“I would like a puppy cut please,” says Bella’s mom the owner of an adorable Maltese. Quick – look at the cringe form along the groomers face as they are thinking, “What does that mean???” There is no ‘standard term’ in the grooming industry for a puppy cut. Each groomer interprets it differently and this is where the confusion lies. To Bella’s mom, it sounds simple enough but to the groomer, this can lead to a bad haircut, an unhappy client and a misunderstanding that can make the groomer look incompetent. So now the series of questions begin:
Four paws pounding the pavement. Tongue dangling, collecting moisture from the air. Barrel chest breathing in and out. Our companion canines are hardwired to walk. It is instinct that drives them and it is so very important for us to make sure this need is met!
Man’s Best Friend – Us
Let’s take a quick look at modern man and just how much our ancestors created who we are today. Women tend to have higher social and communication skills being gatherers and raising the children. They worked in close proximity to other women who were doing similar tasks and thus they started to talk. And talk and talk…..(If your wife, mother, sister girlfriend can’t seem to stop talking – blame Betty Rubble!) Men on the other hand were the hunters. They traversed the land looking for their next prey. They relied on hand and eye signals since they were spread out to hunt effectively. They needed to learn logistics pretty fast to know where they were and how to get home. Who needs a GPS – am I right, guys? Now look at your sweet pup lying at your feet. All dogs came from the wolf and all wolves are migratory animals.
Let’s face it, professional grooming can be expensive. It’s one of those things in life that are both a necessity and a luxury. With the proper tools, education, and time…you can groom your dog at home and still maintain a cute clip.
Tools of the Trade
You will need the following items for a positive grooming experience.
An elevated surface. Grooming on the ground is both back breaking and tricky. Putting your dog on a picnic table or even the washer and dryer is more desirable. You will need to purchase a grooming arm and grooming loop to hold your pet in one place. For smaller breeds, there are miniature grooming tables that you can put on top of your kitchen table. For the larger pets, attaching a canine hitch to a stud in your garage is recommended for a faster and safer grooming experience.
Dremel. Every groomer I know resorts to using a Dremel that you can buy at your local hardware store. They are safer and easier to use than any dog nail clipper.
Comb and a brush. Buying professional grade brushes and combs is highly recommended because they are the most effective in removing dirt, debris, and those nasty tangles, known as mats.
Pet shampoo customized to your dog’s skin conditions and needs.
Clippers. Pet groomers debate the best clippers on the market constantly! For the pet owner who will groom their pet occasionally, invest in a mid-range professional pet grooming clipper. Stay away from a man’s grooming clipper because they are not strong enough to go through a pet’s hair and they will also give an undesirable length!
Grooming Blades. There are various lengths to choose from and here is a guide to help…
Only select blades that contain an “F” (for finishing) after a number. Any blades that contain an “S” is known as a skip-tooth and should only be used by professionals as this type of blades increases the risk of cutting your pet’s skin.
The higher the blade number, the shorter the hair cut will be. For instance, #40 is a surgical blade that vets use to prep for surgery. A #3F blade will leave your pet with a half inch of hair.
A #10 blade is always used for sanitary trim, pads of the feet, and in between the eyes. This is a must have blade.
If you prefer your pet to have more than an inch of hair, then you will need a #10 blade and clipper combs.
Scissors, preferably with a blunt tip (please note, I have never used these scissors before because professionals use scissors that cost upwards of $300.00. I would never recommend that investment to a pet owner.)
1. Hard work. Puppies are like newborn babies. They need to be walked in the middle of the night, comforted when they are scared and crying, and plenty of interactions to help them grow up into well-balanced, happy pets. Consider the amount of time this entails. If your life is running from one activity to the next, maybe it is better to hold off until things slow down.
2. Cost. Owning a pet, especially a puppy is expensive. Consider the fact that most dogs will live between 10-20 years. They require multiple visits to a vet, monthly medicines (such as flea & tick preventatives), vaccines, licenses (in some states), food, accessories, grooming and vitamins. Typically, cost of ownership in the first year will be the highest. Ranging somewhere between $1000 and $3000. Total costs over your dog’s lifetime will range between $10,000 and $20,000. If you don’t have it in the budget, time to hold off.
I must admit, I’m not really the bumper sticker kind of person. My car is boring and nondescript. Hard to find in parking lots, if you know what I mean! But I was driving the other day and saw a bumper sticker on a Mini Cooper that said ‘My Dog Is A Republican’ and well, it made me chuckle.
A few miles down the road, I saw ‘My Dog is Smarter than Your Honor Role Student.’ Glancing to the right was the ‘My Kid is an Honor Role Student’ – driving side by side. I really started to laugh and got to thinking that there is this whole underground bumper sticker battle going on right under my nose! Thousands of people boldly declaring to the world their thoughts and views in 4-8 words: