Doodles of a Busy Mind…

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If you have stumbled across this article and aren’t a groomer, you may want to leave now. Groomers everywhere are dusting off their pitchforks, lighting their torches, and uniting under a singular cause- the Doodle. Golden, Labra, Sheepa, Micromini, Berna, you name it- anything can have the word doodle behind it these days. The interwebs are filled with funny memes stating that poodles will basically breed anything and breeders of dogs are proving this theory correct. As a busy working grooming shop owner, I see these dogs flock into our salons like wolves in sheep clothing wearing their hair and fur coats of many colors. I hear the collective groan of groomers around me mentally contemplating the angst and time involved when dealing with owners and these sheep/wolf/dog clients.

Problem above- now I offer a solution. We educate our clients and we educate ourselves. I saw a mild rant earlier today from a groomer whose experience and skills I wholly respect. It indicated that groomers don’t understand the coats or the coat cycles that accompany these beasts of our businesses. And she is so right. I propose that every groomer who grooms at least one doodle go back to the drawing board and learn the inner workings of coat presented by poodles. Years ago, the poodle was the bread and butter groom of the Groomer. In fact, one could argue, our industry is built upon the popularity of the poodle. People needed groomers to maintain these fractious coats and an industry was spawned.

Fast forward to today, and many groomers learn to shave down shih tzu, schnauzers, and mixed breed dogs long before they ever get to steward a poodle client from puppy coat through coat change and into an adult groom. There is a hole in the education of groomers and I believe Doodles are flaunting that missing link. If a groomer doesn’t understand the stages and fragile nature of the curly coat- i.e, breakage, regular trimming, combing, etc.- how can that groomer advise and help maintain a combination coat which is based upon such coat?

So, I challenge every groomer to find a poodle friend and embrace their dedication to coat maintenance. Learn from them how they brush, comb, groom, and otherwise maintain these kings and queens of dogs. Your Doodle clients will appreciate the application of this knowledge to their dogs. Likewise, this knowledge will benefit you when a fractious owner demands a puppy cut on a pelted 90 pound puppy who missed most of his obedience classes.

I encourage you to embrace your Doodle clients. Educate yourself and then educate them. The Doodle is the new Poodle…think of it as Job Security!  Happy Doodling!

 

Khris Berry

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Holidaze…A Groomer’s Survival Guide

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Holiday Season has arrived in full force. With it comes the usual scheduling of family and friend parties, calorie laden meals, gift giving, and merriment galore. If you are a pet groomer, you experience a heralding of the holidays in a different sort. Groomers notice the holidays are here in various ways- the phone begins ringing more often, the door to your salon starts swinging more frequently, and the last minute callers for pet grooming become a bit more insistent.

For groomers, holiday season can mean added grooming services and money to your paycheck. Most groomers welcome the season with delight although they are aware of the dark side of the holiday season- we will call it the Holidaze. Many pet groomers are more than happy to add an extra pet or two or fifteen to their already hectic schedule. Groomers are aware that their own holiday paychecks will see an uptick and likewise tips will increase due to holiday generosity during the next 5-6 weeks. Moreover, many compassionate and passionate groomers are also thinking of the poor dog on the end of the phone call, owner begging for a last minute appointment so Fido doesn’t spend his holiday in a matted filthy state. Mercy grooms are often at their highest this time of the year because the wonderful men and women in the pet grooming industry truly care about making sure no good boy or girl (dog) is left behind.

Here is a typical holiday dialog synopsis with a typical client living in Anywhere, USA. Mrs. Busy Client calls and asks for an appointment. She seems surprised that Ms. Good Groomer is busy. A tense negotiation begins where Ms. Groomer learns that Mrs. Client is hosting 23 people for a Giant Christmas Celebration and a matted, dirty, not-seen-a-groomer-for-6-months dog will ruin the entire Yuletide season. Ms. Groomer feels badly for the pet and agrees to see the client. Ms. Groomer knows she will be staying late, although she already arrived early, skipped lunch, hasn’t stopped for a bathroom break in 3 days; yet the thought of the poor client dog spending Christmas Celebration being ostracized and dirty is just too much to bear. Ms. Groomer will make sure the pet is sparkling clean and looking his best for his big Giant Family Celebration.

And so it goes, over and over. Until the Holidaze are over and Ms. Good Groomer looks around. She has pushed her body to a point where it is weary and nearly broken. She has a lovely paycheck to show for it- her children and husband enjoy a great Christmas celebration of their own thanks in part to the rewards of her labors. Ms. Good Groomer, however is too tired to celebrate with them. She has missed too many meals, skipped too many bathroom breaks, and worked far too many hours. She cannot enjoy her own holiday celebration or family because she has given all to her client family and their pets.

This year, employ some of these Groomer Survival Tips so that you can be present and engaged when you attend your own Holiday Celebrations!

  1. Find an appropriate work/life balance and stick to it.
  2. Like an endurance athlete who is anticipating a big race, eat well and often.
  3. Drink lots of fluids- water, preferably.
  4. Get lots of rest- earlier than usual bedtimes are a must for me; get that extra hour of sleep you’ve been promising yourself.
  5. Say No. When those last minute holiday dogs call that will steal your time and your joy, offer to schedule them an appointment after January 1st. Perhaps you can stretch the holiday season and your business a bit further by delaying those dogs- I have even offered to bath them (matted, yes) so their pet is clean and finish a shave down after the holidays (pre-paid, of course).
  6. Treat yourself. Whether it’s an extra day off, a Christmas gift, or even a nice dinner out, take some time to reward yourself for the hard work you give your clients. It’s always nice when you see a client again and can thank them for the generous holiday tip and let them know you used it for something specific.
  7. We offer one Mercy Groom in each store each year. We quietly watch and talk with our customers and find a deserving family or dog, give them a great haircut, and gift the service. Spreading holiday cheer and good will is good for you, your staff, and your community. Giving during the holidays is a great way to find an outlet for your passion to help pets!

These are just some of the tricks that we use to keep our staff rested, refreshed, and upbeat during the holiday season. We also incorporate Secret Santa, Ugly Sweater Days, Team Potluck meals, and much more. Finding ways to take care of yourself and those around you is never more essential than when you are overwhelmed by clients and dogs to help.

Hoping this Holidaze…finds you prosperous and looking into the New Year with anticipation!

Khris- (and Team Spot!)b70b2611523dd1c30cb8d2a15032529f

 

Licensing and Regulation in Pet Grooming

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Pet Grooming is a largely unlicensed and unregulated industry. In Kentucky and Florida- where our stores are  located, there is no one who inspects, regulates, or otherwise looks after this industry, the people who work inside it, or the pets who it services. I’ll wait a moment while that sinks in…

That’s right. There is no one making certain that pets are handled humanely. There is no one inspecting facilities to ensure that equipment is not creating a hazardous environment for people or the pets inside. There is no one regulating the industry as a whole. We are an industry of pet lovers- and some of us are lucky enough to morph into being pet professionals.

Once we do, we begin to voluntarily seek education. We seek certification with third party organizations who will test and categorize our skills and knowledge. We attend training and classes on Pet First Aid and CPR and proudly post our certificates for our clients to observe. Now, we can now attend training for individual groomers and even designate our salons to be safe environments and adopt base safety standards for the protection of pets in our care.

These skills; this knowledge; this attention to detail all come at a price. It is expensive and time consuming to learn, test, qualify, certify, and gain the much needed knowledge of a pet professional. Clients often breeze in/breeze out with their dogs, notice our cute bandana rack, select a bow of their favorite color- but rarely stop to read the many certificates representing hours of continuing education and years of accumulation of knowledge on display in our lobby at See Spot. We will pass that cost on to you, the customer but you will gain the rewards of it over and over. Your pet will be safe; and you will have a valued care provider on your pet’s team for many years to come.

While it could be tempting to be frustrated that clients continue to place their dogs in the hands of groomers who are one record button away from a viral video, one unsanitary facility away from a contagious outbreak, and one evening news story away from placing a blight upon all professional groomers for abusing a pet- I will choose to shine a spotlight on the Pet Grooming industries advancements.  It’s up to every professional and educated groomer to show our clients the difference we make to their pet- I don’t mind to remind you every time you walk into my salon, Mrs. Smith, that we are an AKC S.A.F.E. Salon, that our groomers are legal employees with benefits befitting a professional, and that you will be serviced today by someone with rigorous standards all the while being treated with mutual respect and courtesy.

Basically, you WILL get what you pay for. Thank you, and come again.