“The Grooming Shop Experience�

By Pamela R. Martin
September 7, 2008

Grooming is a crucial part of your pets’ life both socially and physically.   A clean,
well groomed dog is a healthy, happy camper.   Most dogs love to be groomed or else they
learn to tolerate it very well.

It’s important to start grooming puppies early under an experienced groomer and  a
reputable grooming shop environment.  Puppies should have their first visit to the
grooming shop at 4 months of age.    By this time inoculations are complete and puppy is
ready to begin the training initiation to grooming shop procedures and socialization.  
This is a very important time for puppies.    Grooming should not be overlooked nor
postponed.   New puppies and dogs acquired from reputable breeders shouldn’t need
to be groomed right away because they will have already been freshly groomed when
received.  This is beneficial because it won’t be necessary to overwhelm the new
puppy/dog with a lot of new things at once.

It’s not recommended that you feed your dog a complete meal prior to their
grooming session.  Feeding tends to make the dogs more active and require bathroom
trips.  It’s ok to give them a small snack if you like.  Many groomers will provide
nutritional treats and fresh water.   They may ask if it’s ok to give your dog
nutritional treats during the grooming process.

Grooming procedures will vary depending upon the breed and coat type of your dog;
however, all breeds require coat brushing, baths, ear cleanings and nails clipped.  Many
long coated breeds require their coats be clipped and hair removed from the inside of
their ears.  Your groomer will determine and recommend a suitable grooming schedule
for your dog after the first visit.    They will also instruct you on what products to use and
demonstrate how to maintain the coat between professional groomings.

During the grooming session, your dogs’ body is thoroughly examined from head to
toe.  Although groomers are not veterinarians, it’s not unusual for groomers to
discover conditions gone unrecognized by their busy owners.  In this event, your
groomer will notify you and a trip to the vet’s office may be in order, unless there is
an existing condition that you forgot to mention to the groomer.   Be sure to mention any
known allergies or health conditions to your groomer in advance so the necessary
precautions can be taken.

Shop policies vary from shop to shop but most work by appointment and will require the
dog to be brought at a specific time and left with them.  The larger shops may have
bathers and assistants working with the groomers.  In other shops, the groomers may do
their own bathing.  Regardless to how many people work in the shop, your dog will need
to stay a minimum of one to four hours.  An experienced groomer may have a smooth
coated Chihuahua bathed and dried, ears cleaned and nails done in about an hour but a
Standard Poodle may take 4 hours.  Again, your groomer will provide this information
according to their individual shop set up and the individual dog.

Once the dogs arrive at the grooming shop the focus is on them.  The dogs are securely
accommodated in confinement cages when not being groomed or bathed, but should be
in view of groomers at all times.  Dogs usually don’t have time to become bored!
They are entertained with all the happenings within the shop or they just simply nap.   
Some dogs are so relaxed they actually nap during their grooming!

Puppies and dogs visiting a shop for the first time may be slightly nervous; after all, they
are in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strange people, sounds, smells, other dogs, etc.
and don’t know what to expect.   (I’d be nervous too!)   It’s important for the
owner to feel good about bringing their dog to the shop as well as leaving them.  Even if
the owner doesn’t like the results of a particular haircut; they shouldn’t reflect
those thoughts towards their dog.    The dog will sense negativity and associate it with
coming to the groomer.  The dog may also think that he/she has done something wrong,
so always be sure to tell your dogs how nice they look after their grooming and be
comfortable with leaving them for a few hours.  Your dog will sense your contentment
and feel more secure.

The entire grooming experience will soon become natural to both owner and dog after a
few visits.    Some dogs may be tired after a long day at the grooming shop, but most are
quite content and relaxed while at the groomers.   Most dogs actually look forward to and
enjoy their pampered grooming time!  They are happy to come, but happy to go home
too- proudly sporting their beautifully groomed healthy coat—because there’s no
place like home.

About the Author:

Pamela Martin is a professional Pet Groomer and prestigious Shop owner  of “Pam’s Poodle Parlorâ€� in
Prosperity, South Carolina since 1988 .  She has bred and exhibited her award winning Shaded & Chinchilla Silver
Persian cats for 14 years under the cattery name of Castle Paws.    Has authored numerous articles on pet care,
grooming and cat breeding/exhibiting.  Is known world wide for her handmade doggie diapers and cat show items by
the name of Castle Paws Designs.  Married to Bobby Martin, mother of 3 grown children, 2 ste3p children  & 2
copyright 9-7-2008
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