GO!

When to Say When

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your dog. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your dog's hygiene needs.

  
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Ziggy

I'm the Zig
 
 
Barked: Sat Oct 3, '09 8:38pm PST 
Greetings Everyone,

Hi, I'm Jenn, and Ziggy and I are new to the site and am looking forward to really getting to know my way around here.

I was also looking for a good forum of dog lovers to join as this is my very first Westie as well as my venture into dog grooming. Right now I am a Bather (won't disclose where though) and I have been working there for 3 months. I just took a Salon Safety Test after our Safety meeting and read the manual from beginning to end and what I read and what I see are 2 totally different things at times.

When is the right time to say when it comes to nails. If a dog expels anal glands, is that the time to stop or do you wait until they have calmed down and try and begin again. I have never worked in this industry before and I adore my job as much hard work as it is but sometimes *not giving up* just doesn't feel right. I read one thing when it comes to the whole grooming process, from dryers to nails and although I have to work on my own weaknesses, such as learning to properly handle large breeds and always being in the right *energy*, sometimes I think pushing a dog to do something when it clearly shows signs of stress is an indication of not going forward.

Wanting to give the pet a good experience so they like coming to the groomer alongside being told they need to make money is really nagging at me and coming from other Groomers, I would like to know what all of you feel and think~

Thank you so much for reading this and I look forward to getting to know all of you wave
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ACE

550004
 
 
Barked: Sat Oct 3, '09 10:13pm PST 
I usually do go by the rule that i dont end on a bad note. Meaning, i dont like to "give up". If i can get one nail done, thats an accomplishment. ending when the dog is fighting will only teach the dog how much he/she has to fight to get it to stop next time. Also, i never fight with any dog. A dog can do whatever they want on my table, i am just patiently waiting there, holding the paw and waiting for the dog to stand still for more then 1 second. Are these groomers fighting with the dogs? I dont fight, and i dont force. I wait it out, let them throw their tantrum, and when they are done, i clip the nails.

If the dog is so awful for nails, that it needs breaks, then i will still end on something positive. right before i take the dog off the table, for example, i pick up a paw, rub the paw rith the nail clippers, and give the dog a lot of praise when they let me do it (for most dogs, even scared ones, they will let you do this without much of a fight). even the dog letting you hold the paw with nail clippers near the paw, is a good note to end on.

But you are right to not do things that will stress a dog out to the point of it being unhealthy. I like to judge bladder control as a good sign of stress level (anal glands not so much, considering dogs cant control them naturally). But if a dog is so stressed that it pees/poops, a behavior that they can control and are usually trained to not do on a table, i usually will stop and re-evaluate what is going on with the dog, and what procedures i can even continue to do. I havent had this problem in awhile though (and only had about 3 dogs that i can recall be that stressed out). From my own experience, when groomers seem to always have difficult/stressed dogs, it has more to do with the groomer then the dog.

So ask yourself, are they really pushing the dogs too hard, or are they just trying to condition them into eventually accepting grooming by not ending on a bad note? If there are serious violations, then i dont know what to tell you. I have a feeling (just based on your post) that your work for a corp salon, and usually, getting the store manager to listen to these kinds of things is hard. They dont know anything about grooming, and very rarely do they want to investigate, when it could possibly mean letting go of a groomer (a position they cant fill very quickly).

If there are real problems, or concerns you have, i would start keeping a log and dating the information. include the dog name, groomer name, and what you saw. you will want to go to a higher up, either your grooming salon manager, or a regional/pet services manager of some kind. If you have well recorded incidents that have occurred over time, you are more likely to get something done about it.

If you would rather not go that route, then the best way to deal with groomers with less than stellar skills is to help them. Just go over and say "is he being difficult, here let me help you". that is non confrontational, and helpful. If you feel right about it give some of your handling techniques, and maybe they will learn something from you.

also want to add, that you sound like you are on the right track. you are right to not want to push this whole "not giving up" thing until you are more confident around the dogs, give the really difficult dogs to more experianced groomers, and help/watch them and learn.

Edited by author Sat Oct 3, '09 10:25pm PST

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Henry

I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 4, '09 2:09am PST 
Until you get more experience, I would watch more seasoned dog handlers groom and get a feel for it. From your terminology you used, you sound like you work in a place that also has a dog trainer on staff. A trainer can be a great resource for learning to handle dogs. I used to groom for a vet, doing dogs that had to be sedated or completely knocked out to be groomed. Now, in my salon, I'm the "bad dog groomer," in that I take the dogs that are too aggressive or rambunctious for anyone else. It takes a lot of experience to read dogs well enough to know which ones can handle it and which ones to send to be sedated. I had one poodle who, the very first time, was peeing and pooping and doing death rolls on the floor like a crocodile, but once I let him get it all out, he was fine. He's now a request client and he gives me kisses the whole time I'm scissoring him. I have a Pom that will bite any other groomer in striking range, but sits fine for me, although it's taken a year of consistent handling to get him not to bite me. It's all in knowing the beast, as it were. If you've only been there 3 months, do a lot of reading and observing. Good luck and welcome to the business!
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Ziggy

I'm the Zig
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 4, '09 9:20am PST 
Thank you so much for your response. it is very helpful. You are right, I am not experienced, although I have had my own dogs, working in the industry is something I always wanted to do but never had the opportunity until now.

It's hard for me being that I am new, inexperienced and have (and getting much much better) fears in dealing with large breeds, or I should just say learning what to look for, how to properly handle (meaning, even walking a dog back to the kennels, just proper handling so I am not dragged which has happened)

I watch the other groomers constantly, there is a trainer that I take my dog to and have been learning alot since my dog has had some possession agression isssues but have been working very hard with Ziggy (he's almost 9 months) and learning that I can really do this is an amazing feeling.

What I don't like is the growing impatience of the others. I do my work on my own but I know when I need assistance and instead of moving forward and potentially hurting myself or the dog, I ask for help. In the beginning all was fine but now after 3 months, not so much. And yes, the Manager will only hear what she wants to, as she hasn't been around to see what I have seen.

An example being a Basset Hound I had when I first started. He was perfect for the bath, drying but nails forget it. He became extremely agitated and just refused to allow me to touch or go near his feet. Another groomer came to help me, muzzled him and then tried to turn him on his back to get the job done. Words can not describe how stressed out this poor dog was. BUT, the other day he came in again and I worked with him with a different groomer and yes, he had to be muzzled but I sat with him, rubbed his chest and talked him through it while his nails were being done. A total 360 from the first time he came in.

What I'm saying is that, although I am inexperienced, I truly try to access the mood of the dog, etc and work WITH the dog at the same time trying to get the job done and I may not be the fastest bather, but I have to say that when a terrified dog leans her head against my leg while I am bathing her and kisses me goodbye when she first wouldn't let me near her, I have to be doing something right instead of constantly being told that it's my fear that is causing me so many problems. Yes, I have been intimidated before, but I have and are still learning NOT to be and I read, research on the internet, take my dog to classes and work with my dog and do whatever it takes to be the very best I can.

It's just disheartening to see some things and yes, I am going to start keeping a journal. Thank you for that advice as I think that will be the best thing for me. Just something for me to have in case I ever have a problem in the future.
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ACE

550004
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 5, '09 8:21am PST 
it doesnt sound like your fear is something that you wont get over. Just give it time, and the more big dogs you handle, the easier it will get over time. really watxch when other people have large dogs they are grooming and watch what they do (however, if they arent using good methods, i wouldnt recommend watching them.)

Immediatly flipping a dog on its back is the wrong thing to do. I have some dogs that do better on the floor on their back. But we lead them down their, put them in a down position, praise all the way through, and someone will normally cut nails, while the other holds the dog down gently. i dont do this on every dog, just some, and i dont do it with any sort of aggression at all. And i cant say i have ever done it on a bassett, b/c they hate the nails done, and are so stubborn that they usually wuld not take kindly to being forced onto their back. What YOU did would be a much better method for a breed like the bassett.

And right now, dont even worry about speed, that will come with time. Again, it sounds like you are on the right track, and like you have a good mind for grooming. it takes patience, and everything you do with a dog has to be done with a kind hand. They can tell if you are having a bad day. There are days when i have to go in and just fake a good mood/god energy, b/c i notice that if im not in a good mood, all the dogs are suddenly much more difficult. Put on a smile and let all the negative go and the dogs are much better to work with.
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Ziggy

I'm the Zig
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 5, '09 12:38pm PST 
I wish we were allowed to do nails on the floor, but we are not. The dogs I have groomed off the table (brushing and nails) was a very large Rotti, and a Bull Mastiff!

That is one thing I have definitley learned about Bassett Hounds. I never realized just how heavy they can be and just how stubborn they are smile Like I said, the way I handled it this last time seemed to be so much better for the poor fella smile I hope that he took THAT experience home with him and will remember for the next time!

Edited by author Mon Oct 5, '09 12:39pm PST

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Reyna

Don\'t Reyna Me- In
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 7, '09 7:32am PST 
Ziggy, our groomer is very adament about not pushing a dog too hard. He has sent dogs home unfinished, to come back another day before because it was just too stressful for them. If owners are adament that they want something done, he invites them in the grooming room to see for themselves how stressed the dog is, and then reiterates that the dog needs to come back at another time. Our groomer is also very good about building a relationship with dogs before he grooms them. He often takes them for walks, and just sits in their area and loves on them and cuddles with them.
Now, yesterday he pushed a dog a little more than he would've liked but that was because the dog was one big mat, and full of fleas and we knew it would make it more comfortable and that the problem was that the mats were painful. Once the matting was gone, the dog was wonderful.
However, our groomer has a good reason for feeling the way he does. He had a dog have a seizure on the table and die. While it was no fault of his (he hadn't even had the dog in the grooming room for 5 minutes), he is determined now to make sure that dogs are not too stressed during grooms.
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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 7, '09 5:26pm PST 
At the shop where I work, the policy is to just get it done on 90% of dogs. Fortunately, our groomer has great energy, and the dogs calm down around her.

We only send one dog away with its nails undone, and that dog has to be sedated and wear a cat muzzle for anything above a bath.
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Henry

I'm the baby,- gotta love me!
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 7, '09 8:55pm PST 
You seem to have the right attitude for grooming. It is ALL about working with the dog. Sure, the little dogs you could physically overpower, but it's so much better in the long run to try and compromise with the dog. They can figure it out (eventually) that you aren't trying to hurt them. The most I will ever do is restrain a dog to calm it down or prevent getting bitten, and most of the time they will relax and let you get it done, even if it takes twenty minutes of just standing there holding a paw (which I've done before!). There is no shame or blame in turning away a pet, and don't ever let an angry customer try and tell you otherwise. You have the pet's best interest at heart, and all you can do is tell the owner that and know you did the right thing.
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Ziggy

I'm the Zig
 
 
Barked: Fri Oct 9, '09 1:35pm PST 
I truly appreciate the response from all of you. It honestly helps. I just sent a dog home yesterday with only one paw done (although his nails were very very short to begin with) explaining to the owner how stressed he was, even with the help of an Assistant. She was more pleased that I took the time with her pet since this was his first time in a year that he has been back. Plus at 110 pounds it is very difficult to restrain a dog that size. He was very happy and I left him with a positive experience. I will try for 2 paws next time.

I only wish where I work (and yes, it's corporate) I had more flexibility and would rather build a relationship with the dogs, which I do anyway regardless, instead of just trying to *x* amount of dogs done in a day!~
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