Friday, April 5, 2013



Those 3 letters will make a groomer cringe every time.

What in the world does it stand for?

Once A Year, as in a dog that only gets groomed once a year, usually in the Spring. Some dogs get groomed twice a year and are in just as bad of shape as the once a year dogs. Either way, you know you are in for a mess - lots of undercoat, lots of mats, and sometimes lots of attitude because these dogs aren't as used to grooming as those who are groomed more frequently.

I groomed this dog yesterday. I had done her one other time - in September! So she's a twice a year dog, but she had enough undercoat to represent an OAY, so she's the dog who gave me the idea for this blog post. 

Anyway, in her before picture, you can see that there is a ton of undercoat packed in there and falling out in clumps.

It took a lot of scrubbing to get her clean underneath all the undercoat she had and a LONG time (well over an hour) with the velocity dryer to get her dry and remove most of the undercoat. Here is how the bathing/drying room looked when I was done, before I even swept all of the hair into a nice pile.

And here's all that hair swept into a pile. For you non-groomers who read my blog, imagine all of that hair flying around in that small room (I was standing in the doorway to take the picture) with a hot dryer and you can picture how fun that is. I'm going to be fishing Golden hair out of my eyes for days.

Here is the final haircut - nice and short and blended and smooth.

Here she is with the pile of hair on the floor below her...

...and next to her on the table. Luckily she was really sweet and really well-behaved. Still, this entire process took almost 2 1/2 hours - and she was only scheduled for 2 hours. This is one way OAY dogs can really screw up groomers; they usually take much longer to do than dogs who get groomed more frequently.

I really wish I had taken before and after pictures of the Golden/Australian Shepherd mix I groomed a couple of days ago that really does only get groomed once a year. He had a ton of undercoat and a ton of mats, and the owner wanted a very short haircut. It was a dramatic difference - but sadly the owner was late dropping off and I knew the dog would take longer than scheduled, so I shaved a couple of minutes off of the grooming time by skipping the pictures.

Anyway, here is a Saint Bernard I did a couple of weeks ago. He is a twice a year dog - between the shedding undercoat and the fact that he has skin allergies and constantly chews on himself caused some matting on his butt/hips that needed to be dealt with. Here he is before the bath.

And close up.

Between his chewing and my dematting, he did have some holes in his rear, but I still think he turned out nice.

Next we have a Bearded Collie. It had "only" been 3 months since I groomed him, but the extent of matting I saw was representative of what you would expect in an OAY, so I chose to include him in this blog post. I groomed him a couple of weeks ago.

The owners had been doing an OK job of brushing out his body, but his legs and face had completely gotten out of control. Here is a close-up of the matting on one of his legs.

Here he is after the bath and blow dry, which took FOREVER because his hair is unnaturally thick for a Bearded Collie; it more closely resembles an Old English Sheepdog, and, being matted, it really took a long time to get it all dry.

He also had some nasty skin problem - it was orange and greasy. Yuck! I wish I had noticed it before the bath, though: I think medicated shampoo would have been more effective if I had shaved him before the bath.

Here he is after. As you can see, I had to shave his body pretty short to get under the mats; I also had to shave his ears - they were so badly matted that I couldn't tell what was skin and what was mat.

I also had to take his muzzle much shorter than I would have liked, but trying to demat that area would have hurt him, so I just used the longest blade I could to get under the mats. This is a pretty typical look for an OAY: shaved body and ears, short face, and let's-leave-some-hair-on-top-of-his-head.

I'm just at the very beginning of OAY season, so I may very well have sequels to this post in the future. Also, please note: I am not trying to judge people who do not get their dogs groomed frequently, I am simply presenting a groomer's POV on what it is like to groom these types of dogs.


  1. Great job on all of them Jennifer!!

    The Golden is absolutely gorgeous! The St. Bernard looked great too. As for the are right, that IS what a typical OAY dog ends up looking like. :/

    You do great work.

    1. Thank you very much Lisa! Your compliments mean a lot coming from somebody with so much experience - other groomers can see things that the average pet parent can't.

  2. I am starting to see them as well...then I ask a lady if she would like to set up the next appt for her no longer horribly matted (and home groomed face and head) Maltese and she says sure, what are you thinking, 6 months? Oh dear...

    1. Lol, some customers will just never understand!