is that puppies and kittens, without all the proper vaccinations are at risk of getting sick.

They also might be able to make other animals ill as well. In mobile grooming since there is only your animal in the vehicle, they are not around other pets to make them ill or vice versa. The only variable would be the airborne contagions. Puppy One is in the van and has Parvo. Immediately after that puppy is groomed the next stop is Puppy Two. There we will have a problem. Taking the above into consideration, I always suggest starting the little tykes out ASAP.

The biggest reason to start them early is so that they learn proper and safe behavior. Babies are more difficult to do than most since they are squirming wiggly little things. They are also terrified and rightly so of all the strange and loud equipment. Most humans if you can even remember your first haircut were scared to death, most were crying and you had no idea who this person was coming at you with strange things. Animals are no different. For a baby to have this big black thing (clippers) that makes a lot of noise coming at their eyes can be frightening. The blow dryer sounds louder than a vacuum and if turned up full force can shoot a small fella right into the trash can. So, in order to get the kids accustomed to grooming so they do not get cut with the clippers or scissors, they understand the sounds are not going to hurt them, start early. The better trained a baby is, the safer and faster they are done.

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 35 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, more experienced, better educated and a wider life experience. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.)
All information is owned by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.

Pet Grooming Tools

During springtime, if your kids are like mine, they think they are helping by bringing in all the pieces of dead grass, leaves and mud they can find. They usually do this after I have vacuumed just to prove how helpful they are. I cannot help much with that issue but I can give some insight on how to keep the amount of shedding hair down.

CANINE TOOLS:

Despite what you see advertised and in stores, the average pet owner only really needs two or three grooming tools to keep your pet in shape in-between groomings. You will not find many professional pet people with even half as many tools as the “experts” say you should have or work better than the rest

Slicker Brush

First thing you need is a very good slicker brush, for those of you who might not be aware of what that is, see photo above. It really does not matter what type of breed you have, every pet can benefit from one.

Short-tooth Rake

Short-tooth Rake

Secondly, if you have short hair kids, such as, Labradors, German Shepherds and the like, you will need two things.

The first is a short tooth rake,

Stripping Blade

 

The other is a stripping blade.

Word of caution here. Use the rake very gently in short soft strokes so as to not “burn” the skin. Use the stripping blade until most of undercoat is gone. Over use it and you will have a dog with bald spots!

FELINE TOOLS:

The Untangler Comb

This is really simple. In 31 years of working with animals I have never found anything better to work on cats than this special comb. It is called the Untangler, it is the only comb on the market that the teeth rotate. Again, short, quick strokes and you can follow up with a small slicker brush to catch any hairs you missed.

For either dog or cat, take a fabric softener sheet and lightly go over them once. It keeps the static down, hence the hair all over the floor.

The idea of brushing is always best done, now that the weather is nice, outdoors. The birds also love to make nests out of the hair.