This article takes a look over questions, asked by pet owners, answered from a dog grooming specialist. Let’s begin.

Hi, I have a male Shih Tzu whose fur is thick and easily entangles. He dislikes grooming due to past experience where he was not handle well by the groomers. I am planning to have him groom now and wish to find out how you handle the dog during grooming.

Whether it’s a Shih Tzu or any other long coated dog if you don’t groom your dog regularly the hair will be tangled up. Daily brushing is a necessity, just like you would your own hair really and that would keep any tangle at bay. Having said that I realised from my years of dealing with dog owners is that most do not even know how to brush and comb properly. It’s not enough just to just run the comb or brush on the top. You need to run the comb from the base of each and every strand of hair and at the end of the session the comb runs through without a snag.

It’s a vicious cycle when owner don’t brush their dog enough or properly and only send to the Groomers 2 to 4 times a year. The longer you delay to take out the tangles the more uncomfortable the whole Grooming Experience is going to be. Of course, Groomers are always the ones to blame for issues that may arise out of a very torturous session. It’s not the dog’s fault but he’ll struggle and often gets defensive aggressive and he behaves badly because it’s painful. Such dog is often a groomer’s nightmare and often even a very patient groomer is challenged and it’s unfair to blame the Groomer for nicks here and there. To apologise we ask Doggie to ask his/her owner mummy: “How would you like to have your hair pulled for an hour?” The ideal would be every 8 weeks if you maintain your dog fairly well, otherwise the dog should be sent to have a “Basic Groom” (Brush & Trim) every 2 weeks. There is a popular poster in Grooming Shops and it goes like this: A Dog Groomer is a Pet Beautician – Not a Magician.

Once in a while I hear a dog owner complain that their dog suffers injuries that are more than a few nicks or behave oddly and becomes reclusive and frightened after grooming. There is no excuse for such treatment of the dog by the groomer concerned and it is pretty clear that the dog has been abused. Who is to blame? No one has a right to abuse an animal especially when it is entrusted to you for a service that is paid for. That said, Groomers are not Behaviourist and they wouldn’t know very much about Dog Psychology and Behaviour Modification, as a matter of fact they not paid to deal with behaviour problem; many probably interprets “show them who’s the boss” in a lot on training literature in a wrong context and turns abusive to curb the aggression. Perhaps they should reject the grooming job when faced with such a dog. Once in a long while I do that especially if the dog is vicious. My experience in the Obedience field and my study of dog behaviour helps me tremendously in dealing with such dog in a positive manner.

Do you use scissors or a clipper? My dog has VERY sensitive skin and ALWAYS gets skin rash after each grooming. Once there was a groomer who uses only scissors and all is well. So, I will specially want to know about your technique.

Scissors and Clippers and brushes and combs are needed to do a complete grooming job. The rashes your dog gets after each grooming session is most likely Clipper Burn (blade gets hot after prolonged use) or sometimes dirty clipper blades. A complete shave down (botak) is recommended for a badly matted dog. It takes longer for the blade to go through matted coat and the close contact of the blade with the skin in a close shave results in clipper burn if the groomer is not extra careful. I’d offer my best advice but I’ll do as what a customer specify paying special consideration to the dog’s comfort. Ultimately, it’s the customer like and dislike.

Do you cage the dogs before it is their turn for grooming?

Dogs get caged before and after grooming for their own safety and the safety of other dogs; this is standard practice.

Can owners wait around while their dog is being groomed?

I understand the dog’s welfare while at the groomers’ is a concern for every dog owner. As our grooming room hasn’t got curtains or blinds and the dogs can be viewed that should put owner’s worries at ease. However, owner’s presence usually excites the dog, making grooming more difficult and accident-prone.

Do you leash the dog while grooming?

It is necessary to leash the Dog to prevent any fall and to restrict movements. It’s risky and difficult to groom a moving animal.

Do you communicate with the dog before grooming?

A good groomer should communicate with dogs they groom before, during and after. This builds trust and puts the dogs at ease.

Thank you for asking me all these questions though all the questions you asked goes to show that there are still a lot of Dog Owners who do not understand what it takes to Groom a dog and the whole grooming process. You are not alone though.