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Tuesday, 2018-06-19, 8:55 PM
Main » Site Catalog » Grooming your Pootch 2010-05-04, 5:22 AM
How to Choose a Dog Groomer
Finding a Groomer Who Will Help Your Dog Look and Feel Great

Mar 30, 2010 Monique Bos

Dog groomer Marian Ward shares tips on how to find a dog groomer who will pamper - not hurt or traumatize - your pooch.

As a dog groomer at the Paw Place in Grandville, Michigan, Marian Ward has seen plenty of traumatized pooches.
"We specialize in senior and challenging dogs. We’re basically the final stop before your dog has to be anesthetized to be groomed,” explains Ward, who has worked at the Paw Place for more than four years. "I do a lot of rehab with dogs who have been hurt at the groomers.”
For dog owners shopping around for a groomer, she offers suggestions on what to ask potential groomers and what to pay attention to when you visit their premises. Questions to Ask Potential Dog Groomers

Gather as much information as you can about the groomer and the shop before you decide whether to entrust them with your dog.
"Make sure the person has some experience. Ask what kind of program they went through,” says Ward. "For example, I went through a 600-hour, hands-on program. So from day one, I was working with dogs of all kinds of breeds.”

She also recommends doing some research about what products the groomer uses. "If they’ll buy the cheapest shampoos and conditioners and charge extra for nail trims, if every little thing is an add-on, chances are they’re only in it for the money,” she explains. "In our shop we only use products we would use on our own dogs – they’re all natural and low chemical; a lot are sulfate free.”
How the groomer dries dogs is extremely important, Ward says. "I wouldn’t use a place that uses kennel dryers. Basically, they put your dog in a box with a fan attached. Dogs have died in those.”
She adds, "With a hand dryer, the groomer can get out all the dead skin and hair. The groomer can look at the skin; I’ve found cancerous lumps and infected bite marks.”
This is a valuable service a groomer can provide, she explains, because "you can’t always see what’s under your dog’s hair. The groomer has the tools and the ability to look at your dog’s skin and coat, so if there’s anything wrong, he can let you know.” What to Look for at the Dog Grooming Shop

Before you schedule an appointment for your dog, visit the grooming shop you’re considering. It’s important to get a feel for the setup, meet the groomers, and watch them interact with clients.
"When you first go into a grooming shop, you want to make sure it doesn’t reek like urine and feces,” Ward says. "Be realistic; there’s going to be dog hair, and there might be some accidents, but check to make sure things are getting cleaned up efficiently.”
She also warns, "Make sure the place doesn’t smell like chemicals or cigarettes.”
It’s important to observe how the groomers interact with both dogs and humans in the shop.
"See if the groomer comes out, gets on their level, and is friendly with the dog,” Ward advises. "Especially if you have an older dog or a higher stress dog, find a place that will work with them.”
For example, she says, "At a lot of shops, anywhere from four to ten dogs will come in at 8 a.m. and have to wait until the groomer gets to them. At our shop, we have it set up just like a human hair salon. Your dog can be in and out in an hour and a half. We don’t have dogs waiting in kennels.”
She also recommends asking to see work samples and possibly requesting a tour.
"If the groomer has a dog, check out that dog and see how it looks. Often, they’ll have books of photos of different work they’ve done.”
She adds that during particularly busy times, groomers might not be able to conduct tours of the facility, "but see if they act suspicious about it.”
Always make sure that the groomer checks your dog's shot records for rabies, distemper, and bordatella, she says.
With a little time and research, you can make sure that your dog will have a positive experience at the groomer. Bad grooming can result in trauma and even severe injury to your dog, so finding a good groomer is well worth the effort. As Ward says, "You want to make sure they’re treating your dog like you would treat your dog.”

Read more at Suite101: How to Choose a Dog Groomer: Finding a Groomer Who Will Help Your Dog Look and Feel Great

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