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  • Topic: Never say never....

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    • December 27, 2014 11:03 AM CST
    • Never say never....

      We've all heard the phrase, "Just clip out the matts. I don't care how it will look."

      Well I could not ever imagine myself ever doing that, ever.

      Mid November a client with a Bichon and a Maltese only brought in the Bichon. The Maltese is an older dog, it was super super cold, and he thought he was feeling a bit under the weather. We rebooked him for about 2 weeks out. These are great every 4 weeks clients, but they don't do much brushing. The day before the rescheduled appointment he leaves me a message that they won't be bringing him in. He has some tangles and they do not have them all brushed out yet. He doesn't want me to do him short, so they want them out before he comes in. We set him for the next week. Same message the day before. We set him to come in at their regularly scheduled appt the next week.

      They call that morning. They beg me not to shave him. They understand why I would, but please please please just clip out the matts. These are amazing clients. He calls within a day or two after every grooming to tell me how wonderful I am and how the dogs look fabulous. They are accomodating for scheduling, tip well, and are just nice nice people. They also really did try to work on the coat.

      So........ I did it. I ended up shaving his face, everything underneath, and a few spot shaves that were mostly covered by his longer coat. He did not look great that's for sure, though I did kind of like the shaved face.

      I got my usual call 2 days later. He thanked me profusely for not shaving him. He wasn't really liking the shaved face, but it was all just fine because he had hair everywhere else and would not be too cold.

      I can't see myself ever doing that kind of work as a normal thing, but I was glad I didn't let my ego get in the way of making them happy. They adore the little guy. I doubt if he would have suffered being short, I know they would not have allowed him to stay outside long enough to get cold, but I was able to put them at ease by not worrying how fabulous the dog looked and instead did what they wanted.  It felt kind of nice. :)






      If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

    • January 2, 2015 9:11 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      I've done that quite a lot. If the coat is long enough, the bald spots typically don't show. I learned the expression "humanity before vanity" years ago on this board. That usually applies to choosing to shave a dog over painfully combing all the matts out. But I think it also applies to shaving out some matts over shaving an entire dog bald in the middle of a cold winter. Even in Southern California we're getting below freezing temperatures at night here and even indoors, it can get quite cold.

    • January 22, 2015 2:23 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      it is those dogs that are matted EVERYWHERE that I can't get the mats out that I hate.  The ones that do have a drop coat are much easier to fake.  But I have a lady who has gotten hooked on BATHS.

      open to advice here, she only now ever wants the dog to have a bath, face and nails.

      I offer that, and I always brush the dogs out that come for that, but honestly, that is for an every 2 week/every other visit kind of thing or intended for short haired dogs.

      This is a maltese /poodle/shih mix and she has a TON of hair.

      her feet are now nearly impossible to see to cut her nails, and her butt has pooies in it every time she comes. the hair in her ears is long enough to braid, but when I show them this, they just want the cheaper, Bath Only service.

      I adore this dog, but these people are driving me nuts. Dog has not had a haircut since OCTOBER and is getting very difficult to bathe/brush. I have explained the "groom leave long" service but they dont' get it.  Ideas?  I know some places off the bath/nails/face and the dog gets NO BRUSHING but I can't do that, that is just wrong....

    • January 22, 2015 2:37 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      Oh I have to brush too. I can't do 'just' a bath. That's why I don't do the boarding baths at the clinic. They are just baths and for the minimal price charged for them, I refuse to brush them, so I just don't do them at all.

      I might do a price increase since she does have so much coat now and then do a tiny bit of trimming just to make it easier on my next time. I'd probably do a sanitary and maybe the pads of the feet. They probably won't notice, but I sure would next time.

      I do a Yorkie mix. It took a long time to get through to him..... He would only want bath, nails and sanitary done. That was fine for a few months. As the dog got longer he would get matted and I'd then have to shave him. Then we would go the whole bath, nails, sanitary again until he got too matted, and shaved and start all over, again.

      At first I was just charging bath and nails. Then he added the sanitary so I'd add for that. Then he'd add a little more, he wanted the face trimmed, I'd add for that.  Before too long, his price was near if not more than a groom, (but he didn't WANT a groom) because of adding on all the little things. Finally, finally, and I don't even remember how I did it, I got him on a regular schedule with a full groom price and only taking off hair when he requested it. We started at 6 weeks. The dog was pretty tangled so we went to 5. That worked for a bit, but not long term. We are down to every 3 weeks. He is happy. The dog is not matted so I am happy. He is very specific on exactly what he wants done each time. At the moment he probably has 4 inches of hair on his feet. I do trim out the pads even though it's not on his list.

      The dog would look  so much better if I neatened those feet each time, but NOPE, I do what he asks only. (well except the pads :) )




      If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

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    • January 22, 2015 3:57 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      The only brushing I do on a bath-only dog is when I brush and HV at the same time. I don't go through and comb out all the matts. I book them for only 30 minutes (and charge accordingly), so I really don't have time.

      Chilly, is this dog matted, or just long and sloppy-looking? If the owners are keeping the dog brushed and matt-free, then it's their choice if their dog has crazy hairy feet and poop in her butt. All you can do is warn that their dog will be prone to ear infections with that much hair. And honestly, many dogs never get an ear infection no matter how much hair they have in them.

      Now, if the dog is matted, that's another story. When I get a matted dog for a bath-only service, I'll do the same brush and HV at the same time, but I'm just brushing over the top of all the matting and I explain that to the owner. Usually, they'll let me shave them the next time around. I would probably only be willing to do a bath-only service on a matted dog once. If that customer brought the same dog back two months later for another bath, I would probably refuse. Fortunately, that's never happened yet.

    • January 22, 2015 7:03 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      she is matted around her neck, tops of her legs in back.  I adore this little dog though. It is so hard not to do what is right for HER, but would be cheating myself to actually do a "groom leave long" at a "bath, face and nails" price.

      I do like the idea of timing the visit.  thanks so much, to both of you!

    • January 22, 2015 7:53 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      VERY simple solution to this problem. Just start charging them full groom price for your bath only service. Explain that with the length of hair they want it takes you just as long to bathe, blow dry, and comb out all that coat as it would for you to do a complete groom on a dog with shorter hair. More hair = more time = more money. How often are they coming in? If they really want to save money suggest to them a medium hair cut at one appointment, just a bath the next (for the bath price you are currently charging them), then a groom, then a bath. . . etc. It will still allow them to keep the dog long-ish, be a bit more budget friendly for them, and easier on you and the dog. I have several clients that do this and once you explain to them that they need to groom the dog when YOU say so and then they can have a nice cute clip on it instead of having it have to get to a crisis point and shaved down, then they usually understand that. Wonder of wonders I actually have a Wheaton client that has 'gotten' it. First time she came in to the shop we stripped her down with a #7 all over, she was so matted. She came in for a bath a few months later, then several months after that it was another strip down. After that we did not see her for about a year, she came back after having to be stripped someplace else that was a horrible hack job (so she said) and now she has been on a regular bathing schedule with us until she grew to the point where she was starting to matt. What surprised me was that the OWNER today suggested she have her hair cut down a bit rather than ME having to suggest it to her. She got a #C reverse on the back, completely hand scissored legs, and the only place she had matts was in her arm pits and around her neck. Now next time she may be just a bath, next time the owner may decide she likes that look (the dog has never had that long of a 'hair cut' before, her cuts were always shave downs). She looked FANTASTIC, if I do say so myself ;-). I was really bummed I was not able to get a picture. Her owner walked in right as I was finishing her up and she's a dog that if she sees her owner she is DONE. Sometimes it just takes a lot of patient explaining over and over until an owner 'gets it'.

    • January 22, 2015 8:38 PM CST
    • Never say never....

      I totally disagree with brushing over the top of a matted dog. Leaving a dog with matting is not healthy for the skin. Part of my job is educating on the proper care of a dog's skin and coat. I would never advise an owner to leave matting so I could not in good faith leave matts on a dog. If they did not agree to a haircut, they would need to go somewhere else.




      If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.

    • January 24, 2015 10:35 AM CST
    • Never say never....

      Yes, Chilly, this is when charging by the hour is really the best thing to do.

      Barb, often I don't know the dog is matted until I start to HV them and I can see all the matting. I wouldn't just brush over the matts if a dog was noticeably pelted to the skin. I know I should keep a comb handy at check-in, but I've never gotten in the habit of doing that. This scenario actually just happened on Christmas Eve. A young woman called that morning and asked if I could bathe her dog that day. I said she could come at 3:30 pm and she was shocked I had an opening. She sounded like she'd been calling every salon in town, poor thing. Anyway, she said he was actually her mother's dog and she just wanted a bath and the face and feet trimmed. I looked at the dog and he looked like he'd just been groomed a month ago. I actually had a hard time finding any hair to cut around the face - it was already so short. When I started to HV the dog, I could see all that fine "webbing" that dogs get under all that long hair. It's not very close to the skin, but it's ALL OVER, so it's not like you can just cut out a few matts - he really needed to be cut short - maybe with a #4 blade. So, I explained to the daughter that not only did he need to be cut short, but whomever groomed him last but have also left all the matting in. She said she thought her mother was probably aware of the matting, but she'd tell her again. Then I happened to make the comment, "if your dog was a girl, I would have put Christmas bows in her ears" - her whole face lit up! "Oh, we were hoping you'd do something like that, even though he's a boy! Can you still put them in?!" I did. That girl left soooo happy to have been able to get the dog bathed and "decorated" for the holiday at the last minute. I was going to call her six weeks later to offer to shave the dog, but darnit, I lost her phone number because I didn't write it down on my schedule, like I usually do.

    • May 23, 2015 10:42 PM CDT
    • Never say never....

      I used to get in a shih-tzu who always came in very matted. The owner was insistant that I not shave all of it off. First time, I shaved out the matts then left the unmatted areas significantly longer, aggravatingly longer, #4 on good areas (an unevenly edged area roughly down the dogs spine, #10 on the rest). Nope, don't touch the non-matted area. She went home with a patch that covered about 2/3 her spine and about 4 inches long that looked alot like the outline of Delaware. I can't even remember if that made mom happy or not. I certainly wasn't. Shoulda put a bow there....


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