Thanks for checking out this page. You won't find much about AZ Pet Stylist in particular on this page. What you will find is a collection of articles written by groomers in an attempt to bridge the gap in understanding what is going on with those furry family members we all adore. Please feel free to let us know how you feel or if you have any questions by commenting on this page at the bottom.
This page was started August 2018 and here is our first article, Enjoy!!
Grooming: The Benefits and Process
A professional groomer is more than just someone who cuts hair. We are a trainer, health care adviser, and friend. Your fur baby is being left with us; we want the experience to go well, both for the animal’s sake and our own. We touch, poke, prod, and scrub your pet, and the process can reveal the good (the bad and the ugly.) We are the stylist at their salon, their friend and confident that knows them best, second only to you, their pet parent.
Habit Building Makes a Happier Pet
The key to a fabulous groomer is someone that can take a good dog and turn him into a great one. The best groomer is someone who does not force a traumatic experience onto an animal, but instead will work with your pet. Each visit is a bonding experience, and it is your groomer’s responsibility to build great habits with your pet.
Grooming starts at the door! A pet stylist should know how to approach a dog, handle his leash, and make their time together an enjoyable one. The groomer should be able to train your pet on the proper etiquette of going to the salon or having the salon come to you.
The Process and Training
- Meeting with your pet. A stylist should not invade space, but establish communication, and give the dog a chance to settle and become friends. This starts from the moment your pet and groomer are within each other’s presence. It is found in the smallest of movements, even something as “minor” as direct eye contact can cause apprehension in your fur kid when meeting someone new.
- The bath usually comes first. A stylist should begin by teaching the animal how to be comfortable and relaxed taking a bath. The stylist will express anal glands, clean ears, brush teeth, and put water on their face (not comfortable for most dogs!) It is of the utmost importance that you have made your stylist aware of any allergies or skin conditions. This will directly affect the products used or omitted from the bathing process. The main portion of the bath includes shampooing and conditioning the dog’s skin and coat. Scrubbing and running our hands over the entire pet to ensure a thorough job can be great training time for your pet.
- BLOW DRYING! This can be the scariest time for your pet. It is a loud intimidating machine they do not understand; but comfort can usually be established if the stylist takes the time to work with your fur baby. If your fur kid is one who shies away when you turn on the vacuum at home the grooming process may need to be modified to decrease or eliminate dryer time as much as possible.
- Brushing is more important than shaving! it removes old hair and exfoliates dead skin, creating a healthier skin and coat.
- Feet: The feet are one of the least favorite areas for your pet to have someone picking up, shaving, or even touching. It is the time when a pet is most likely to become reactive or even nip. It is essential for the groomer to establish a great relationship with the dog while working with his or her feet. Issues may arise if the nails are cut to short of if there are matts in the pads that need to be removed which can cause pain and bleeding. This can cause the whole process to take a step (or several steps) backward. The pain caused may make for a long process of rebuilding trust between your pet and stylist. This is an area where the pet stands to benefit the most from a pet parent who understands how short the nail can and cannot be cut and a pet stylist who can communicate that clearly to the pet parent.
- Next is facial beautification, this is the most intimidating time for several groomers and a rather relaxing time for the dog. Styling comes in and the creativity flows, however a stylist has to watch out for quick fidgets and excited owners. One wrong cut can snip an ear or a hair doo, causing bleeding, sadness, distrust, or a ruined style.
- Body trim and or shaving is usually a good time for both groomer and animal. Additional styling is done in this stage and is often soothing to your pet.
- Finally, we return the pet to you, looking and feeling great. They will usually be tired after a long time of moving, standing, sitting, etc. but they should come back a more relaxed pet and a better smelling one at that.
A completely underrated yet important aspect of grooming is your fur baby’s health. We spend a lot of time with your animal, and we see every part of them, even the gross places. Just like an overbearing mother, we can notice changes in both mood and physical appearance. The dryer, bath, and shave down reveal skin hardly seen. We notice bumps, lumps, bruises, fleas, ticks, lice and can tell when the dog is feeling physically sore or just out of sorts.
“I’ll never forget the time when I found a lump beneath the tail on Lola. She was a sweetheart, who I had the pleasure of giving baths to every once in a while. I informed mom who wasn’t exactly in the habit of lifting Lola’s tail to examine her bum on a regular basis and she was not even aware of the growth. She promptly made an appointment with her vet to get Lola checked out. Sad to say, the lump was cancerous, and despite that there was not much that could be done for her at the time, at least her parents were able to approach the last 6 months of her life knowing what she was going through and preparing for the inevitable.” ~Kay
Apart from revealing hidden ailments we also clean them up. The ears can be full of gunk, the skin itchy or flakey, nails too long, butt scooting, and matted fur are what the groomer battles daily. Providing relief to your pet in these areas is essential to the animal’s mental and physical health. Groomers should do a nose to tail assessment, taking mind of anything that can make your pet happier and healthier.
After reading through this article the hope is that now you may see that the role of a groomer is not as simple as cutting hair. The groomer works to bond with your fur baby, understanding him or her, finding out the quirks and inexperience in every pet. Our ultimate goal is to become a trusted friend to your fur baby. Styling your dog comes with training, truly grooming your dog comes with experience and tender loving care!
A passionate groomer, should return your friend refreshed, mind, body, and soul.
Author: Letanya Lambert