If you’re one of the many people who regularly entrusts your dog to the care of a groomer to keep your pup pretty, you may wonder what exactly happens while your best friend is “at the salon”. Every groomer has a preferred process based on their facilities, equipment, and personal preferences. In today’s blog post, Stefani Fortney will tell you about what your dog will experience when grooming dogs at Guthrie Pet Hospital.
The Grooming Routine
At Guthrie Pet Hospital, we ask that grooming clients drop their dog off within an hour of our opening for the day. This helps us stick to a schedule that will be convenient for both us and our clients. Unlike many other services, grooming dogs isn’t typically done “straight through” with a set appointment time. To maximize efficiency and keep your pup as calm and comfortable as possible, it’s important to be flexible in the grooming process. This means that grooming is broken into stages, with rest periods for your dog in between to minimize stress.
At drop-off, I will:
- Weigh your pup to monitor any change of weight that may be indicative of health issues
- Ask for your instructions on what type of groom you want and inform you of any issues that may make that particular groom impossible—such as matting, coat type, or behavioral constraints on your pups part
- Set up a time for you to pick up your pup, or get a good phone number to call when he’s ready
At that point, I take your pup to the grooming area and set him up in a cage with a towel to snuggle into while he waits his turn. If your dog has a medical or emotional condition, these are marked on his cage card and taken into account.
The first step of grooming dogs is the rough-in. This is when your dog will have tangles brushed out, get nails trimmed and ears cleaned, have footpads and potty trail shaved or scissored, and receive the first stage of their haircut. This stage can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more, based on your dog’s size, coat condition, and attitude towards grooming.
Once your dog is roughed in, he’ll go right into the tub. During his bath, I will externally express his anal glands, wash him with a shampoo appropriate to his coat type and health needs, condition his coat, comb out any nasty bits on his bottom or eyes, and check for fleas and ticks while he’s wet (the easiest time to see creepy-crawlies). He’ll then be gently towel dried and put back into his cage.
While many groomers use a forced-air dryer to blow out each dog immediately after bathing, I prefer to use a cage dryer. While many dogs find the forced-air blowout frightening, most enjoy or ignore the cage dryer. This gives your dog the chance to rest and relax while I begin roughing in and bathing the next dog.
After your pup is dry, the last stage of grooming dogs is the finish. This is when I go over your dog’s groom from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. I brush, comb, and fluff his coat, then use clippers and scissors to get his groom as neat and close to perfect as possible. If you request it, I can even use a doggy cologne to keep that “new groom” smell for as long as possible.
Once his groom is finished, I take your pup to our fenced yard for potty time, them put him back into his cage with a clean towel. If he’s staying for awhile, I’ll give him a bowl of water. Then, I call you to tell you he’s ready.
My goal with every client is to create a positive experience for every dog. Nothing makes me happier than having doggy clients who can’t wait to see me![Tweet “My goal with every client is to create a positive experience for every dog.”]
Stefani Fortney has loved dogs for as long as long as she can remember. At the age of nine, she and her little Beagle mix, Puppy, learned obedience together for the first time in 4-H. As an adult, Stefani became a professional groomer, then later earned her accreditation (ABCDT) as a dog trainer from Animal Behavior College. She uses Positive Reinforcement training techniques exclusively. Stefani currently shares her home with her wife (Melissa), six dogs (Phaedra, Spectre, Mani, Fritter, Poppy, and Opus), and one cat (Pudge).