7 Things Pet Owners Do That Drive Groomers Crazy

I recently read an article on 10 things people do that drive veterinarians crazy and it got me inspired to do one for groomers.  I belong to a couple groomer pages on Facebook and I can guarantee you that these following items come up in conversation pretty much daily.  This list is not meant to make anyone feel bad or to attack the general public in any way.  Just more of an educational lesson because some people may not even realize they are doing anything wrong in the first place.

1) No Show/Cancel Last minute
This one should be common knowledge but unfortunately is the most common of the list.  If you make an appointment, please do your best to show up, ON TIME.  Most groomers work on commission, which means if you don’t show up, they do not get paid.  It is even more frustrating when people no show on a Saturday or around the holidays because those two times of year are prime time in the grooming world.  We turn down appointments because we are already booked, so when you don’t show up it is rather frustrating because we have already turned down other appointments that would have gladly shown up.  Our entire day revolves around appointments, from how much time we allot to each dog, to if we need additional staffing that day.  I understand that sometimes life happens and appointments have to be cancelled, but show a little respect for the person getting out of bed anticipating your appointment.

2) Lying about how often you brush out your pet
We know that matted dog didn’t get that way overnight.  You are insulting our intelligence by saying that this just happened in the past week.  We know it’s a lie, we are just being polite and not calling you out.  Let’s face it, it can be time consuming and a total pain in the butt to brush out your pet as often as you should be.  Things happen in life and brushing goes by the wayside, or maybe you are just not into the whole brushing thing.  Either way, you aren’t doing anyone any favors by lying about how often you brush out old Fido.  Your groomer knows if you are up on your brushing or not.  Sometimes people don’t have the right tools for the job.  You do brush out Fido but the groomer insists that he is matted.  I get it, this is frustrating, but sometimes a little education is all that is needed.  My January blog about winter grooming has a lovely little paragraph along with pictures of brushes that work well for most types of dogs.  Unfortunately, if you want that fluffy little pup, it’s going to require some work on your part.  You simply cannot expect your groomer to be the only one brushing out your pet.  Unless you make arrangements for the groomer to brush him out weekly (which could get pricey), it is simply impossible to keep a coat fluffy when it is only getting brushed out when it comes to the groomer every 2-3 months.  Imagine how your hair would look if your hairdresser was the only one brushing out your hair, it wouldn’t be pretty, that’s for sure.

3) The term “Puppy Cut”
OK, so this one might surprise you.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PUPPY CUT!!!!  There is not a section on puppy cuts in grooming school.  I don’t care if you heard this term from another groomer, there is no set length or style that is called “puppy cut.”  But wait, “don’t you have a Puppy Special on your very own website?” you may be asking.  Yes that is true, I do offer a puppy special on dogs younger than 6 months.  The puppy special is basically just a way to introduce your puppy to the grooming world.  Dogs do not come out of the womb prepared to go the groomer.  In fact, the whole process is kinda freaky to them.  If you own a dog that will require regular trips to the groomer, it is to your benefit (and your dogs) to introduce them to the groomer as soon as they have had their last sets of shots (Generally around 12-16 weeks).  The more often you bring them in, the more used to this process they will become.  The reason I offer this grooming service at a greatly reduced price is because we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accomplish everything their first or second time around.  This is basically just practice to get them used to the process.  To prove my point further, I have had customers tell me their version of said “puppy cut” and I can tell you that their descriptions ranged anywhere from a light trim all over to a complete shave down.  I’m not sure who coined this term or why it ever got started, but be advised, there is no set length or style for the term “puppy cut.”  So please, just stop using it and just tell your groomer how much hair you want cut off.

4) Just because your dog is scared to go to the groomer does not mean your groomer is hurting your dog!
This has to be the one that annoys me the most.  Yes there are awful people out there that are not kind to animals.  Yes you may have had a bad experience at another groomer.  This does not mean that every groomer under the sun is out to get your dog.  Dogs do not like going to the groomer.  Sure you may have a few here and there that seem like they “enjoy” it, but for the most part they would rather be anywhere else than on our table or in the bath tub.  Yeah your dog may “feel” better after the groom, but a lot of times they cannot make the connection between “feeling better” and going to the groomer.  All they know is that when they go to the groomer some strange person fusses with them more than they ever want to be fussed with.  Dogs don’t like baths, and getting their nails done and being forced to sit still while a groomer takes buzzing clippers near their face.  Sure they will tolerate it if you get them trained and used to it, but it certainly isn’t high on their list of things to do.  I have one client in particular that has a lovely Golden Retriever.  This dog is one of the best-behaved dogs I groom.  I don’t even have to say “NO” to him once.  Happily goes up the stairs and stands still on the table.  Jumps right up into the tub.  Doesn’t fight with me to do a nail trim.  But when this dog walks through my door he cowers his head and shakes like this is his last moment on Earth.  As soon as the owners leave, he is totally fine.  Think of it like when you leave your kid to go with the baby sitter or daycare.  Some kids take off and don’t look back, others throw a complete fit when you leave.  But after a few minutes they get over it and move on with life.  I do also have to mention that when my Golden Retriever’s owner showed back up he put on the whole shaking act again, only the owner caught him in the act and luckily we all had a good laugh over it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I cannot speak for every groomer on the planet.  If you suspect any issues with your current groomer, do what you feel is best, especially if you see any physical signs of foul play.  But please keep in mind that just because your dog runs for the door when you take your dog to the groomer, does not necessarily mean that your groomer is being abusive.

5) Leaving your current groomer and not giving any reason as to why
This one can be kinda tricky and I understand why people leave a groomer in search of greener pastures.  The problem is, if you didn’t mention why you didn’t like a particular cut and give your groomer a chance to fix it, they will never know how to improve upon their skill.  It can be hard to convey how you want your dog groomed.  Even when you give an exact length, it may not turn out the way you thought.  Give your groomer a chance to redeem themselves.  I like to use the whole 3 strikes and you’re out rule.  If your groomer can’t pull it together after telling them 3 times, then yes, time to move on.  If it is a problem with their attitude or maybe another employee, give ‘em the heads up.  Even if you never plan to return, sometimes people need a little wake-up call so they realize why they are losing clients.  Also, don’t leave your groomer over something very minor that could have been easily fixed.  I had a client tell me that they left their last groomer because they forgot to express their dogs’ anal glands.  Sometimes we forget things.  I’m sure that if I went to your workplace and asked your boss if you ever forgot to do something while at work that they could think of something you forgot to do.  We are only human, we make mistakes just like the next person.  Just address the issue with your groomer and move on.  Give your groomer a chance to fix what made you unhappy before jumping ship.  Most times it was most likely a simple over sight.

6) Trying to compare the cost of your human hair cut to your dog’s groom
I don’t get this one too often, but I also feel I could probably charge more than I do for my work.  That is just the poor business woman in me I suppose.  Never-the-less, I have heard this one from time to time and especially from owners with more than one dog.  Here’s the thing, grooming is a disposable income service.  This doesn’t mean you don’t HAVE to get your dog groomed.  It means you don’t HAVE to buy a certain breed that REQUIRES regular grooming.  There are plenty of dogs that could get by with the occasional bath and nail trim and that is about it.  Labs, Boxers, and pit bulls are just a few of the many breeds out there that do not require regular trips to the groomer.  It is your choice to purchase a breed of dog requiring regular grooming and is your obligation to take your dog to the groomer on a regular basis.  If that sounds too pricey for you, I would consider not owning a dog at all.  Even dogs that do not require grooming can end up taking a major hit to your pocket book at some point in your life.  Dogs get sick and get hurt from time to time and if you think the local groomer is pricey, wait until you get the bill from your neighborhood veterinarian.  Dogs cost money plain and simple and if that’s too rich for your blood maybe you should stick with fish.  Now, for reasons your dog’s hair cut is more expensive than your own, here it goes:

You don’t try to bite the hairdresser.
You stay still for the hairdresser.
Your hairdresser will most likely charge waaaay more to include a mani and pedi for your appointment.
You brush and wash your own hair daily. (I hope so anyways)
Your hairdresser doesn’t give you a sanitary trim (that’s a trim of the “private” areas, folks)
Your hairdresser doesn’t wash your bum.
You don’t pee or poop on your hairdresser.
Your hairdresser doesn’t clean your ears.
These are just a few of the reasons why it costs more to groom your pet than it does to get a human trim at the local salon.
7) Showing up before we call you to tell you that your dog is finished
Ugh, this one kills me sometimes.  I get it, you got things to do and you want a time frame of when your dog will be finished.  Totally understandable.  However, sometimes unforeseeable things do come up from time to time and it may take a little longer to complete your pet’s groom.  Groomers give you a time frame as a rough idea for when your dog should be done.  This is certainly not set in stone for all eternity.  Animals are completely unpredictable and sometimes they will do things that cause the grooming process to be delayed.  Case in point, a dog going to the bathroom all over itself just after getting a bath, or worse yet, right after they are completely finished with their groom.  Now we have to stop everything and re-bathe your pet.  Even if it wasn’t your pet, it is still taking time away from someone else’s groom because someone has to stop what they are doing to clean up after the mess.  Sometimes your pet is in worse condition than we anticipated and requires a little more TLC to get that look you want (this can be prevented by properly brushing your pet but I think I got that point across in the last blog).  Think of this like taking your car to the mechanic (I know, odd analogy but stay with me), sometimes a totally routine appointment can take a turn for the worse once the mechanic gets in there and starts working on your vehicle.  This can happen with your pet as well, the only difference is that the mechanic has your vehicle thus preventing you from showing up before they are finished with the job.  This also includes calling every hour on the hour to check on the status of your pet.  Trust me, I don’t want to keep your pet.  We say we will call you when they are finished because that’s exactly how this works.  We give you an idea of how long it will take so that you can get some stuff done while we are working on your pet.  Every once in a while I will get a call because a client is already out and about and is ready to head home, but knows the second they get home I will call to say they are done.  By all means, give me a call, I hate to make the same trip twice.  But showing up before we have called you and getting all bent out of shape because we need an extra 20 minutes to finish up your pets groom is beyond rude.  Stop that.  I usually call if I know I’m running really far behind, but I always try to keep my clients day in mind.  I know you have a busy life and I try my hardest to accommodate everyone, but sometimes life happens and things take longer than expected.  This also goes for people planning “really important” appointments right next to their pet’s grooming appointment.  It may be best to make that grooming appointment for another day or arrange for someone else to pick up Fido.  That way you and your groomer aren’t stressing about time frames.

Please don’t feel bad if you have found yourself guilty of one or more of these things.  It is most likely that nobody ever told you these things drive us crazy and chances are I will still hear these things until the day I retire.  But if you ever hear someone talk about any of the things listed on here, please do me a favor and educate the next generation of dog owners.

There are 15 Comments

  1. As a dog owner, I really appreciate this information, and I will be much more cautious of the things I do with my dog and his grooming. I like that you point out that it is important to be honest with your groomer and tell them the truth about how often you brush/wash your dog. I imagine that will help them know how to take care of the dog in the best way. I will keep these tips in mind, thanks for sharing!

  2. sikis izle says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Shari says:

    Great writing!

  4. Candy says:

    I can relate to ALL of these…its like I wrote it myself..lol. Lost a client over a cut nail quick on a 100lb scaredy cat shephard..also had to file the stupid nails too and she raved over my services, then left cause she thought I was scared to cut his nails..WTF! Lost another client because his poodle that he wanted this bizarre scissor cut on that didn’t even make sense, that I had to cut a pattern into left because the dogs’ hair cut cost more than the wifes and it was always matted…I could go on and on, but i have been grooming for 20+ years and you nailed everything on the head! WELL DONE!

  5. Sylvia says:

    This is so true .
    I am a groomer
    And I thank you for posting
    This article

  6. Maddie says:

    This is awesome! So true!!

  7. Donna H. says:


  8. Katie says:

    I love every thing you have mentioned especially the Puppy Cut term! I usually tell my clients this when asked for a puppy cut… There is no such thing as a puppy cut… But I usually take it as one length all over ( as most groomers know that is pretty much 90% of the haircuts we do anyway)2 what length would you like? I will share this article with my clients Bc I think it’s great to educate!! Thanks again for this great list. Kt K. 🐾

  9. Tina says:

    I know one groomer that trashes customers on FB. Bad form! I’d never go there.

  10. Darlene says:

    You forgot one. I would be nice to leave a tip for your groomer.

  11. Kristy says:

    Beautifully said! Groomed for 11 years. Have friends who have groomed for up to 33 years or longer. I hope people take the time to read this.

    • Pat says:

      Tips are great but I think the cost of grooming covers the whole thing. Just don’t think it is necessary to ask for more money on top of high grooming prices. (if I had loads of money it wouldn’t be a problem for me.
      Elderly and short on extra cash…..that’ me.

  12. Jade Brunet says:

    Grooming our dog is always a difficult task for us and we are seeking professional help. It is nice to know that the fear a dog has towards the groomer is not there because of the dog being hurt. Another thing to consider would be to have a professional trim a dog’s claws.

  13. Peter Denies says:

    You have done some incredible work here. I really like the way you have proved that everything is possible. Thank you for sharing these tips and good luck for future writing.

  14. Linda says:

    Hi Kristi ,
    I hope I don’t fit into any of these categories If I do I do not know it. Please let me know if I do. I want be offended. Lots of Love. Have a great weekend.

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