Post # 1
I was just wondering if anyone here has ever been a groomer or back in the grooming area of a pet store? Would love to hear what it’s really like behind that door, especially at the big pet stores, because my pup is TERRIFIED when I take him there!!
Post # 3
@Andthepupmakes3: I groomed dogs for a few years when I was in school. We always tried to be nice to the dogs but it’s not a pleasant experience. They are all distressed because they’re separated from their owners and are afraid of being poked and prodded. The feeling of other animals being stressed can affect your dog as soon as you walk through the door. It’s also a business so groomers are generally in a hurry and may not be as patient with your dog as you would be at home. Also, the cages are generally metal grates that are made to be cleaned quickly and are not very comfortable for the dogs.
I would never take my dogs to a groomer as it’s quite stressful for them and I know I can do the same thing at home. Some dogs really need professional grooming though. If this is the case the best thing to do is check up on your groomer (ask to see in the back). If everything seems nice I would take him young and often. The “regulars” were much more comfortable than the dogs that came in once or twice per year. Also I would only leave them there for a few hours. A lot of people drop their dogs off on their way to work and pick them up on their way home. The dogs would spend 8-10 hours in a metal cage and may go without a bathroom break if the place was busy.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Post # 4
I also groomed in a few different shops, for a few years. I still do it on the side. My recommendation is find a groomer you like and stick with them. You can request a specific groomer, even at the big box stores ( i have worked at both). your dog will get used to them, and thier way of doing things, and it tends to make them more comfortable. There is nothing to special about the back of the salons, there are a bunch of kennel banks, bath tubs, and very loud blow dryers. All things most dogs don’t really like,but unfortunately is a necessary part of being groomed. Being groomed is like us going to the doctor or dentist, it just one of those things that has to be done. Your dog is always going to prefer to stay with you, but I have found that the nervous ones definitely do better if you stick with one groomer. Also, if you are going to a big oet store, as them what thier quieter times are, and bring your dog in then. Avoid weekends, those are the busiest times. Weekday eveings are usually the queitest, and they have appointments as late as 6. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
Post # 5
Thanks for the responses! I’ve been taking him to the same big box store groomer for 5 years, but I see I really should have been asking for the same groomer each time! I have this terrible habit of calling when it’s desperately needed and taking the FIRST weekend appointment available the next day. So these tips have definitely helped!
I think the cage is part of the problem too– he was never crate trained and hasn’t been taught to feel that being locked up is a “safe” place.
How much time do the dogs actually spend being worked on? Like, my pup was there for 4 hours yesterday. Approximately how much of that was just sitting in the cage waiting for his next step?
Have you ever seen a groomer treating a dog poorly in the back wash area? I’m not terribly worried about my dog in particular as I know when he’s scared he completely freezes up. I don’t think he puts up any fight– as soon as we get near the back of the store he starts visibly shaking and becomes frozen…
Post # 6
@Andthepupmakes3: usually groomers who don’t treat dogs well don’t last because they get reported and fired. Depending on the type of dog, most actual grooms take between an hour and a half and 2 hours. the rest of the time is usually spent in the kennel. for a typical day, the 1st dog will come in, and get bathed and dried, then the next dog will come in, get bathed and dried, and the groomer will finish grooming the first dog, then the second and so on and so forth. If your dog does not like being in the kennel, both box stores offer an express/zoom groom service where they will do your dog strait through with no kennel time. It does cost extra, and you have to pick up your dog immediately when it’s done, but it may be worth doing if your dog does ok for the blow dryer. i would definitely try sticking with the same groomer, even if you have to wait a bit longer to get in.
Post # 7
@Andthepupmakes3: Have you thought of taking your dog to a small shop instead of a big pet store? my dog is nervous around strangers and hates being away from his family. He’s a bichon frise and needs professional grooming though. I take him to a small shop close by. He’s usually there with 1 or 2 other dogs max and the groomer is super sweet and dotes on him while he’s there. Its more expensive of course but I really don’t mind. She does a fabulous job and I know he’s well taken care of so its worth it to me.
Post # 8
@Ballet513: I have, but to be honest there just aren’t any near me that are highly recommended with enough reviews to be considered a safe bet. Everyone I know either takes their dog to one of the big box groomers, or has a dog that doesn’t need regular grooming. When I search on yelp, the top rated “groomers” are these “DIY” grooming places with all the supplies and big tubs, etc. I could wash my dog in my own tub but shaving and nail grinding are not my forte.
Post # 9
I’m not a groomer but my family has had standard poodles for the past 11 years….and they are absolutely the type of dog that needs professional grooming! My parents have the oldest one, at 11. When he was a puppy, we struggled at finding a good groomer. We would either take him to one that gave a terrible haircut or ones that he hated going to. When he was about 2, we took him a groomer at one of the big places (I think it was a PetSmart). His first haircut was good. Then the second time, we picked him up and he was completely shaved! When my mom asked why he was shaved (NOT what we wanted AT ALL), the groomer said “he was squirmy so we just shaved him because it was quicker and we couldn’t waste time. we had other dogs to get to”. And then we found out that he sat in a cage for 4 hours before they even called us that he was done. We were totally blown away! No wonder he hated going! Then we took him to another bigger place, but not as big. Haircut was ok, but he ended up getting super sick from one of the other dogs….poor guy had to spend 2 days in the doggie hospital on IVs.
Finally we stumbled upon a local groomer, so we tried her. Well she is the best ever, and she specializes in poodles (great for us!). She always blocks off at least 2 hours for our dogs and calls immediately when they are done. She does have a few cages to keep the dogs in, but also has a huge gated off area for dogs that hate cages. Since ours hated cages, they love this. She said they never cry or fight about being there. She even gives them a treat before they leave. We now have 3 in the family (FI and I have one, and bro and SIL have one). All 3 of them go to her and if you even say her name, they all get sooooo excited because they think they are going.
My advice would be to def ask to tour the place as someone else has already mentioned. Also there has to be a reason your baby is scared to go, so don’t be afraid to shop around! 🙂
Also just for fun, here is our 3 guys 🙂
Post # 10
I was a manager at a dog salon (they had grooming and self-serve dog wash tubs). It can be very stressful for dogs – there are loud sounds, some dogs just hate being bathed, weird smells, etc. Yeah, I’m sure that there are some not so great people that work at some grooming places (as with any job) but they aren’t common. We had one groomer who had a short temper and could be a little rough, but I had the owners speak to her adn she worked with another groomer for a while on how to deal with that. I have two dogs, and they were able to go with me to work and one of them didn’t like going with me (I know he sometimes gets weirded out around other dogs and does NOT like loud sounds – like the blow dryer). He only went with me to work if I had to (like if I was working a long day or opposite my husband/then boyfriend).
There is a nice dog grooming place by my house that does not kennel the dogs at all, but it is more expensive and I’m not sure how they work it.