I write about dogs, dog grooming, and life in general. Comments always welcome!
Wow, you made a great job on a pomeranian! How long did it take to brush him out completely? I believe i know which deshedding tool you used :) can you please tell was it 10 or 12 blade? Thank you!I have recently started to groom, i've been a bather before, and I'm worried about the time i spend on grooming. I am able to groom now no more than 6 dogs a day. I wonder how many dogs a day is your limit? I mean medium sized dogs in a decent condition.
Thank you! I washed and dried her first and blew her out with the velocity dryer FOREVER. The very first picture has just the undercoat I picked up off the floor of the bathing room that came out with the velocity dryer. After that, I used a slicker brush and a rake. This particular dog was too sensitive and nervous to use a de-shedding tool, but I would have used this: http://www.amazon.com/Mars-Stainless-8-Blade-Stripper-Wooden/dp/B000GQ7ZK6 I don't like having too many blades in there, 8 or 10 are usually just fine. Since we do every dog straight through, I can only do 5-6 dogs a day. That pom took me 2 1/2 hours and made me late for the rest of the day. Most small dogs, say Cavalier and smaller, I can do in 1 1/2 hours. Cockers through Goldens take about 2 hours. Anything bigger than a Golden is usually 2 1/2+ hours. This is just a rough average, of course, but that's a pretty good idea.And speed just comes with experience. Don't force it, you'll just spit out lower-quality grooms. If you have a chance, watch other groomers and see if you can learn any new tips. You never know when you'll discover a time-saving secret!Speaking of which, even if you don't groom all your dogs straight through, the velocity dryer can be a great time-saver on double-coated dogs. That pom would have taken MUCH longer if I had brushed out all that undercoat versus blowing it out with the velocity dryer.I hope that helps; feel free to ask as many questions as you like, I love to help!
Thank you for answering!I have never used rake or seen other groomers using it. Whats the difference between rake and a simple comb?You are right about watching other groomers, i have learnt a lot from the people and from the internet too. Your blog is also very helpful. The post i liked most is about hand scissoring. You mentioned such a simple thing that i wasnt aware of. You said that hand scissoring helps to avoid choppy looking haircut, when hair grows in different directions. Before i couldnt understand why is hand scissoring better than blades and clip combs. You opened my eyes :) And about timing. You spend a good amount of time on each dog, thats why your grooms look awesome. But i have to deal with walk-ins. Sometimes i have two dogs at once, and i have to rush myself to finish them in time. That sucks!Have you thought about hiring a bather and grooming more than 6 dogs a day? Thank you a lot for the grooming tips!
About the rake vs comb - I actually don't know, exactly. I think the teeth may be spaced differently. Mostly, though, I think it is a lot easier on your hands and wrists for getting the hair out of a BIG hairy dog.I am glad you have been able to learn things from my blog! :-) I wish I had had more role models, blogs, etc to learn from when I was a new groomer, so I am happy to provide examples of what I wish existed back then.It's funny you mention the bather, because we just had a meeting between the boss and all the groomers. One groomer mentioned the idea of a bather, and neither the boss nor the other groomers was wild about the idea. I personally prefer to be the one in control of my dog at all times; even when a bather was available at past jobs, I was really nervous about having somebody else wash my dogs. You never know if they won't scrub the feet well enough or might not rinse out all the shampoo. If somebody complains about my grooming, I don't want to have to blame somebody else for not washing my dogs properly.Also, at the new location I work at, we aren't busy enough for a bather, and at the other, busier location, there really isn't any room for a bather to work in that small space. And for us, we don't take walk-ins. The busy place is usually booked out at least a week or two - which ironically makes us even more desirable. "Oh, you don't have any appointments for two weeks? You must be really good to be so busy! Let me go ahead and make an appointment."Anyway, again, I am more than happy to answer these and any and all questions you may have. :-)
So you use a rake only on big hairy dogs? And a comb on smaller ones? Now i might purchase a rake ;) thanks thanks thanksWell having a bather can ease and also complicate your life. They just have to find a right person and give him/her a good salary. A bather should be interested in this field, loving dogs and having a desire to become a groomer in the future. So you will give him/her an opportunity to learn and earn at the same time. You will train him to do everything like you want, and always check on him. If he does something wrong (like not clipping the dew claws or forgetting to clean the ears or leaving the butthole dirty or not emptying the anal glands or leaving the coat a little damp, etc ) he may have to redo it! And after a while you will be a great team! I've been a bather so i made some mistakes too, and my ex boss pointed them out, this is how i learnt to do the things right. You may spend some time to find a right person, but im sure it's worth it. You will deal just with haircuts and make a little more $$$ :)
The thing is, doing every dog straight through, we really don't have time to be training a bather. We don't keep dogs in kennels - they each have their own appointment time. So if you get behind on one dog, it carries over to the next appointment, and that customer might get upset that their dog is their longer than usual, especially since our prices are higher to reflect the fact that each dog is in and out as fast as possible.Here is an example of what my schedule looked like on Sunday:8-9:30 - New Brittany - I had no idea what to expect as far as hair, haircut, temperament, etc.9:30-11 - Pain in the butt hand-scissored Maltese. Sometimes she poops for the dryer and I might have to re-wash her butt and/or feet and then re-dry her. Sometimes she is matted - not enough to need to shave her, but it will add at least 15 minutes of de-matting.11-11:30 - Lunch. I do have a little bit of a cushion here to run late, but if I don't get at least 10-15 minutes to sit and relax and eat something, it makes the rest of the day REALLY hard.11:30-1 - A Shih-chon that I have not done before. He is usually groomed by one of my co-workers with a different style than I have, so I need to read the notes in the computer and talk to the customer well to make sure I do the haircut just right.1-3:30 - 2 very naughty Huskies from the same family. The only come every 3-4 months, and they are always packed with undercoat.3:30-? - A quick service face and nail trim. Since they have an appointment, I REALLY don't want to make them wait for me. Their dog will only take me 5-10 minutes, so they will hang out in the store; they shouldn't have to wait for me just to start their quick dog.We close at 4 on Sundays, and I HATE grooming past close. It's very awkward for customers to hang out inside the closed store or out in their cars while I finish their dogs. Not an issue with the quick service at the end of the day, but I usually have an actual appointment all the way up to close.The other thing is, scheduling would be a nightmare! I wouldn't know how to schedule my dogs if I was only doing half the grooming, and how do you schedule a bather in our type of setup? We don't have time to sit around waiting for them if they get behind, and if they aren't scheduled properly and are waiting around in between dogs, that's wasted money for an hourly employee. Plus, it is the store employees who schedule our appointments, not any actual groomers. They're usually pretty good now, but trying to re-train them for an entirely different way of scheduling would be a NIGHTMARE.Anyway, long story short, at past jobs, when our turn around time was 3-4 hours, a bather made a lot more sense. It's just that with the way we do things here, it would be very difficult and rather impractical.Thanks for the suggestion, though, I know you are just trying to help and be thoughtful. :-)
Ok, i got you :)