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The Groomer Chick Experience

Betty is a Dog Groomer and Dog Trainer with over 40, All Five Star Yelp Reviews.

All of my canine clients get custom pampering, tailored to their needs.

  • Betty grooms her clients from start to finish
  • 100% Cage and Cage Dryer Free
  • Positive Reinforcement with your dog’s favorite treats and toys
  • Dog Centered, Relaxing, Familiar Environment: Only one household’s pets / booked appointment (up to 3 doggies at a time) so no other dogs will be around but mine.
  • Only one dog in the spotlight at a time. Comfortable resting/napping spot in the grooming room for the rest of same household members.
  • Pee/Poop Breaks are included (Start, Finish and hourly in between) direct access to fenced in yard from grooming shop.
  • Fresh (hairless) Drinking Water Access at all times (changed after each appointment).

Betty has Experience with:

  • All Canine hair Types & Hair Length
  • Puppy, Adult, Elderly dogs
  • Beginners, Sensitive or Reactive dogs with previous bad or no grooming experience
  • Dogs with amputated leg, docked tail, cropped ears or paralyzed dogs (they need special attention, due to more sensitivity around specific areas)
  • Visually and/or Hearing Impaired dogs

Gentle Grooming Techniques

  • No “Chin Lock” Holding for grooming or positioning the head (“Chin Lock” = Grabbing hair under the chin to keep the dog still or rotate the head) I rather hold the muzzle gently with 2 fingers only (1 on top & 1 on bottom) and provide a low distraction environment to prevent wiggle.
  • The Canine client is moving Free on the table by default throughout the grooming with Betty’s 100% focus on him/her at all times.
  • No Grooming Loops (but in the tub for beginner doggies, due to safety reasons)
  • No muzzles
  • No harnesses, or any sort of physical tightening to the table
  • Exceptional Grooming on the Floor for Elderly dogs / Puppies / Beginners if necessary.
  • No phone calls answered while Betty is grooming due to safety reasons.

Dog Centered Grooming Workflow

  • No Routine Anal Gland Expressions, but yes routine anal gland Checkups.
  • No Routine Ear Flushing. (Do not fix what is not broken! Supporting healthy ear flora by letting it be.)
  • Betty uses ceramic clipper blades (they take longer to overheat and leave a lot more even haircut on the coat)
  • Betty carefully and frequently checks the clipper blade temperature on herself (pressing the blade to her wrist for 5 seconds and changes the blades when necessary to avoid clipper burns on the dogs)
  • Full Body Brush out, Deshedding, Dematting Before the Bath (No high-velocity blow dryer use on the highest setting to open up matted hair, because that is not comfortable for the dog.)
  • Gentle Nail Care timed after the bath (unless they are extra long and bothering the dog)
  • Nail Length Evaluation
  • Dog Behaviour Evaluation
  • Paw Rinse and nail scrub if necessary (muddy toenails)
  • Paw pad Hair Trim
  • “Paw Pad Boomerang” Trim
  • “Toe Mohawk” Trim
  • Gentle Nail Trim (Pressure and Pain-Free)
  • Gentle Hand Nail File (Pressure and Pain-Free)
  • Paw Hair Brush out (it gets scruffy after holding the feet and positioning toes)
  • Paw hair shape up (top of the feet)
  • Nail Length, Dog Behavior Evaluation
  • Further Home Nail Care Suggestions if needed
  • Frequent Pee Breaks
  • Immediate pickup at the time of finished haircut

Gentle Grooming Equipment Only

  • quiet hand blow dryers
  • quiet clippers
  • No dematting rake use (a slicker brush will open up the hair so much more gentle. I do one by one shear trim for stubborn mats.)
  • No de-shedding rake use (a slicker brush, bath, blow-drying will remove all the undercoat gently.)
  • No electric Nail Grinders
  • Gentle Detangling/Dematting/Deshedding (slicker brush, comb, rounded tip shears)
  • Yes Rich Conditioner to help Brushing, Deshedding, Dematting at home
  • No Deshedding Shampoos, etc.)
  • Hand Blow Drying Only, No Cage Dryers at all
  • Natural, Chemical Free Shampoos, Conditioners
  • Natural and or Eco-Friendly Grooming and Cleaning Supplies

No:

  • No Bows
  • No Bandanas
  • No Hair Dying
  • No Fake Nails
  • No Nail Painting
  • No Pony Tails
  • No 3D Haircuts (e.g. turtle shape cut in St. Poodle's hair. Google it!)
  • No Whitening or Darkening Shampoos
  • No Perfumes or Colognes
  • No leave in Shampoo or leave in Conditioner
  • No Dog Show Preparations

Optional Add-Ons:

  • Customized Grooming Needs and Home Grooming Equipment Recommendation especially for your dog breed and hair type and hair length (Maintenance Between 2 groomings or Full Home Grooming Needs & Equipment)
  • Professional Grooming Details Form (in case you move and want to make it a smooth provider switch with the same hair style)
  • One on One "Dog Centered Grooming" Tutorial for Dog Owners, Breeders, Groomers, etc.
  • Custom Tutorial Link Packages to fix behavioral and or socialization problems

Why do dogs snap at groomers? And what to do, so they won't?

I've been grooming for 7 years and over 90% of my new canine clients arrived with  sensitivity, at least to their feet. Some just pulled away their paws, some have been reported as "biters" by previous groomers or veterinarians.
Some owners told me their dog has to be muzzled for some parts of the grooming or for the whole thing. The doggy got a label, a muzzle and a not so pleasureful experience at the groomer or at the vet. Nobody questioned anything about this method, only poor doggy became more and more "aggressive" after each appointment.


Doggy owners are always shocked when I say to them I won't muzzle doggies. Even more shocked when I tell them why, especially when I showed them the process on videos about their dog, showing no sensitivity signs for me handling them.

I really like to ask the question "Why?" in any aspect of life, especially around the "hot spots". Those are the cases we can learn from the most and it is absolutely true for dog grooming and dog behavior as well.

So, Why doggies snap and bite?

To answer that question I invite you to dig deeper in canine body language and sensitivity signs. 

We distinguish early and late discomfort sign.

Early discomfort signs are:

  • Pulling away from the grooming shop’s door
  • Tail tucked in
  • Wagging tail (anxious type of movements with the tail, narrow wagging, the tail is either very low or very high, fast movements mostly)
  • Yawning
  • Pulling feet away
  • Moving away with whole body
  • Curled up posture when standing or lying
  • Sniffing on the site where we are working
  • Licking our hands where we are working
  • Kicking / pushing our hands away
  • Kicking back or out when messing with their feet
  • Putting weight on the leg you’re trying to lift up
  • Not coming to us when invited to get groomed
  • Not getting up (from a lying position) when asked
  • Not jumping up on the grooming table when asked
  • Pricked ears or pasted to the head
  • Panting / hyperventilating
  • Drooling
  • Shaking
  • Muscle twitching like movements
  • Pulling their legs constantly when we are holding it
  • Stiff muscles
  • Frozen posture
  • Barking
  • Watching closely what we are doing
  • Looking away from the spot we are working on with stiff posture. Just like humans do it when they are not comfy and do not want to witness when a phlebotomists draws their blood.

Late discomfort signs:

  • Nibbling (on our hands or equipment)
  • Lip lifting, exposing teeth
  • Growling
  • Snapping (on our hands or equipment)
  • Biting (on our hands or equipment)
  • Raised hackles

Both snapping and biting are late discomfort signs and that's the doggy's way of saying:

"Hey, you're pulling my hair, big time! Stop it!" or
"Hey, I have arthritis in my legs, it does hurt for me to stand on 3 legs only!" or
"My nails got cut too short ever since I am going to the groomer. I know how painful that is so you won't get to them, only through my dead body!!"

Yet what do we do? Muzzle them and proceed.

I have never recalled a time when I told my hairdresser to be a tad more gentle on my hair and they'd say zip it up or duck taped my lips. Do you?

Dogs have very good reasons why they are snapping. Sadly, many groomers have no education about early/late discomfort signs and have very minimal knowledge about canine behavior. That's why you can see dogs muzzled all over the place.

Most of the time there were tons of early discomfort signs at the beginning shown by the dog, but nobody could translate that to human language. They went unnoticed and the humans around poor pup got a big "surprise" when the doggy snapped "out of the blue".

General resolution? Muzzle. Or people ask for coworkers' help to come over and sort of sit on the dog to be able to proceed.

It is generally accepted -and I strongly disagree- that a dog has to finish the appt, whatever was on the todo list at the beginning, no questions. Even if they make the dog miserable. Muzzle, leashes, harnesses, sedation... The perfect recipe for a miserable grooming experience and even more miserable dog for the next time.

It is soo soo sad, not just because it is so common practice, but also because the solution is sooo EASY!!!

Once we can recognize the dog's triggers and pick up on the early sensitivity signs (and stop there, analyze and make a desensitization plan, hopefully the muzzle is not included) we will build trust with that dog and we can find a way to keep them comfortable throughout grooming. As an exchange, they won't bite us. :)

What a trade, huh? :) I Love it!!

In case the dog is not severely sensitive, often times a total transition can happen in only about 1-2 desensitization sessions with a skilled trainer. Sometimes it takes for more time and daily practices at home by the owner. In case a dog has severe sensitivity, I suggest professional help, especially in case the doggy owner doesn't dare to train their dogs at home or doesn't have the equipment to practice on/with, e.g. grooming table, clipper, etc.

Throughout the years I developed a very effective way to desensitize dogs, who are showing early or late discomfort signs.

My approach is:

initial appt is dedicated to seach for triggers (analyze behavior and note early/late sensitivity signs. (no haircut happens at this time)

consult with the owner about the results and

present solutions, tricks and tips to practice at home.

schedule another time for the grooming session (or another desensitization session), based on the dog's behavior.

With this approach, we'll get a happy dog, who trusts us and we don't have to use a muzzle when it'll come to grooming time.

If you are a doggy owner who wants to desensitize your doggy so he/she will be comfortable for future grooming sessions and you would like to schedule a desensitization appointment with me, I would be glad to help you all. :)

Please contact me on this form and I will get back to you the same or earliest business day.

Belly rubs to your doggy! :)

~Groomer Chick

The Groomer Chick's principals for excellent grooming care

  • One on One Grooming Appointments
  • Time dedicated to talk with you about your dog's health, sensitivities 

    and 

    behavior

  • Time dedicated to talk with you about 

    the haircut you'd like your doggy to get

  • Gentle Dog Grooming (see post: Dog grooming step by step)
  • No Cages
  • No cage or stand dryers
  • Doggies stand free on the table, no leashes or harnesses used to tighten them up there.
  • Constant Fresh Water access
  • Hourly Pee Breaks
  • Dog Training Experience
  • Organic, Eco-friendly Grooming Supplies
  • Hand Blow drying
  • Hand nail filing
  • No electric nail grinders
  • Betty will do all the services from start to finish
  • Time dedicated at the time of pickup for you to check your dog and the haircut (I'm happy to make any changes if needed)
  • Time dedicated at the time of pickup to talk about any tips, tricks or suggestions I'd recommend for you and your doggy to practice at home if needed

Dog grooming step by step

Have you ever wondered what does your pup do at the groomer?

Here is a list of the optimal care for a full package:

  1. Pee Break before going in the salon or letting the groomer know doggy did not get a pee break yet so they can take your pup out for a sniff-sniff.
  2. Trimming the hair around the eyes, so doggy can see the groomer and the groomer can see the doggy.
  3. Paw hair removal underneath the paws to enable the doggy to get a better grip on the grooming table and stand more comfortable on 4-3-2 legs while getting groomed.
  4. Detangling, brushing out or de-shedding for dogs with undercoat. It is important to get rid of all of the tangled hair, especially in case the dog will get a longer trim. For shorter blades, it doesn't really matter. No need for detangling, it'll go through the hair. Sidenote: Doggies like the clipper more than getting a bath or a hair dryer, so in case we have less hair to deal with at those steps, the best and fastest for all of us. :)
  5. Pre-haircut is given to the doggy, dealing with less hair in the tub and in front of the blow dryer makes life more fun. :)
  6. Ear cleaning happens before the bath. Removing ear hair is suggested for breeds who have lots of growing ear hair. In case they have some and it does not block the ear canal, it can be left intact. I do not use/suggest ear washes or alcohol as routine care. Only when the ear has lots of dirt or wax what is blocking or getting to block the ear canal. Otherwise, it is highly recommended to keep the natural flora and let it work. Don't fix what is not broken.
  7. Nail trimming and filing. Nail filing should follow every nail trimming to make the sharp edges nice and smooth. It's important, since doggies can get itchy ears after ear hair removal and we don't want them to scratch themselves (face, skin, eyes, ears, whatever they reach...) with sharp nails.
  8. Sanitary trim. Belly, butt area and genitals, inner thighs so pee won't stuck on hair, neither poop will get tangled or dried on it.
  9. Pee break if needed. For puppies, elderly, definitely. Adults, not necessary. Good sign if the groomer asks for your dog's signs for bathroom breaks. Our dog rings the doorbell. Literally. :D
  10. Bath. Lukewarm water, good soak, 1-2 rounds of shampoo and some conditioner so brushes and combs will run in he hair easy and comfortable.
  11. Towel drying and letting the doggy roll and go wild with running around in the grooming area in case they want to.
  12. Brushing out the dog to get dried. Yep. With the right equipment, used properly after conditioner it won't pull the hair, but will let it get dry super fast and fluffy and will let the undercoat fly out better, too.
  13. Hand blow drying the dog. Using a brush makes it faster and the doggy fluffier. Cages, cage dryers are red flag. In case you ask, why?
  14. Final haircut.
  15. Pee break after so the doggy will be comfortable even in rush hour traffic home. (puppies and elderly should get a pee break hourly.) Good thing to ask groomers where and how often do they take their doggy clients out!